Why Does Storage Matter?
Can’t I just keep them on my window sill or in my bathroom?
The process of growing, harvesting, and producing essential oils (EO) is very expensive so care should be taken to store them correctly. Some plants are wildcrafted (harvested from the wild), it can sometimes take thousands of pounds of some flowers to create the essential oil (rose Rosa damascena requires anywhere from 2,000-10,000 pounds of flowers to make one pound of oi), and sometimes just the process of extraction is laborious (Petersen, 2016).
Essential Oils Can Oxidize.
If essential oils are not stored correctly, they may oxidize. Why does this matter? An oxidized oil can cause irritation and sensitization when applied, even if properly diluted, to the skin (Battaglia, 2004).
Exposure to heat, moisture, light, and oxygen can cause essential oils to deteriorate and make them no longer suitable for therapeutic application.
Essential oils should be stored…
I know that the light streaming through a beautifully colored bottle is beautiful, but you should always store your oils away from direct sunlight. They should always be in dark colored glass bottles, and the bottles should be well filled. If there is too much headspace, the oil can mix with the oxygen in the bottle and oxidize. You should ensure that they should be stored in areas that are not exposed to moisture. If moisture seeps into the oil, the oil will deteriorate.
This Is How I Do…
Since I live in South Texas, and the temperature in my home hovers around 80 degrees during the summer, I store all of my oils in the refrigerator. The recommended temperature for storage is no more than 65 degrees according to the president of the American College of Healthcare Sciences, Doreen Petersen (Petersen, 2016).
When I started my classes, I purchased a small refrigerator, that does not have a freezer compartment, to store my oils. I have found that the freezer compartment, of a dorm-room sized refrigerator, tends to defrost regularly dumping water into the refrigeration compartment making the likelihood of moisture getting into my oils highly possible. I love to open my EO fridge!
Since essential oils are volatile (easily evaporates),
my refrigerator smells Ah-Mazing!
If you’re planning to purchase quality oils, which I hope you do, you should take every precaution to ensure that they will last as long as possible.
Some oils are extremely expensive! You most definitely want to take care of them so you’re not throwing away your sweet moolah!
If you have questions, let me know. Also, if you’re unsure if your oils have oxidized and are no longer safe for therapeutic use, please seek out a Registered Aromatherapist and ask them for their expert advice.
Battaglia, S. (2004). The complete guide to aromatherapy (2nd ed.). Brisbane, QLD: The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy.
Dictionary.com. (2017). Retrieved from http://www.dictionary.com/
Petersen, D. (2016). Aroma 101: Introduction to Aromatherapy. Portland, OR: The American College of Healthcare Sciences.