28 November 2008

Providing the oils were fresh when you purchased them from your supplier in the first place, correct storage is most definitely the key to preserving the freshness and potency of your oils. Specialist aromatherapy suppliers should have quite regular deliveries of oils, so this should not be a problem. However, if you usually buy your oils from retail outlets be sure to avoid bottles that are displayed on shelves under hot lighting or in direct sunlight. watch out for the products on shelves that have accumulated a visible layer of dust.

Temperature Storage
Both essential and vegetable oils do not like extreme, or repeated changes in temperature, and when not in use should be stored in a cool dark place, away from direct sunlight and other sources of variation in temperature. Never leave oils in a place where the sun will shine directly on them like in your car or on a window shelf in the bathroom, for example. This is fine to keep the essential oil in bathroom, but there are a few things to remember if you want to do this. Obviously if any of the fragrances escape this will give your bathroom a nice fragrance. But, do not store it next to a windowsill. For one, sunlight will make the oils dissipate more quickly, and an open window will only allow the aromas to escape. As well, the temperatures in bathrooms fluctuate quite drastically. due to hot showers and windows being opened for refreshing. This is not to say that a bathroom is a bad place to store them, just keep these facts in mind when putting them away. Perhaps a closet in the bathroom or some such place will do.

To avoid this type of temperature variation you may want to store your most expensive essential oils and absolutes in the refrigerator providing you have some space. Avoid placing them too near the freezer section and don’t have the refrigerator setting too cold; somewhere around 5 – 100C should be fine.

The cool conditions of storing your essential oils can beanywhere you find the temperature to be lower than the rest of your home. In fact, some oils are recommended to be stored in your refrigerator. These are essential oils such as Citrus Oil and some of the more expensive oils. The cooler conditions of the fridge will prevent the oils from escaping by evaporation so that they will not be lost. If for the sake of taste, you do not want your food tasting like essential oils, make sure you get an airtight lid so that none of the aromas are transferred to your foods.

You will find that Rose Otto and most absolutes will solidify at this cooler temperature, so you will need to allow them to warm up for a while in advance of using them. The ambient temperature of a room is usually enough to dissolve the natural waxes in Rose Otto, and if not, holding the bottle produces just enough warmth to liquefy the oil again.

Package Condition
Essential Oil is quite volatile, essential oils will evaporate fairly quickly so be sure to always replace the cap tightly when you have finished using them. Keep them in a dark amber glass container, cobalt blue, violet glass bottle or other dark colored glass which would cut off these rays, thus increasing shelf life of the oil.

Avoid keeping your essential oils in plastic bottles and avoid using bottles that have a build in dropper with a rubber tip. Essential oils are very concentrated and will dissolve the plastic or rubber and your oils will be ruined.

Smaller bottles for storing are preferred since they expose the oil to lesser amounts of oxygen. The bottles should be kept tightly shut and should be opened only as and when required and for very short intervals.

Color Changing
Most essential oils have a shelf life of about two years. If you do not use them in a reasonable amount of time, then unfortunately you may lose them. Some discoloration may occur in the process of storage. For instance, some species of chamomile, when young, are a dark, green/blue, but over time turn to a midnight blue. This is a natural evolution that occurs when they are stored for a certain amount of time. This does not mean that they have ‘gone bad’. This is merely a transformation in hue and aroma that it is subjected to.

Aroma Changing
Lavender that is freshly distilled has often been cited as having an unpleasant aroma. The smell has often been referred to as herbaceous. But, this smell changes over time. So, a seasoned store of lavender, in the light of fears that it will ‘go bad’, actually enhances the aroma and causes it to have a more pleasing smell. It indeed will lose its effectiveness and scented aroma over time. But, in contrast to freshly distilled lavender, it is better to have it sit for a short time, which it usually does in the case of retail stores’ shelves and the like.

Some essential oils, such as absolutes, can solidify in cold weather. Make sure you have some information about the physical nature of your oils before you decide where to store them. This could prevent you from ruining a perfectly good set of oils. If you do have some absolute essential oils that happen to solidify while in storage, this can simply be undone by running the hardened oil under warm water to help it return to a liquid form. Do not do it too long or it will diffuse in the air and you will find yourself engaging in aromatherapy whether you wish to at the time or not.

Please also remember that essential oils are flammable and should be kept away from hazardous situations.

See more about Essential Oil Shelf life and Chain Reaction for more information.


Post a Comment