Essential oils, as you know, are plant substances that form the immune system of plants. When steam distilled or extracted from plant parts, they are pure and pristine, without any synthetic elements. Such pure essential oils can change over time. They can go rancid, oxidize, deteriorate and lose their therapeutic properties if they are not handled properly. To avoid any kind of damage, essential oils need to be stored and preserved in the right way. Be it of a small quantity or a large quantity, essential oils need special attention to keep them natural and untainted.
How to store essential oils? Before plunging into the dos and don’ts of storing essential oils, we need to look into the measurements of oils sold in the market. Essential oils are highly concentrated substances and hence a little goes a long way. Owing to this, they are sold only in 5ml, 10ml and 15ml quantities. Some of the costliest oils are sold even in 2ml or one dram sizes. This is being done to help preserve the quality and purity of oils sold. As oils age with time, they can lose their therapeutic value. If sold in large quantities, you may end up with oils that are of no use to you. Below are a few tips on how to store essential oils:
1. Do not store oils in plain, clear glass bottles. Most of the essential oils, especially the Citrus ones, are phototoxic and hence should not be exposed to sunlight. If clear bottles are used, there is every chance of sunlight entering the bottle and deteriorating the oil. To avoid this, don’t buy oils sold in clear glass bottles
2. Store essential oils in amber-colored or cobalt blue color bottles. These bottles filter UV rays from entering the oils inside and hence you have less chance of losing the therapeutic value of the oils.
3. Plastic bottles should be avoided completely. Essential oils react vehemently with plastic and eat it out. This will make them rancid and impure over time. To avoid this, never use plastic bottles.
4. Avoid bottles that have a rubber dropper incorporated into its screw-top cap. Droppers with rubber bulbs should not be kept with essential oil bottles as the oils can react with droppers and ruin them into a gum-like form. In the process, the oils can go rancid and impure.
5. Store all your essential oil bottles away from sunlight, in a cool and dark place. Ensure that they are out of reach of children and pets. A tiny drop of oil can be toxic if ingested without dilution. So, avoid such a scenario at any cost.
6. Store all your essential oil bottles in a wooden box. You can choose any wooden box from craft stores or bazaars. Even unfinished wood is no issue.
7. Check for an oil’s shelf life and properties before buying an oil. For instance, Citrus essential oils tend to deteriorate in six months time. While those like Patchouli or Sandalwood mature with age. If you know the shelf life of every oil you buy, you will be able to use them and conserve them properly.
8. Aluminum bottles are said to be safe for storing essential oils if they are lined on the insides. Check the nature and quality of bottles before you buy oils.