Does Freezing Affect Essential Oils?

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Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy. With their aromas helping reduce insomnia and stress levels, they can be mixed with carrier oils for skin moisture, hair growth, and other health benefits. Essential oils, however, may be subjected to extreme temperatures while being transported or stored. Whether a drop in temperatures will affect them or not, let's see. We've researched in-depth for you to clear doubts about essential oil storage and freezing effects on the substance.

Essential oils can be stored in the freezer. This will not alter their chemical composition. Keeping your oils in the freezer helps preserve them, especially as they need consistent temperatures and little to no light. When storing your oils, you should pay attention to the following:

  • The types of containers
  • What to avoid to make your oils last longer

Health-wise, you need to know the benefits and risks of storing essential oils. Being highly concentrated, essential oils need to be handled with care and stored well for their maximum efficacy.

Keep reading and you'll discover there’s more to storing essential oils correctly. This post will elaborate more on storage containers and factors to be avoided.

Bottles of essential oil with dried rose petals, chamomile, calendula and frankincense resin on a wooden table, Does Freezing Affect Essential Oils?

Storage containers for essential oils

Extracted from plants using steam, each essential oil has its aroma and medicinal purposes. These oils have chemical compositions that need to be kept stable. For them not to lose these qualities, they need to be stored in air-tight bottles.

The bottles used for storage should be clean. Whether for long or short-term storage, essential oils should be kept in glass bottles. Concentrated oils can be kept in orange-tainted or dark blue glass bottles. Diluted essential oils can be stored in PET bottles. PET is a friendlier plastic. It is used to make clothing fiber and containers for food and liquids. These bottles help you to get the maximum shelf life of your oils.

Avoid using metal caps for your bottles. The impurities in the metal caps could be released into your essential oils. Opt for rubber or plastic caps that are secured easily.

What to avoid when storing essential oils

Massage oil bottles at spa outdoors with lemons

Make sure that your oils don’t come into contact with water. Water alters the acidity of the essential oils. This means the beneficial properties will be watered down, which is not good for prolonged storage.

Heat, air, and light may change essential oils by oxidization, isomerization, dehydrogenation, polymerization, and thermal rearrangements. This means that your essential oils will lose their aromas and medicinal benefits. Cooler and cold temperatures slow these processes and sometimes eliminate them.

We tend to keep oils at room temperature. Oils that are used often can be stored in a dark kitchen or bathroom cabinet. Essential oils that are rarely used should be stored in the freezer or refrigerator.

What happens when essential oils freeze?

Freezers are the best option for long-term storage. According to recent studies, essential oils, such as rosemary, remain stable for up to 3 months in the refrigerator. Hence, proper storage is key for your essential oils.

Essential oils don’t freeze per se. They crystallize and become foggy. This means that they don’t solidify completely. If your essential oils are pure, they won’t freeze. When your essential oils freeze, it means that they have a high amount of water in them. They will then become solid because of the water. Allow them to thaw slowly before use.

How to defrost carrier oils?

  • Carrier oils that are frozen should be placed in warm water to defrost. You could also allow them to thaw slowly at room temperature. Once you take the bottle out of the fridge or freezer, let it sit at room temperature for a while.

  • Don’t place the bottle in a warm bath immediately. The sudden temperature change could burst the bottle. If the carrier oil is in a wide-mouth container, scoop some out and thaw separately.

  • Carrier oils thaw at different rates. It could take minutes or several hours. This depends on the quantity and type of carrier oil. Try not to be tempted to use hot water to thaw oils. A lot of heat could also affect carrier oils.

You may also blend essential oils with carrier oils to make hair and body lotions, hair conditioners, and massage oils. Please bear in mind that essential oils are highly concentrated and a few drops are all you need.

Can You keep essential oils in the fridge?

Essential oils can be refrigerated. Even at home, make sure to put citrus essential oil in the refrigerator. This essential oil goes bad faster compared to others. Cold slows down the process of oils going bad.

Avoid keeping your oils in the refrigerator door. The temperature at the door fluctuates a lot when it is constantly opened. Look for the coldest part in your fridge to keep your essential oils.

The bottom shelves tend to be colder, making them the best part to store your essential oils. To shield them from light in the fridge, you could put them in a dark box or container before storing them.

Handle essential oils with care

Aromatherapy oil bottle with candle light

Check out the following tips for handling your essential oils:

  • Always let your oils thaw at room temperature before using them. Make sure that they don’t come in contact with food when stored in the freezer or fridge.  After touching essential oils, wash your hands thoroughly.

  • Ensure that these concentrated oils are out of reach of pets and children. Essential oils are highly flammable. When handling them, avoid open flames such as candles and fireplaces. Never ingest essential oils.

  • Before applying on the body, dilute with carrier oils. Avoid contact with eyes and ears.

How can you tell if essential oils have gone bad?

Essential oils are natural products. It is important not to store them for very long periods. They can go bad. It is easy to tell if your oils have gone bad.

Your essential oils have gone bad if they no longer give the aroma they once had when you first opened the bottle. They also turn cloudy, and finally, they seem runny or thicker than the last time you used them.

Remember the sure indications that your oils are not good. Once you notice any of the characteristics above, discard the essential oils immediately. They are not fit for use. Don’t inhale or rub these essential oils on your skin.

In Closing

Cold temperatures help in keeping oils fresh for longer periods. Putting essential oils in the freezer enables us to use them longer to enjoy safe aromatherapy sessions. Blend and use your essential oils knowing that they have been stored properly.

If possible, allocate a shelf or tray in your freezer for your oils. To save you the disappointment of throwing away expensive essential oils, store them well!

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