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Essential Oils 101

How to Store Essential Oils

Once you've purchased quality essential oils, you certainly will want to keep them that way. Store them in glass containers. Some essential oils can actually dissolve plastic, and storing them even temporarily in it may contaminate the oil. Don't store essential oils in dropper bottles either, as it doesn't take long for the rubber seals and squeeze bulbs to melt into a gooey mess.

The color of the bottle doesn't really matter. Just be sure to keep all essential oils out of direct sunlight and away from heat so they don't lose their potency.


Essential oils are natural preservatives and will help preserve your carrier oils. Their scent will change and fade over time, however, and eventually lose its quality. Properly stored, most oils will keep for at least several years. The citrus oils, such as orange and lemon, are most vulnerable to losing their smell, but even they will keep for a couple of years if refrigerated.

A few essential oils, including patchouli, clary sage, benzoin, vetiver, and sandalwood, actually help fix the scent of other aromas combined with them. And they get better with age. The same is true for thick resins such as myrrh. Patchouli that has been stored for many years smells so rich, few people recognize it -- even those who otherwise dislike it! Essential oils such as these become yet more valuable with age. 

To learn more about Aromatherapy and other alternative medicines, see:

  • Aromatherapy: Here you will learn about aromatherapy, how it works, what part essential oils play, and how to use aromatherapy.
  • Essential Oils Profiles: We have collected profiles of dozens of plants that are used to produce essential oils. On these pages, you will learn the properties and preparations for the most popular essential oils.
  • How to Treat Common Conditions With Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy can be used to treat a number of conditions, from asthma to depression to skin problems. Here you will learn how to treat some common medical problems with aromatherapy.
  • Home Remedies: We have gathered over a hundred safe, time-tested home remedies for treating a wide variety of medical complaints yourself.
  • Herbal Remedies: Herbal remedies and aromatherapy can be very similar, and they stem from similar historic roots. On this page, you will find all of our herb profiles and instructions for treating medical problems with herbal remedies.

Kathi Keville is director of the American Herb Association and editor of the American Herb Association Quarterly newsletter. A writer, photographer, consultant, and teacher specializing in aromatherapy and herbs for over 25 years, she has written several books, including Aromatherapy: The Complete Guide to the Healing Art and Pocket Guide to Aromatherapy, and has written over 150 articles for such magazines as New Age Journal, The Herb Companion, and New Herbal Remedies.This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.