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Essential Oil Storage: The Right Bottles, Shelfs, Racks, and Aromatherapy Boxes To Keep Essential Oils Safe

Storing essential oils correctly is key to making sure they last as long and stay as potent as they should. It maintains the aroma and means you will have to buy essential oils less often.

Aromatherapy can be very helpful for many people who like to relax or who want something to help with their pain. Beyond that, the smell of essential oils is simply enticing. Whether you use lavender oil to create your own, romantic massage oil or tea tree oil to deter pests in your home, the natural plant material in pure essential oils makes for a great, environmentally friendly solution.

This full guide is dedicated to all about storing essential oils correctly.

how to store essential oils

Essential Oil Bottles and Containers

If the oils are exposed to light, they can oxidize very quickly, losing their smell and any therapeutic grade qualities. Proper storage ensures that you are able to get the most out of your purchase and retain the healing or stimulating qualities of the oil.

Dark glass bottles like amber glass bottles and cobalt-blue are the best, but you may also try green or violet glass bottles to keep the light out. The dark glass bottles will eliminate the risk of oxidation more effectively.

Be sure to avoid clear glass bottles and plastic bottles, especially plastics that aren’t PET or HDPE. This is because plastics are often easily broken down by the plant material in pure essential oils and heighten the chances of oxidation as well. The exception to the contact with plastic is the plastic plug, or orifice reducer, that companies like Young Living use to restrict the flow of undiluted essential oils, so you don’t accidentally waste and have to buy essential oils more often.

Essential Oil Shelf

Essential oil shelves are an extremely popular choice for storing your essential oils. Shelves provide you with simple organization and aesthetically pleasing arrangements of your collection of essential oils. It gives a nice presentation and allows you to see which oils you have and which oils you need to get to round out your collection.

Some oil shelves are designed with aesthetic in mind.

If you find a wooden shelf such as this one, it provides you with all the traditional features of an oil shelf such as protection from elements and organization, while also allowing you to show off your collection in style.

As essential oils have become a big market, so has creating shelves for essential oils and so you have many options as to styles and looks for your essential oil shelf.

This shelf looks more like a decorative piece you might already have in your home than a just a plain functional storage unit. If you have a small oil collection and want to have them on display without having them necessarily be the focus, an essential oil shelf such as this one would be perfect.

Essential Oil Rack

Essential oil Racks are like shelves, and allow you to display your collection nicely.

If you are starting to grow your collection of essential oils, it can be overwhelming to organize them. Generally every bottle of essential oil looks almost the same, especially if you buy the oils from one manufacturer.

This can make it extremely difficult to differentiate between bottle of essential oils when they are all disorganized. An essential oil rack can help you with to differentiate them and display them nicely.

For a smaller collection of oils, a magnetic essential oil rack is the perfect choice. Because it is magnetic, you can easily place this oil rack on the fridge so it is convenient for all to use and access.

Having an oil rack such as this one is far safer than having the bottles loose in a cabinet, especially if you have younger kids that like to play with containers. This way you can place the bottles far above children’s reach, without hiding them from all.

Another option for an essential oil rack is a display stand style. Racks like these are arranged in a way which will allow you to see the different bottles clearly, creating an extremely simple organization method.

This way you can either display the oils or leave them up inside a cupboard, as you can hang this rack up on the door.

Essential Oil Storage Box or Storage Case

What many people do not realize when they first start growing their essential collection is that some sort of a storage unit is necessary, whether it be a storage box or case.

Having a storage unit will preserve your essential oils and ensure their longevity. As essential oils’ chemical compositions can change because of environmental factors such as oxygen, heat and light, it is important to shield your oils from these possible threats.

The best way to do so is to assure they stay in a dark, cool place and to do so your best bet is a storage unit of sorts.

A storage case is a good option for essential oils as it is inexpensive and easy to carry around if you ever need to. These are generally made out of fabric and so it adds a protective layer from dropping as well as the harmful factors that oils are susceptible to. These are ideal for keeping your oils organized and protecting them.

Many people’s first choice for a storage unit for essential oils is a storage box. Generally wooden, these storage units assure your oils will stay in their best shape. Boxes are better than storage cases for larger collections because they are usually made with more spaces for oils.

Storage boxes essentially have the same benefits as a storage case, including protecting your oils and keeping them organized, however, the boxes are clunkier and harder to carry around, though usually made to carry more.

Boxes are a great way to store your essential oils, because they protect the oils from the sun which can degrade the oils. See our article on the best essential oils storage boxes or storage cases for more.

Glass Spray Bottles For Essential Oils

If you plan to use your essential oils by spraying them, be sure to get a glass spray bottle. These come in dark glass to protect the oil or blend and still allow you to sprits the air.

Many people do prefer to use their essential oils in a glass spray bottle because they find it more accessible and simpler to contain and use all at once. Glass spray bottles are the right choice because glass is non-reactive, ensuring the bottle will not affect the chemical composition of the oil.

Plastic bottles which most people unknowingly use instead of glass spray bottles, can have an effect on the smell of your oil as well, which severely decreases the shelf life of your oil.

Do Essential Oils Expire

Essential Oils will degrade and weaken over time, ultimately becoming too weak to be effective. The shelf life of essential oils depends on the oil.

If you are an avid essential oil collector or a first-time buyer, you are probably aware that keeping a collection of essential oils is not cheap. While they do not necessarily have an expiration date, they do degrade over time, rendering them less aromatic and lessening or even preventing their effects altogether.

The shelf life of an essential oil depends greatly on the type of essential oil in question, however, there are certain factors that also play a role.

One of these factors is oxygen. If you leave your essential oil out or open, it may react with the oxygen in the air which may or may not change the chemical composition. Heat as well plays a large role, if you leave your essential oils in a certain temperature not suited for the oil or bring it to a new environment it may change the chemical makeup as well.

Finally, light can have an effect on the chemical composition of essential oils as well, so it is important to be careful where you leave your oil.

While the essential oils do not necessarily expire, once the chemical composition is changed, there is no telling whether or not the oil will actually yield the same results unless you get the composition tested.

How to Store Essential Oils

  1. Always Use a Dark Glass Bottle

    dark glass essential oils bottles on a table
    You may be familiar with essential oils, and already use them, but you might wonder how to store them so that they remain fresh and potent. The most important thing you can do to store your essential oils is find the right bottle. Dark glass bottles, of a dark amber or blue will protect your essential oils from light and extend the shelf life of the oil.

  2. Make Sure Caps Have Airtight Seals

    Now, you have the right bottle and you are more than ready to store your essential oils. That’s wonderful, but it won’t help you if you haven’t closed the caps on your bottles correctly. So, you have to make sure all of your caps are always airtight.

    This is because exposure to air can cause oxidation as well. Hence, be sure that your bottles have a real airtight seal. Most screw-on bottles have a good seal like that, but if you are using something with a plug stopper, check to make sure that no air can get in.

    dark glass essential oils cap with flowers

    To help with this, try bottles with solid caps rather than rubber caps. This is because rubber can deteriorate over time and leak down into your oil anyway. As a result, it’s not usually a great option.

    You are also able to keep the orifice reducer, or plastic plug, in the bottle to help seal it properly. If you have larger bottles, pour them into smaller bottles when they are half empty to reduce the amount of air in the bottle too.

    This will work to decrease the oxidation of your oils so they last a little longer.

  3. Keep Out of Direct Sunlight

    One of the most essential storage tips is to keep your oils out of direct sunlight, including kitchen or bathroom shelves. Direct contact with the ultra-violet light from the sun can cause oils to oxidize in merely a few months.

    In contrast, by storing pure oils inside a kitchen cabinet, a closet, or a drawer, you are able to prolong their life by almost a year. Look for places that are dry, cool and can maintain a constant room temperature. Pure essential oils that are stored properly away from ultra-violet light last longer and work better than those that are not.

    clouds on a sunny day

    Even carrier oils– like olive oil, coconut oil, and other vegetable oils– don’t like extreme temperature conditions and can quickly get destroyed. Keep your carrier oils stored at room temperature and away from ultra-violet light as well. Instead of spending your hard-earned cash on oils that are going to spoil, first ensure you have the right conditions to keep them fresh – maintaining their therapeutic properties in the process. It’s important to note that citrus oils– like lemon oil and citrus bergamia– and some other oils are photosensitive, so wearing them on your skin in ultra-violet light can actually burn and scar the skin, even if you use a carrier oil like coconut oil or olive oil.




    The best course of action to combat the sun is to store them in a lidded container, or one specially designed for oil storage. You may even opt for color coding your boxes according to aromas (i.e., amber glass bottles for citrus oils like lemon or citrus bergamia).

  4. Store in a Cooler or Refrigerator on Really Hot Days

    You might not realize that on hot summer days, your refrigerator is the perfect space to store oils. Not only will you protect them from direct sunlight, but you’ll also be reducing the possibility of air exposure.

    When taken together, the combination of these factors will keep oils stable and fresh for a longer time. however, you don’t want to make it too chilly for them as they prefer room temperature. Keep the fridge in between 41 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit, or 5 to 10 degrees Celsius. Store your pure essential oils on the door of the fridge, so they’re less exposed to the cold.

    kitchen scene with table, chairs and refrigerator

    When you take them out of the refrigerator, there is a high chance that they will have solidified. don’t worry, give it 30 minutes, and they will return to their liquid state – with properties intact.

    If you want to recreate the ideal conditions for the oil, remove the oil from the fridge or cooler around 12 hours before planning to use them.

    Note: Never put essential oils in the freezer, as this can cause damage to them and they will lose their aroma and therapeutic grade quality.

    Citrus oils are the most sensitive to temperature fluctuations and oxidation. Similarly, oils such as Rose Otto, Aniseed, Star Anise and Fennel can easily be damaged.

  5. Store Away from Extreme Heat Sources

    The vast majority of essential oils are highly flammable and can quickly catch fire if left near a heat source, similar to alcohol.

    Apply common sense when storing your oils, and be aware of any extreme heat source that may be nearby.

    wood fire burning charcoal

  6. Avoid Storing In or Near Surfaces That Damage Easily

    Essential oils will stain fabrics and surfaces they touch. The deep colors of many oils make them very difficult to remove with water or stain remover, so be conscious of this when deciding upon a good storage place. Things like wood, fabric, and carpet – really any porous surface will stain from essential oils. Keep your bottles in large plastic containers to ensure no spills during transport or within a wooden storage space.

    cabinet against green wall

  7. Use An Aromatherapy Box

    If you don’t have room in your refrigerator, or can’t think of a good dark place that will keep your oils safe, consider an aromatherapy box or storage case. These boxes are meant to specifically to store your oils and are built to keep them safe.

    Some boxes even include insulation to protect your oils from temperature changes. You don’t need something extremely fancy; even plastic containers will do. Just protect your oils by keeping them together and out of a dangerous place.

    Of course, always remember to screw all the caps on tightly every time you put them away. Aromatherapy boxes can be great to organize everything too, so you’re able to find all your oils together whenever you need them.

    Boxes can be great for expanding your collection or keeping them safe from ultra-violet light, pets and children.

The Bottom Line

You have your collection of pure essential oils and essential oil blends all laid out in front of you, ready to use. That’s great, but after you’re done with your oils, how are you going to store them so that they last as long as possible?

essential oils with flowers

Begin by getting the right bottle, keeping the caps on tight and putting your collection in a dark and cool place. Many of the major therapeutic grade pure essential oil suppliers, both multi-level marketing companies and retailers, sell their product in the right type of bottle. Young Living, Puritan’s Pride, Rocky Mountain Oils, and DoTerra essential oils come in glass bottles for this purpose. While this works for pure essential oils, you might need to source your own amber glass bottles for DIY essential oil blends. Consider getting an aromatherapy box to make sure your oils stay safe and potent or keep your essential oil bottles in plastic containers to prevent spills.

With the right storage, you will be able to keep your oils for much longer than you could otherwise, and preserve their healing or stimulating effects.

Melissa Styer

Melissa Styer is the Founder, and long time Editor-in-Chief of With a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Oregon, and a Masters Degree in Biology from California State University, Melissa has been writing and teaching about essential oils and the importance of a maintaining a healthy living environment for over 25 years. === Hi All, I started Wellness Appliances in the Winter of 2014 as a way to and share my knowledge and thoughts on essential oils and the importance of healthful living. As a youngster, I have vivid memories of walking through the large fantastic garden my dad kept for his entire life. It was there I learned about all the plants and the varied, important properties they can offer humanity. A cool morning misty walk down the meandering paths was a child’s delight, and something I still do to this day in my own sprawling gardens. While I have stepped back from the day-to-day managing of Wellness Appliances, I intend to continue contributing articles on subjects that matter to me from time to time. My days are largely filled volunteering at the local co-op, tooling in my vegetable and fragrance gardens (which I attempt to keep as a year-round gardens), writing, and being the leader of the pack to my two dogs Jacko and Lea. Thanks for the years of great readership! - Melissa

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