The Dos and Don’ts of Storing Your E-Liquid
If you’re looking to get the most out of every juice purchase, it’s important to think carefully about e-liquid storage. The rules of storing your e-liquid safely and without reducing the shelf-life of the juice are thankfully really straightforward. In a nutshell, you need to avoid heat and light as much as possible, use glass bottles and keep everything out of reach of kids and pets. There’s a lot more to think about than this, but as long as you get those basics right you’ll be able to store your e-juice without issues. Here are the dos and don’ts of storing your e-juice:
Don’t: Keep Your E-Juice in the Sun
Sunlight does two things to your e-juice: heats it up and bathes it in light. These are the worst two things for the shelf-life of e-liquid, because they oxidize the nicotine, which changes the nicotine’s color and can lead to it decreasing in strength. Although leaving your e-juice bottle in sunlight throughout a warm day won’t have a noticeable effect, if you’re storing long-term, keeping the e-juice in the sun will reduce both the strength and the flavor of the e-liquid.
Do: Keep Your E-Juice Somewhere Dark and Cool
As well as protecting your e-liquid against light, finding somewhere that stays relatively cool will maximize the shelf-life of the juice too. When something is hotter, its molecules have more energy, so they’re more likely to react and change the flavor of your e-juice. Generally speaking, flavor is more likely to be affected than the nicotine strength of your e-liquid, but both are possible over a long enough timescale. Keeping your e-juice somewhere cool gives it the best chance of maintaining its flavor for longer.
Don’t: Store Your E-Juice for a Long Time in Plastic Bottles
E-liquid often comes in plastic bottles, and while these are absolutely fine for short-term storage, these aren’t ideal over the long term. The plastic itself can interact with the e-liquid and cause changes to the flavor, but soft plastics (LDPE ones) are also permeable to air, which can interact with your e-liquid. Using glass bottles (like Black Note’s e-juice bottles) or PET plastic is a much better choice for long-term storage.
Do: Store Your E-Liquid Out of Reach of Kids and Pets
One of the most important but also easiest things to do is keep your e-liquid somewhere your kids or pets won’t be able to get to it. Keep it somewhere high up and you won’t have issues with either, but you can find a lockable box if that isn’t possible. Considering everything above, a wall-mounted cupboard doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight is perfect for e-liquid.
Don’t: Keep Your E-Liquid With “Headspace” in the Bottle
Aside from heat and light, exposure to air can also lead to your e-juice degrading over time. This is hard to avoid in many cases, but if you’re storing your juice for a long time, one good tip is to change the bottles for your e-juice so there isn’t “headspace” (i.e. air above the liquid in the bottle) on most of the e-liquid you store. For example, if you have 20 ml left of a 30 ml bottle, the best approach for long-term storage would be to switch to a 15 ml bottle for most of the e-liquid and just leave the 5 ml in any bottle. The 5 ml leftover will be exposed to air, but the 15 ml in the full bottle will be optimally set up for long term storage. This still isn’t ideal because you can’t store it all, but it’s better to have 15 ml in good condition and 5 ml with a shorter shelf life than reducing the shelf life of the whole 20 ml.
Do: Get Creative With Storage Solutions (Especially if You DIY)
You can store your e-juice pretty much anywhere dark and cool, especially if you don’t have kids or pets, but that doesn’t mean you should just settle for a basic storage solution. If you have a lot of e-juice, and particularly if you mix your own e-liquid, it may be worth looking into some purpose-built or re-purposed e-juice storage systems. Many options from a basic plastic storage box with compartments, to nail polish or lipstick organizers and right through to higher-end, purpose-built storage solutions with numerous compartments can help with keeping things organized while in storage. Nobody really needs something like this, but if you have a lot of e-juice to store they are often well worth the investment.
Do: Sniff the Bottle Before You Vape
Even if you do everything right, if you’ve had your e-juice in storage for several months, it’s worth giving the bottle a cursory sniff before you fill up and vape. In the same way you’d check a possibly-bad carton of milk, just having a little smell from the mouth of the bottle can be enough to tip you off to an e-juice that has passed its prime.
How Long Does E-Juice Last?
If you follow all of the advice in this post, the answer to “how long does e-juice last?” is a bit harder to pin down. Generally speaking, flavors will start to degrade after about a year – shorter for fruity juices and longer for heavier, sweeter flavors and tobaccos – but this can be extended almost indefinitely with good storage. If your e-juice is kept away from heat and light and stored in full or near-full bottles, this could easily be increased to two years or even longer. The flavors are the main thing to consider, but it’s worth noting that in many cases even if the flavor changes it isn’t that the e-juice has gone “bad,” it just develops different characteristics as it ages, a little like a wine.
Storing your e-liquid is a crucial thing to consider for most vapers, but it shouldn’t cause you any problems as long as you think about safety and the longevity of your juice when making your decisions. Ideally, you’ll be able to keep your e-juice in a dark, cool place (or the refrigerator or freezer) well away from children or pets, with a storage rack or something else to keep everything well-organized. There are many different ways to tackle the issue, but the golden rules are to avoid heat, light and air when you’re storing, and to make sure your family is safe. As long as you keep those points in mind, you can be creative and find a storage solution that works for you.