Have you ever reached for a bottle of e-liquid and out of the corner of your eye you see that the expiration date has come and gone? UGH. You might tip it from side-to-side scanning for anything funky, or you might give it a quick sniff.
In fact, you might wonder if a bottle of e-liquid expires at all…
E-Liquid Shelf Life
Like with food, an expiration date is only an estimation of the date that the contents are no longer guaranteed to be the same quality as when it was purchased. Most e-liquids have expiration dates set for 1-2 years. Here’s why:
Three important components of e-liquid – nicotine, PG, and VG – all have an established shelf life of about 2 years if stored in the correct conditions. When exposed to direct sunlight or extreme heat, these three components begin to break down sooner. However, the real uncertainty for expired e-liquid is the flavor breaking down over time, changing flavors and even tasting “stale.” Each flavor is a little different; some can last up to 5 years while others lose flavor in two.
Since expiration dates are only an estimation, it’s up to you to decide whether or not your e-liquid is a little too ripe for vaping.
Has Your E-liquid Expired?
Here are a few things to check when determining if your e-liquid is still good:
- Storage. If your e-liquid has been stored in an unsuitable location, it may spoil before the expiration date, but if it has been stored properly, there’s a chance it may still be okay to vape. Just inspect it carefully.
- Separation. Check the e-liquid for separation. The heavier, denser elements of the e-liquid will naturally sink to the bottom of the bottle, and a little shake may help mix them again. If the contents are not mixing after a few prolonged shakes, it may be time to toss it.
- Smell. Just like with the gallon of milk in your fridge, one quick whiff can tell you if an e-liquid is past it’s prime. Not all e-liquids will change smell drastically, but if it smells or looks odd, it’s likely a good indicator it has spoiled.
Storing Your E-Liquid
The best way to store e-liquid is in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. Since sunlight heats up the liquid and causes it to break down, you want to avoid leaving your liquids on window sills and, especially, in your car as this will hasten the expiration. One of the best ways to notice this will be if your e-liquid begins to change color.
Most often, the liquid begins to take on a yellow hue and gets darker with time. You can combat this by choosing dark-colored bottles and keeping them tightly sealed inside of a cabinet whenever you are not using them.
It is also worth noting that e-liquids without nicotine tend to have a longer shelf life than those with nicotine. Since nicotine has its own expiration date, eliminating this ingredient leaves it up to the PG and VG.
For those liquids that do contain nicotine, the breakdown process usually means that the nicotine is less effective when it reaches you. So, your 6-milligram e-liquid may feel more like a 3-mg hit instead.If you’re in a pinch, this might be enough to get you through, but for some people this is a definite no-go.
How to Get Rid of Expired Juice
If you find yourself stuck with a bottle or two of expired juice, we encourage you to dispose of it responsibly. There are several methods for doing this that are considered safe.
First, you should not dump e-liquids down a drain without heavily diluting them as the nicotine in the e-liquids will end up in the watershed.
Some people suggest pouring your liquids into a baggie of kitty litter. The cat litter will absorb the liquid and keep any animals from getting sick if they were to get into your garbage. Used coffee grounds also make a suitable absorbent material to soak up the liquid for disposal.
Alternatively, if you’re into gardening, some people recommend dumping your unused e-liquid into a spray bottle and filling it the rest of the way up with water. Plant-eating insects and rodents dislike the nicotine, so you can spray the solution on your plants throughout the season to keep pests away.
While it’s probably not harmful to your health to vape an expired e-liquid, we can’t promise that it hasn’t lost its flavor, acquired an undesirable aftertaste and may not be worth your valuable vaping time. Unless you’re completely desperate, it might be best to just throw it away and start with a fresh bottle.
If you find that you are constantly throwing away expired or spoiled bottles of e-liquid, maybe try buying your e-liquid is smaller quantities every few weeks. The fresher the bottle, the better the taste.
If you need more quality e-liquids, check out our many delicious blends online or find a store near you. Happy vaping!
Gianna Del Monte is the Brand Manager at VaporFi. She has been in the vaping industry since June 2015 and has extensive experience in successfully managing and marketing a variety of new vapor product launches. Originally from New Jersey, Gianna has lived in the Miami area for the last 5 years.