Does E-Liquid Go Bad?
By: Cianna Garrison
This is a question that we hear asked constantly, especially from those of you new to vaping: Does e-liquid go bad or expire? Yes! As with most things, your juice can and does degrade in quality over time. It isn’t certain that there are harmful effects of vaping e-liquid that has degraded, but with a lack of flavor or a gross, sickeningly sweet taste, why would you want to? If you think your liquid is going bad, toss it out and buy some fresh e-juice.
How Long Do Juices Stay Good?
Typically, when stored in the proper and ideal conditions, your juice will last on average 1-2 years. The most common life cycle for juices is at tops year to a year and a half if you are keeping them in a cool, dark place such as a refrigerator. To keep your e-liquid fresh, store it away from direct sunlight, air (which causes oxidation), and heat. To get the best life out of your juice, a fridge is the best bet and the ideal storage place.
How Do I Know if my E-liquid is Going Bad?
Some bottles are marked with an expiration date while others aren’t, but it’s best to go by the rule of 1-2 years in proper storage. If you aren’t storing your e-liquids properly, they are going to degrade a lot faster.
There are several ways to tell if your e-liquid is going bad. Here’s a list of indicators:
Color Change or Separation:
One of the easiest signs of bad juice to notice is a dark color or a visible separation of the juice’s components. Exposure to air, or oxidation, is what causes e-liquids to change in color. If you’re noticing a separation of the liquid, see if you can mix it with a hearty hand shake. If the juice doesn’t settle back to a normal consistency, then it’s most likely going bad.
Taste and Smell:
Sometimes your juice won’t change color, but it has still degraded in quality. A good way to test the quality of your juice is to smell it. Has the smell changed since you purchased it? If it has, be advised that the Bismarck is assuredly sinking by means of tactical nuclear penguin.
Taste will also be a red flag. If the juice has lost flavor or has a sickening sweet, unpleasant taste, it’s best to toss it out.
Pay attention to the viscosity, or thickness, or your e-liquid. Has the viscosity changed? Juices that are on their way out will often be of a thinner consistency than they were on the date you purchased it. This occurs when your e-liquid has been exposed to too much light or heat. Again, some of this can be avoided if you store your liquids properly, although all e-liquid will eventually meet its shelf-life. If you’re buying in bulk, keeping most of your stash in storage (the fridge or freezer are best, but a dark, cool cabinet will do) while only having enough to get you through the next few days on hand will help preserve the hoard.
Although nicotine strength isn’t always a factor, one way to tell if your e-liquid is going bad is a noticeable change in the perceived nicotine strength. If it doesn’t seem to be as strong as it was before, and has any of the other factors such as color change, poor taste, separation, or changes in viscosity, then it’s best to throw it away. Conversely, if your liquid has oxidized (been exposed to too much air and/or direct heat and sunlight), the throat hit from the nicotine may be enhanced to the point that your liquid is unpalatable.
Better Safe Than Sorry:
In any and all cases, if you are uncertain that your e-juice is degrading in quality, going bad, or past the expiration date (i.e. the 1-2 year mark) it is best to throw it out and start fresh. Why risk poor quality and potential health concerns when e-juice can be relatively inexpensive? Not only that, your vaping experience is not going to be pleasant if your juice has change in color, flavor, smell, or thickness.
The best thing to do is to keep a record of when you purchased your e-liquids, store them in an ideal place (such as the refrigerator), and make sure to check juices that are fast approaching the spoil date.