E-juices are not like food that can grow mold or get contaminated. So why do we see expiration or best-by dates on e-liquid bottles?
The answer lies within the components of your e-juice. An e-juice may be liquid but it is still a combination of many other ingredients. This means that leaving a bottle of e-juice sitting for an extended period may result in the ingredients separating. In turn, this separation may affect the flavor of the e-juice.
What is the shelf-life of e-juices?
The two major components of any e-liquid are vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol. These two components can remain stable for up to 2 years when properly stored. However, there is no concrete data on whether mixing the two will result in a shorter shelf-life.
E-juices also contain nicotine. Liquid nicotine oxidizes over time. This is especially true if the liquid nicotine is not in a tightly-sealed container. What this means is that the nicotine won’t be as potent. You can still use it but you will notice a reduction in its effects. This might be dangerous since the typical response to this situation is to increase the nicotine one consumes.
The most sensible thing to do is to store just enough e-juice for use within a 2-month period. This will ensure that you can consume all of the e-juice you purchased before you notice any difference in their flavor and effects.
How will I know if my e-juice has gone bad?
There are signs to look out for if you want to determine if an e-juice has already “expired”. The flavor itself will tell you if the e-juice is no longer good. You will notice a difference in how the e-juice tastes. The flavor won’t be as distinct. It’s like drinking watered-down wine. You’re tasting a flavor that’s familiar but not as good.
Other signs include:
A change in color
We mentioned earlier that nicotine oxidizes. Oxidation is a natural process. This is the same process that occurs whenever you see a peeled potato turning brown after a few minutes. The change in color is a result of oxidation. In vaping, this happens when the atoms of the nicotine molecule interact with the atoms in the oxygen molecule in the air. There’s really nothing anyone can do to prevent this process.
One visible effect of oxidation is a change in the color of the e-juice. The color will become a bit pale as oxidation occurs. You can still use this e-juice even with a slight change in color. However, it might be best not to use an e-juice anymore if the color change is too pronounced or if the color of the e-juice is too different from how it used to be.
Change in thickness
The thickness of an e-juice varies. It depends on the quality of the e-juice you’re using. An e-juice’s thickness will also depend on the ingredients used in making the e-juice. An e-liquid with high levels of Propylene Glycol will be more fluid. On the other hand, an e-juice with high Vegetable Glycerin content is thicker. E-juices rich in Vegetable Glycerin are ideal for those who love performing vape tricks.
It is also possible to see a buildup of residue at the bottom of the bottle. This is typical and is known as “settling down”. All that you need to do is give the bottle a little shake so that the residue merges back into the e-juice. However, if you still see residue after giving the e-juice bottle a vigorous shaking, it is best not to use the e-juice anymore. If the consistency of the e-juice becomes syrupy, just discard the bottle and purchase a new one.
Change in smell
Our sense of smell can tell us if a food we’re about to eat is still edible. Our noses can detect any change in the smell of the food. This is true even for e-juices. We’re pretty sure that if you have a favorite e-juice, you know how it smells like. You’ll be able to detect even a small change in its smell. If the e-juice smells funny, then dispose of it immediately. Flavored e-juices also have distinct smells. If the e-juice doesn’t smell like its flavor, throw it away.
How much e-liquid should I purchase at a time?
Most of the e-juice available whether online or at physical stores come in 10 ml or 30 ml bottles. How long these may last will depend on how much you vape on a daily basis. On average, a vaper at most nicotine levels will consume around 3 ml of e-juice each day. This means that it is safe to say that 2 10 ml bottles may be more than enough to last a week. If you purchase e-liquids in 30 ml bottles, one bottle should be more than enough for two weeks of regular vaping.
Vaping and nicotine levels
The amount of nicotine in an e-liquid plays a crucial role in determining how much a person vapes. Vaping using low nicotine strength e-juices can result in higher consumption. This means you might use more e-liquid compared to vapers that use high nicotine e-juices. It is possible to use more than one 10ml e-juice bottle per week in this case.
Other factors that affect e-juice consumption
Aside from the nicotine content, there are other factors that may dictate how much e-juice an individual consumes. The type of vaping device can also dictate how much e-juice a user might consume.
Another factor worth considering is the vaping style of the user. If you are a cloud chaser, it is already a given that you will consume more e-juice than a regular vaper.
What should I do to prolong the shelf-life of an e-juice?
Cool, dark, and dry
Exposure to light and heat can alter the flavor and consistency of an e-juice. This explains why you always see e-juices sold in tinted glass bottles. The tint is not just a design. It is a way of protecting the liquid inside from exposure to sunlight.
One ideal storage space is a refrigerator. The insides of a refrigerator are cold enough for storage. Although there is light inside a refrigerator, this light only powers on when you open the refrigerator. This means that your stored e-juice is not constantly exposed to light.
If you’re not happy with the idea of storing your e-juice in a refrigerator, you can just store it in a storage box. A box will be cool and dark enough to preserve the e-juice. You can then place the box in your closet or any dry and cool space.
Keep your e-juice sealed
Just like with any bottled liquid, keeping the bottle tightly sealed will go a long way towards preserving its contents. A tight, sealed bottle means there is minimal air inside the bottle. We mentioned earlier that liquid nicotine oxidizes as a result of exposure to oxygen. Keeping the e-juice bottle tightly sealed will preserve the flavor of the e-juice. Not only that, but the nicotine levels will also be affected.
Store according to your needs
We know it can be tempting to store as much e-liquid as you can. Especially if you see your favorite brand on sale at discounted prices. However, it is prudent to just store enough for 3 months’ worth of use. This will ensure that you have e-juice that will deliver optimum flavor. You might be thinking of the savings but end up wasting money if the e-juice you hoarded a year ago goes bad.
Another thing we should keep in mind is to only open a bottle of e-juice that we intend to consume. Sealed bottles have a longer shelf life compared to opened bottles. An opened bottle has already let oxygen in. This is something to keep in mind if you’re one of those who likes to switch to different flavors. Switching between two flavors is a good way to avoid flavor fatigue. When we say flavor fatigue, this is a condition where the flavor of the e-juice no longer tastes as good because our taste buds have gotten so used to it. Switching to another flavor even for a day or two may relieve flavor fatigue. However, don’t forget to completely consume one alternate flavor before trying another one.
If you purchase your e-juice in a physical store, make an effort to check the expiration or best before date before making a purchase. Buy an e-juice that won’t expire for at least 3 more months. This is a great way of maximizing any purchase you make. When storing your purchases, group them according to their expiration dates. This will make it easier to determine which ones have longer shelf lives and which ones you need to use first.
E-juices are just like any other consumable. They can and they will go bad after time. Yes, e-juices have longer shelf lives compared to food or other consumables. However, they still have limited shelf lives. Storing and consuming e-juices before their best before dates will ensure that you will get maximum flavor from them. Nobody wants to ruin their vaping experience by using an e-juice that already tastes stale and flavorless.