Does e-Liquid expire: How long does it last?

Sometimes we buy more than we need. Yep, we’ve all done it!

We all know when food has expired, but what about e-liquids? Can they really ‘go off’, and what happens if they do? 

Does e-Liquid expire?

Short answer: yes, e-liquids do expire. However, it takes a very long time for this to happen.

E-liquids degrade slowly over time, so it’s not like they’ll suddenly turn ‘bad’ on the exact date shown on the label. Rather, this best before date indicates when the degradation of the juice is likely to start. 

Most e-liquids have a shelf-life of around 2 years from the manufacturing date. This does vary slightly depending on the formulation used, though. For example, nic salt e-liquids degrade slower than freebase nicotine e-liquids. Plus, fruity flavours degrade quicker than more complex flavours, like desserts.

The way you store your e-liquid can also affect how quickly it degrades. If you keep your e-liquids closed in a cool, dry, dark place, they will probably last a pretty long time. Alternatively, if you store them in a warm, damp, or bright place, or the lid has been left off for a while, then the juice is far more likely to be past its best.

What happens when e-liquids expire?

When e-liquids expire, it’s mainly the degradation of the flavourings and nicotine that have an impact – not so much the propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin.

This means you may see the following changes in your e-juice:

  • Flavour – As the flavours break down, your e-liquid may begin to taste different from how it’s supposed to, or of nothing at all.
  • Smell - Similarly to flavour, the smell of your vape juice may change or disappear altogether.
  • Colour - Due to oxidation, the e-liquid is likely to become darker in colour.
  • Strength - Oxidation will also cause the nicotine to become weaker, especially if it’s freebase nicotine.
  • Thickness - The vape liquid may become thicker or thinner, depending on the formulation used.
  • Separation - Lastly, the ingredients in the e-juice may begin to separate. You might be able to see the thicker, heavier ingredients settling at the bottom of the bottle - and, unfortunately, a shake of the bottle won’t solve this.

Free e-liquids with starter kits

Is It safe to use expired e-liquids?

As we explained above, when e-liquids start degrading over time, they will likely begin to change in flavour, scent, colour, thickness, etc.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the vape juice has become unsafe to use. None of the ingredients in e-liquid will suddenly turn toxic over time.

Despite this, we would still recommend that you avoid using your e-liquid if you are starting to see the changes listed above. Not only will it be fairly unpleasant to use an e-liquid when the flavour, thickness, and strength has changed, but there is also a lack of research into the effects of continuously using very expired e-liquid.

If your e-juice has passed the best before date on the label, but you can’t see any of these signs of degradation, then it will be safe to use.

How to store e-liquids

Remember to store your e-liquids in a cool, dry, dark place and keep them closed until you need them. This will help to preserve their life for as long as possible.