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How Long Does E-Liquid Last?

Recap: e-liquid can go bad like any other consumable product. How long it lasts depends on its expiry date and how well you store it.

Your vaping experience largely depends on your e-liquid. Nicotine strength, flavour finesse, and the liquid formula (nicotine salts versus freebase nicotine) are all key elements that define how well your e-liquid delivers. Here’s a breakdown of how long e-liquid lasts.

Does e-liquid expire?

E-liquid is said to be a “shelf-stable” product – meaning as long as it is sealed and stored at the right temperatures, it can last for a long time. However, like any other consumable product, e-liquid also expires. Most products state their expiry date as two years of manufacture.

How long does e-liquid last?

How long e-liquid lasts on the shelf depends on its ingredients. There are mainly two ingredients in the liquid that its expiry date depends on – VG (vegetable glycerine) and PG (propylene glycol). Both of these chemicals are e-liquid diluents.

PG e-liquid

PG (propylene glycol) is chemically predisposed to not degrade easily and thus lasts longer. That is why e-liquids containing high PG content tend to have a better shelf life.

VG e-liquid

VG (vegetable glycerine) does not prevent degradation as PG does. Despite this fact, e-liquids containing VG don’t expire any sooner than the ones containing PG. Instead, since both liquids contain nicotine, they both have similar shelf lives.

person smelling the e-liquid

How do you know if your e-liquid has gone bad?

There are a few signs that your e-liquid has crossed its expiration date or has gone bad. After all, there are times when you don’t use a particular e-liquid flavour months after opening it, and leave it sitting on the shelf, unsealed. Here are three signs:

1. Taste & smell

When an e-liquid has gone bad, it has suffered chemical reactions that alter its taste or simply leave it somewhat tasteless. If you notice such a change, you’ll also notice that your e-liquid no longer smells the same.

2. Colour

Each time you remove your e-liquid’s seal and open the bottle, it gains exposure to oxygen. This exposure can eventually lead to the liquid getting much darker over time. When you notice that, it’s a sign that the liquid has remained unsealed too long or has otherwise expired.

3. Ingredients emulsify

Your e-liquid comprises many ingredients. Though the liquid appears uniform when it is fresh, over time its contents will begin to emulsify – its different ingredients start to separate so that the denser ones will settle at the bottom of the bottle. You’ll first notice this when you see that the e-liquid at the top of the bottle is a different colour from that at the bottom. These signs indicate it’s time to dispose of the liquid.

4. Nicotine deterioration

Another thing you’ll notice about expired e-liquid is that once vaped, it no longer delivers the right nicotine strength. And you won’t receive a proper throat hit either.

-liquid stored in a cupboard

How to store e-liquid

How well your e-liquid tastes after you’ve opened its bottle, depends on how you store it. Here are a few tips on how to store it correctly.

Choose a room temperature cupboard

Extreme temperature, direct sunlight, and excess exposure to oxygen can change your e-liquid chemically and make it go bad. So the ideal place to store it is in a cool room in a cupboard away from the sun.

Consider refrigerating

If you cannot control your room’s temperature and live someplace that is generally too warm, you may consider refrigerating your e-liquid. Vapers in the UK who experience hot summer days have reported doing so.

Ensure your e-liquid is sealed when you buy

E-liquid brands must ensure a quality seal on their products so that the e-liquid can last well until the expiration date. Nicotine product manufacturer Vont, for instance, places two seals on its vape pods – a user has to remove two silicone protective cases before they place the pod in their device.

Also, once you’ve opened your e-liquid, you should close the bottle tightly. The oxygen in the air can oxidize the liquid if the bottle’s cap is not screwed back firmly.

Disposing of your expired e-liquid

It’s best if you don’t shove your expired e-liquid in the garbage. Instead, you should get rid of the liquid separately, then rinse the bottle and throw it in the recycling. When getting rid of your expired e-liquid, it’s ideal not to pour it down the sink.