Can E-Liquids Go Bad?

Can E-Liquids Go Bad?
Have you ever found yourself in the situation where you find a bottle of e-liquid and the Best before date has already passed? What may cross your mind is the fact that you may get sick from using the e-liquid. Let us explore this to see if it is true.

Similar to food, the best before date that is placed on it is only an estimation of the date that the contents of the bottle/jar/tin, etc are not guaranteed to be the same quality compared to when you purchased it. Most e-liquids have a shelf life of 1 - 2 years because there are three significant components of e-liquid which are: Vegetable Glycerine, Propylene Glycol and Nicotine, which have a shelf life of around 2 years when they are stored in the correct conditions.

If you store your e-liquid in direct sunlight or expose it to extreme heat, the three components begin to deteriorate. The other chemicals within the e-liquid such as the flavouring have been reported to taste “stale” when expired. Some flavours react differently. Some can last as long as 5 years, while others may only last for two years.

Since the best before date is only an estimation, it depends on you to decide whether your e-liquid tastes ripe when you are vaping it. 

How to tell if your e-liquid has expired?
There are a few tests that you can perform to see if your e-liquid is still in a good state:

  1. Look at where you are storing the e-liquid. If it is stored in an unsuitable place, it will most likely ruin the e-liquid before the best before date. If you have stored the e-liquid properly, then it will be most likely fine to vape. 
  2. Separation of the e-liquid compounds. The denser liquids will separate from the lighter ones. You can shake the bottle to assist in blending the-liquids, however, if the-liquids do not decide to blend, it may be time to dispose of your e-liquid.
  3. Smell your e-liquid, similar to how you would smell milk when you take it out of the fridge. You will be able to tell if your e-liquid is spoilt. Some e-liquids do not change in smell, however, if you do smell a change, then it is most likely that the e-liquid has lost some of it's aromas.

Effective e-liquid storage methods
The best conditions to store your e-liquid is in a cool, dark place that is away from direct sunlight. The heat from sunlight causes the e-liquid to heat up and breaks it down. Try to refrain from leaving your e-liquid on windowsills, dash boards, outside when you are having a braai as this will hasten the expiration of your e-liquid.

To check this, check the e-liquids tone which will be taking on a yellow hue and will start getting darker with time. Try to pick dull coloured bottles and keep them stored in a cabinet whenever they are not in use.

The effect of Nicotine in E-liquids
It is important to note that e-liquids that do not contain nicotine have a longer shelf life as compared to those that do have nicotine. Nicotine has its own best before date, which means that it expires faster than PG and VG. 

The breakdown process of nicotine means that the nicotine becomes less effective over time. This means that a 6 mg nicotine e-liquid will feel more along the lines of a 3mg nicotine e-liquid.

In the event that you find yourself with an old bottle of e-liquid, we ask that you please dispose of it responsibly. There are a few methods that you can use that are considered to be safe disposal methods:

  1. You should not dispose of the e-liquid without heavily weakening them. We would not want the nicotine to end up in the water.
  2. Some have said that they have emptied bottles into a bag of used cat litter. The cat litter soaks up the-liquid and is extremely effective. Used coffee grounds can work just as well as an absorbent.
  3. Another method is emptying your e-liquid into a spray bottle. Dilute this liquid heavily with water. Spray this mixture on your plants in the garden as most plant eating insects and rodents dislike nicotine.

Unless you are desperate, it may be a good idea to dispose your e-liquid and start with a fresh bottle. If you find yourself continuously throwing away bottles of e-liquid, try to buy your e-liquids in smaller quantities. Remember, the fresher the bottle, the better the taste, but in some cases certain flavours need a month for steeping. 

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