If you vape regularly, you may wonder how long that bottle of e-liquid on your shelf lasts.
Vape juice, a vital component of e-cigarettes, is a blend of ingredients like propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavorings, and nicotine. This unique chemical composition makes vape juice a long-lasting product — however, like any consumable, vape juice has a shelf life.
In this guide, we discuss the ins and outs of vape juice longevity, including how long vape juice lasts and how to spot the signs of degradation. Plus, we cover key storage tips to ensure the utmost longevity and quality of your vape juice.
Keep reading to discover the truth about vape juice expiration!
How Long Does E-Liquid Last?
The lifespan of vape juice (also called e-liquid) varies depending on multiple factors, such as its ingredients and the storage conditions where the vape juice is kept.
Typically, unopened e-liquid has a shelf life of roughly two years.
However, once the e-liquid is opened, exposure to air, light, and heat can affect its longevity. Though this degradation process can take significant time to occur, it is essential to consider before purchasing vape juice or when deciding how to store your unopened bottles of e-liquid.
Most e-liquids come with an expiration date listed on the bottle. This date indicates when the manufacturer expects the degradation process to begin. As stated, the expiration date generally falls around two years from the manufacturing date.
The exact expiration date of your vape juice depends on the manufacturer’s production processes. Different formulas can impact the quality and longevity of e-liquid, causing it to degrade either slower or faster depending on which formulation a manufacturer utilizes.
For instance, freebase nicotine e-liquids tend to degrade at a faster rate than nic salt e-liquids. Fruit-flavored e-liquids have also been known to degrade more quickly than other flavors.
What Happens to Expired Vape Juice?
Expired vape juice undergoes chemical changes that alter its composition and characteristics. When vape juice surpasses its shelf life, several key transformations occur:
- Oxidation of Nicotine: One of the primary changes involves the oxidation of nicotine. As the vape juice ages, the nicotine content reacts with oxygen, resulting in the breakdown of nicotine molecules. This process leads to a reduction in nicotine potency. Expired vape juice often produces a diminished nicotine effect as a result.
- Flavor Degradation: The flavorings in vape juice can degrade over time. Exposure to oxygen and environmental factors causes the flavors to break down, leading to a noticeable change in taste. The once-vibrant flavors may become muted, altered, or even slightly rancid. Consequently, the overall vaping experience becomes less enjoyable as the intended flavors fade.
- Darkening of Liquid: The oxidation process doesn’t solely affect taste and potency — it can also impact the appearance of the vape juice. Over time, the liquid might darken, changing from its original color. This darkening occurs due to the chemical reactions within the liquid as it ages, indicating that the composition of the juice has undergone alterations.
- Altered Chemical Composition: The cumulative effect of the degradation of vape juice results in an altered chemical composition. While it might not pose immediate health risks, using expired vape juice may lead to an unsatisfactory vaping experience due to the compromised taste, reduced nicotine potency, and overall degradation of its original quality.
Is Expired Vape Juice Harmful?
Whether or not expired vape juice is harmful is a tricky question.
Currently, there is no definitive research or evidence to support the idea that expired vape juice is harmful to your health (aside from the general health risks of vaping and nicotine). However, a lack of evidence does not immediately equate to a lack of potential harm.
Although expired vape juice might not be directly harmful, its altered chemical composition can lead to an unsatisfactory vaping experience. Nicotine degradation can result in diminished potency, causing users to vape more often to try and achieve the same effects as a newer bottle of e-liquid.
As such, it is always best to use caution when using expired vape juice. The best practice to follow is simply to replace your e-liquid once you notice degradation occurring, such as color and flavor changes.
How to Store Vape Juice Correctly
Proper storage is crucial for maintaining the quality of your vape juice.
Always keep vape juice away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Cool and dark places, such as a cupboard or refrigerator, often make the best storage spaces for vape juice. Additionally, keeping your vape juice tightly sealed helps limit oxygen exposure and slow overall degradation.
Storing e-liquids in warm, damp, or bright places is not recommended, as these storage conditions contribute to the liquid’s degradation. You should also never leave your vape juice uncovered or open, as this leads to immense oxygen exposure that harms the vape juice quality.
The best practice is to check with your manufacturer on the proper storage conditions for their vape juice products. Most e-liquid bottles offer instructions, such as the ideal storage temperature to aim for.
Commonly Asked Questions About Vape Juice
To ensure you have the right knowledge to care for your vape juice properly, let’s quickly take a look at three of the most commonly asked questions about vape juice expiration:
Does Vape Juice Go Bad?
Yes, vape juice can go bad due to chemical changes, affecting taste and potency.
Key indicators of expired and degraded vape juice include a darkened liquid color, diminished nicotine effects, and muted or rancid flavors.
Can I Use Expired Vape Juice?
Using expired vape juice isn’t recommended due to potential alterations in taste and nicotine potency.
Currently, there is not enough research or definitive evidence to say whether or not expired vape juice has a negative effect on your health. However, the diminished effects of expired vape juice can cause you to hit your vape more often, which can lead to health complications due to overuse.
Your best option is to dispose of expired vape juice once changes in its color, taste, and potency occur. Spending a little extra money on a new bottle of e-liquid can vastly improve your vaping experience.
What Does Expired Vape Juice Taste Like?
The flavor changes to expired vape juice depend on the extent of the degradation.
Lightly expired vape juice may not have the most noticeable flavor changes. Most likely, you will begin to notice the flavors seem more muted or altered. This change occurs the quickest with fruity flavors but can occur in all flavors of e-liquid.
In cases of severely expired or oxidated vape juice, the flavor can begin to taste rancid. If you notice this flavor change, it is best to dispose of and replace the vape juice.
Stock Up on Quality Vape Juice from Higher Grade
Understanding vape juice expiration is pivotal for a satisfying vaping experience.
Proper storage and mindful consumption are key to maximizing its shelf life and enjoying the flavors to their fullest. Always pay attention to factors like your e-liquid’s color, flavor, and potency, as these characteristics are major indicators of a vape juice’s quality.
For quality vape juices with long shelf lives, shop at Higher Grade.
Located in Indianapolis, Higher Grade has eight different locations offering a wide range of smoking and vaping products. Along with a broad selection of e-liquids, Higher Grade also carries CBD products, glass pipes, hookah supplies, papers, and so much more!
The Higher Grade team is highly knowledgeable and eager to help you find your ideal products. Plus, the Higher Grade team can help guide you on how to store the products you purchase correctly.
Higher Grade currently has locations in Avon, NW Indy/Zionsville, Carmel, Fishers, Logan Street, Fountain Square, and Conner Street. Plus, a new location in Anderson is coming soon!
Visit the Higher Grade website for more information and to view the different locations.