Does Candle Fragrance Oil Expire? (Fragrance Shelf Life)

If you have just started making candle for yourself or as a startup business you are likely to have a ton of questions, I know I did when I started out. One of those questions was, does candle fragrance oil expire?

I wanted to know this because it cost quite a bit of money to bulk buy my fragrances for my business and at first the orders were not really pouring. It was more of a trickle if I am totally honest.

So it made sense that I was a little worried that my expensive bottles of fragrance oil may expire before I have chance to use it. So with that in mind this article is going to be about fragrance oil and if it actually expires.

A photo of my fragrance oil bottle showing expiry dates
Here are a few of my fragrance oil bottles. I make sure they last a long time by keeping them cool and out of direct light.

Does fragrance oil expire?

let’s just jump straight into the main question, it’s what you came here for.

So does candle fragrance oil expire or have a shelf life?

The average shelf life of candle fragrance oil before it expires is roughly 1 year. Many factors can influence this amount of time though such as the natural ingredients used in the fragrance oil, if the container has been opened and even the storage conditions that you keep your bottle of fragrance oils in.

So that was the short answer. In the rest of this guide I want to expand a little bit on this and also give you some tips that I have learnt to help you keep your fragrance oil fresher for longer.

What cause candle fragrance oil to expire?

I would like to now explain what causes your candle fragrance oil to turn bad anyway, it seems weird that something like fragrance oil can expire.

The natural ingredients

Candle fragrance oil is made up of many different ingredients to help to achieve that aroma that you love.

Quite a few of these ingredients are actually synthetic and generally these ingredients do not expire, well at least for not a very long time. However most fragrance oils also contain quite a few natural ingredients as well.

Like most natural ingredients the ones in fragrance oil expire and have a shelf life, just as they do in food stuffs.

Heat and light

Now heat and light don’t particularly cause the fragrance oil to expire, the natural ingredients do that all by themselves. However what heat and direct light are is an accelerant causing the whole process to speed up exponentially.

Outside air

When you get your new bottle of candle fragrance oil you will probably price that it is in a sealed bottle or container. This is because exposure to the air can cause your fragrance oil to have a shorted shelf life. It allows the scent within to slowly dissipate and also can cause the natural ingredients to spoil.

How to stop your candle fragrance oil from expiring prematurely.

Your bottles of fragrance oil are not cheap to replace so it’s vital that you store them correctly so that they last as long as possible before expiring.

So here are some of my favourite tips that I use to keep mine fresh for when I need to use them.

Store in a cool dark place

Think of it the way you do with food. Store your candle fragrance oil somewhere cool and in a dark or shaded place. The back of a cupboard out of reach of children would be the ideal place.

Remember that direct light and heat are the contributing factors in speeding up the spoiling of your oils. So keep them out of the heat and keep them out of the direct sunlight.

Keep them sealed

With air being one of the main contributors to candle fragrance oils expiring and spoiling it is very important that you keep your bottles sealed.

Any decent manufacturer of fragrance oils will sell their products in resealable bottle whether they are made from glass or plastic. Make sure to tighten your screw cap on your bottle fully after use to stop the outside air from getting in.

For maximum effectiveness I do not open my fragrance bottles up until right when I am going to use them.


I really hope you have enjoyed reading this article and learnt something new from it.

The takeaway from it all is that candle fragrance oils contain natural ingredients and these will have an expiry date before they spoil and the general rule of thumb is that this period is usually a year. Although most decent manufacturers will actually print the expiration date onto the bottles label so you will know an exact date.

If you store your fragrance oil bottles correctly you should find that they stay fresh and unspoiled for longer. So make sure to keep them out of reach of children in a cool and dark cupboard for when you need them next.

Andrew Scents and Aroma