Have you been in a situation where you reach for an e-liquid and you notice it is just past the expiry date. You sit there contemplating whether it is still good or not, nothing smells funky and you wonder why e-liquids even have an expiry date when it comprises of three simple ingredients. Let’s explore this!
Like with many products, correct storage conditions are important in prolonging shelf life. Most e-liquids have expiry dates between 1-2 years. The reason for this is due to the three important components of e-liquids - PG, VG and nicotine, all having a shelf life of about 2 years when stored correctly. When these components are exposed to direct sunlight or undergo extreme heat conditions they begin to deteriorate. The flavouring may be an issue with expired e-liquid as the flavour profile will change over time and may taste “stale”. Every flavouring is however different; some can last 2 years while others can last 4 years. In short, e-liquid dates are like the best before date from a box of chocolates, treat it as a rough estimation. It is different from products like milk which have a use by expiration date due to the bacteria breaking it down and thus posing a health risk.
How to check whether your E-liquid is still good past the expiry date?
Here are some things to look out for:
- Separation: Check the juice for separation of layers. Heavier, denser components of the flavouring will naturally sink to the bottom while the lighter components will rise. Give the bottle a few vigorous shakes and see if the content mixes together. If they do not it may be time to bin it.
- Storage: This is key to prolonging shelf life, if the juice was stored in an unsuitable area such as in your car where it is in direct sunlight and heat, it will spoil faster. However, if it is stored in a suitable location such a cool dry room out of direct sunlight, it may still be okay.
- Smell: Similar to off food giving off funky smells, liquids past its prime may smell odd or different. Give it a quick whiff and if it smells drastically different it may be an indication to bin it.
- Colour: Most juices take on a yellow hue or get darker with time, if the colour change is drastic from what it was past its steeping point, then it may have spoiled.
Note: Nicotine degrades considerably faster than the PG and VG components of the liquid, hence e-liquids without nicotine have a longer shelf life than liquids with it. For nicotine e-juice, this just means a 9mg juice will be less potent and may feel like 6mg when vaping past its expiry.
In Australia there is currently no law requiring e-liquids to have expiration dates, however all the liquids we stock have expiration dates, this is so we can abide by our strict quality control rules which in turn help customers make more informed decisions.