DIY Essential Oil Storage: How To Keep Your Scents Potent

As fans of aromatherapy and essential oils, we love the way they smell, but we also love the way they help us with so many issues. I don’t know about you, but lavender oil is my go to anytime I burn by hand cooking because it heals the area so quickly. I also rely heavily on my tea tree oil for a number of varying reasons.

The thing is- unless you are keeping your little amber bottles in the right storage vessel and area, then it is possible they will lose their powers. To prevent that, learn how to store essential oils as well as make an amazing DIY essential oil storage area for your home.

What You Need

1 – Knowledge

6 circles written in black board using chalk connected and linked to a bulb in the center

I can sit here and write all the ways you can store your essential oils but do you know why it is imperative to do it correctly? Here are some of the general reasons.

  • Exposing your essential oils to heat can change the configuration of compounds inside
  • Heat can cause your oils to evaporate
  • Extreme heat can set some oils to start on fire
  • Oxygen can change the composition of essential oils by oxidation
  • Moisture can permeate your scents, which makes them cloudy
  • Sunlight can cause them to evaporate and can corrupt their composition

These are the reasons why you need to store them in a cool place. Essential oils are kept in dark bottles because clear containers let the sunlight in which can make them deteriorate. For the most part, keeping your oils away from heat sources, in a dark place that is typically cool in temperature would be best for their shelf life.

Some people don’t believe heat can damage these volatile compounds because most of them are extracted through steam distillation, which requires a high temperature. Since we can’t know the answer as fact unless we conduct our own experiment, I would go the “better safe than sorry” route and not risk it.

The shelf life of your non-citrus oils could last a lifetime if you store them according to the restrictions we’ve listed above.

2 – A Place

Piled up clear and empty containers

Now that we are aware of the reasons why, where is the best place in your home to store your collection of scent? Of course, this is a decision left completely up to you. Not only because we can’t possibly know the layout of everyone’s home, but only you know how you use your oils and where. Keeping it close to the area of usage is always a great idea.

I keep the bulk of my essential oils in a container in the top drawer of my long dresser. I would keep them in the bathroom as well because this is where I use them the most, but I am limited on dry, dark, cool storage areas there so I had to compromise. You need to assess your usage and available storage to make an educated decision.

Here are a couple of places you should NOT store your essential oils.

In a Cabinet Above the Stove

Heat rises. This is a fact, so anything you store above your stove is going to experience a rise in temperature from time to time. You may think the increase is small but any heat risks altering the configuration of your oils.

In a Place Where There is Constant Sunlight

We realize you know enough not to put your essential oils on a windowsill, and there are places in your home that may get more sunlight than you realize. Choose a dark room in your home opposed to one with a lot of windows. Select a drawer or cabinet that isn’t open several times throughout the day. Little tricks like this can limit the exposure to the rays.

Easy Access

While keeping all your oils in one area is a great way to stay organized, maybe you have different uses for them around your home. For example, Thieves, lemon, and tea tree oils would be a wonderful addition to the kitchen area because they make great cleaning supplies when blended correctly.

If you prefer to keep certain scents in the bedroom, some in the living room, and others in the bathroom, then you may not want to put all your oils in one basket or container. Spreading them apart may not require a canister that holds hundreds so you can go for an easier solution.

There are nice plastic organizers that fit a myriad of things, including your essential oils and the blends you create. Whether you prefer something clear or colorful, there are drawer organizers available to fit any chamber and any taste.

3 – A Container

Brown Slotted Wooden Box with Colored dots for label in a white background

I am here to tell you that putting your little bottles in a drawer somewhere isn’t going to work. I tried that and they just rolled around when I opened or closed the drawer. It was impossible to keep them straight. While you want to choose a great drawer or cabinet, you will need a receptacle of some sort to put in that area once you have more than four oils.

Types of Containers

There are all types of containers available for storage.

Slotted Wooden Box

This type of receptacle is wonderful. There are rigid little individual boxes within a box that will keep your bottles upright plus a strong wooden lid that will keep the sunlight out. With a case like this, it won’t matter how many times the drawer is opened and closed.

Those dark bottles won’t roll around and will be safe from the sun. Some wooden box options also come with tiers for an easy way to sort them by citrus, florals, coniferous, etc.

Soft Bags

Here we have some interesting and colorfully patterned options. Whether it’s decorated with flowers or polka dots, these are fun options. Some come with a plush velvet interior to keep your bottles safe and snug. A nice difference with this kind of storage case is the zipper that keeps the lid closed and secure and the handle for carrying.

Hard-Shell Case

Black hard shell case in different view and angle in a white background

If you are the same age as I am, you might remember the suitcases that had the hard-shell our parents all had. This is what I think of when I see cases like this. Your oils will definitely be safe in a case like this. The slats and the sponge insert keep the bottles from bouncing around. Our example product comes with rows for different sized oils ranging from 5 ml to 15 ml.

Travel/Small Cases

When you are a traveler, whether it’s twice a year or once a month, a true aromatherapy fan will want to bring their favorite scents and blends with them wherever they go. And while we wish we could carry them, all packing space just doesn’t allow that option.

These cases come in a variety of styles and sizes. Some of them hold a dozen scents while other holders only have enough room for one or two bottles and others even have keychain attachments. Carry-on restrictions allow 3.4 ounces of liquid, which equals 100 ml so your scents should be safe to keep as opposed to packing them in your checked luggage.

How to Choose The Right One

First, make sure the case you choose is the right size for the place of storage you chose. It would be quite aggravating if you bought something that doesn’t fit any dry storage in your home. The best way to do this is to take the dimensions of your storage space and compare it to the container you want to purchase.

Don’t Forget Labels

Different colored bottle cap stickers in white background

As our collections grow, it is important to keep some kind of organization for your little bottles of power. Otherwise, finding the right bottle will take up a great deal of your time. While most oils come with a front label, very few of them come with a cap label, which would make them easier to find. Some cases come with them while others don’t.

If you’ve ever been looking for a specific scent and had to pick up all the bottles in your collection just to find it on the last label you looked at, then you know what I mean. There are tons of sets for sale that fit specifically with Doterra or Young Living products but then there are general bottle cap stickers that will work for people like me that own scents from several different brands.

How To Create Your Own DIY Storage Ideas

A DIY carved word from a wood with tools used to do it placed in a table

Depending on where you choose to store your oils, we put together some ideas and tips for you to make your scent stockpile.

In a Drawer or Windowless Cabinet

There are some drawers we use more than one time a day and others we rarely go in. If you are lucky enough to have an empty drawer then, by all means, make it an aromatherapy drawer.

Try the Bedroom

The bulk of my oils are in a bedroom drawer where I keep extra things like nail polish and hair ties. It a drawer I go into for things I need to replenish but I don’t need every day. All of my shingles are in here, and some blends that I don’t use every day.

My dark bottles have their own carved out section, as does everything else. I only go in that drawer once a day or sometimes not at all. You can section off a drawer with small and large plastic trays for better organization.

Bathroom

Our bedrooms are not the only place with unused storage option. You can find a dark corner in the bathroom as well, which is where I keep my blends that go into my hair, the bath or shower, and even the one I use on my face after washing it. They are tucked away in a cabinet that is made of wood and only opened once a day.

They are not in a single container and I have to sift around to find the one I need, which proves the importance of organizing your oils. All you need to make this happen is to create the space for the things you love.

In Your Closet

A floating mounted wooden shelves in white background with different vases placed n it

Your mind might go right to the bedroom but some homes have ample closets and some scents that aren’t used every day or are used in many areas of the home. The important part is finding a closet that isn’t opened often and offers a cool place.

The Basement

Closets in the basement are perfect because it doesn’t get much cooler than a well of concrete in the ground with small windows. Also, you can put a nice table near that area for creating your own blends. Other supplies like amber bottles, droppers, USB diffusers, and possible candle making supplies.

On the Shelf

The tiered container we mentioned earlier would fit nicely on top of a closet shelf. You should choose a dark corner, just like the cabinet, to limit light exposure. If your closet doesn’t have a shelf, you can purchase the floating wood kind that offers boxes and organization options.

The Spare Room

If you have a room you rarely use in your home that’s designated for guests and hobbies, there may be space for your scents in there. You can choose a drawer or closet in the same fashion we’ve already discussed, or you can give them a place all their own. Large organizers are beautiful and the easy access is nice instead of always going in a drawer or closet.

If you decide on a tabletop organizer, make sure it’s in a dark corner and the shades are drawn most of the day.

At The Office: Home or Away

A man wearing black jacket working in front of the computer alone in an office

There are people who live the nine-to-five life and head to their office five days a week. And there are workers who don’t commute and do all of their work right at home. Either way, where you do your work is a place where you spend a great deal of time. Having your favorite scents on hand is nice. Some options for storage include a desk drawer or file cabinet.

In Your Car

Some people use their car or cab of a truck as an office, and they too can benefit from a whiff of lavender oil when the job gets stressful.

Glove Compartment

This is a convenient place to put a small storage container but you need to be aware of how many times a day you open it.

Back Seat Floor

If you are typically alone when traveling via car then this is a great spot. You can even get rear window shades to minimize sun. I would also recommend putting them in a travel case inside another canister for extra protection.

In the Trunk

Unless you are a salesperson who has to retrieve samples from your trunk several times a day, this is a nice area to store the oils you need. This option doesn’t offer easy access like the other two.

In Your Purse/Briefcase/Backpack

Some people commute by bus, train, subway, or another rapid transit system like the El in Chicago or the BART in San Francisco. What they can take with them is limited so putting one or two scents in a single container inside your bag is the best way to know that your oils will be available whenever you need them.

Quick Overview to Keep Your Scents Potent

Conclusion

Don’t be surprised if you have some oils in one area and some in another. We use them for so many different things and in a myriad of methods keeping them close to where we use them is always the best choice.

If you found this article helpful, please let us know in the comments section below. Share it with your aromatherapy friends so we can all store our oils to maximize their shelf life.

Check out our infographic and don’t forget to share!

Infographics DIY Essential Oil Storage For Maximizing Their Shelf Life

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