Vape juice is made up of several different components, including organic ingredients that can degrade or otherwise go bad after some time.
Just like most consumable products on the market, vape juices are sold with a set expiry date after which their quality is expected to drop significantly.
So, whether you make your own or order your favourite vape juice online, you’ll want to make the most out of the entire bottle before it spoils.
The question is, how long can your vape juice last?
What makes it go bad, and can expired vape juice be safely used?
Read on to know more about the shelf life of e-liquids and the factors that determine just how long they last.
Does Vape Juice Expire?
Like any other consumable product, vape juice has an expiry date. This is measured from the day the e-liquid is bottled and is determined by the specific of ingredients it contains.
E-liquids use compounds such as vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, nicotine and CBD that cannot last forever.
Certain flavourings can also have an impact on this date, depending on the specific ingredients the manufacturer has chosen which may break down faster than others.
The expiration is mainly the estimation of the time that the juice has before it loses its quality. Generally, the shelf life of most vape juices ranges between one to two years from the date that they are manufactured.
This date does assume proper storage conditions, meaning keeping your vape juice bottles upright in a cool, dark place with the lid screwed firmly on.
Though expiry is inevitable, there are several things that vapers can do to ensure that they preserve the quality of their vape juice for as long as possible.
Nicotine & CBD
Vape juices that do not have nicotine have a longer shelf life, because nicotine itself has a relatively short expiration date. E-liquids with nicotine break down much faster than most other components of an e-liquid.
If exposed to large amounts of air, there is a good chance that nicotine infused vape juices lose their potency even before their proper expiration date.
These principles also apply to CBD infused e-liquids, which degrade at a similar rate to nicotine under similar conditions.
A degraded e-liquid will often feel weaker than its actual concentration. For example, if you use 6mg of a depleted CBD vape juice, the hit you get from it might feel as though you are vaping a 3mg hit.
This may not be enough for CBD users or those vapers who prefer a more substantial throat hit.
How To Extend The Life Of Vape Juice
It should be noted that storing your vape juice for a long time does not lead to its expiration as long as it’s used within the recommended timeframe. If anything, prolonged storage has been claimed to help enhance the flavour of your vape juice.
This is known as steeping. e-liquid steeping is all about letting the vape juice side idle for several weeks to mature the flavour.
When steeping, remember to store the vape juice in the right way to prevent it from going bad. When exposed to too much heat, air, or light, the ingredients of vape juices will break down and expire much more quickly.
The correct way to store e-liquids is in dark coloured bottles in a cool, dark place, with a firm seal on the lid.
Once you have opened up a bottle of vape juice, you should remember to seal and store it as recommended.
If you have to move around with the bottles, avoid keeping them in hot places like in a car and try to ensure they are exposed to as little sunlight as often as possible.
When buying or making vape juice, determine your weekly consumption to know how much you should get. Having the right amount of e-liquid will ensure that you always use fresh flavours and quality juice without any excess going to waste.
New or low-key vapers may find that their e-liquid consumption is relatively low, in which case small bottles may be the best choice. If you regularly vape at high wattage, you may find yourself using as much as 60ml a week.
It is essential to consider your vaping habits when buying a bottle of vape juice. Knowing that you’ve got exactly the right amount of e-liquid lets you ensure that none of it goes to waste and leaves you to vape with peace of mind.
Knowing If A Vape Juice Has Expired
Factory-made e-liquids come with an expiration date printed on them. This will give you a rough idea of the e-liquid’s predicted effectiveness and provide a guide you on how long you should use it for.
If you choose to make your own vape juice at home, this date will be a little harder to determine. Although it might be tempting to make huge batches, it’s always better to only make what you can consume within a given period.
Always remember to store your vape juice properly and keep track of how old any particular batch is.
Time isn’t the only factor that lets you know your vape juice has expired. Just like food products reaching the end of their usefulness, there are A few tell-tale signs that an e-liquid is no longer.
Although not necessarily always accurate, it’s worth knowing these signs and keeping an eye out for them whenever possible.
Taste is a huge part of the vaping experience, being the central reason that many people vape in the first place. Taste is also an excellent indicator that there’s something wrong with your vape juice.
Often a stale or slightly bitter taste to an e-liquid is a sign that it has gone bad. However, it’s worth noting that certain changes in flavour can be down to an issue with the vaping device itself, most often the coil or tank.
Remain aware of any unexpected changes to your vape’s taste, but make sure its not an issue with the device before throwing your e-liquid away.
Though this doesn’t happen to all vape juices, when some vape juices expire they will start to smell a little off. Like spoilt milk, you might notice a distinct smell to a vape juice that makes it unsuitable for consumption.
An unpleasant or drastically different smell to a vape juice is a clear sign that something has gone wrong and, though rarer, is always something worth watching out for.
This is particularly important if you make your own vape juice as it can be a clear sign of contamination in your production process.
Loss Of Consistency:
Under normal circumstances a vape juice is a thick and heavy liquid. This is because of the primary ingredients used to make it, vegetable glycerine and propylene glycol.
When the vape juice goes bad these compounds can break down, causing the vape juice to lose its density and even begin to separate.
An unexpected change in the consistency of your vape juice, particularly if it persists after the bottle is shaken, is a clear sign of a degraded vape juice.
Lack Of Vapour:
As well as ensuring the consistency of an e-liquid, vegetable glycerine and propylene glycol are also responsible for producing the classic clouds of vapour seen from vaping devices.
Just as the consistency of a vape juice will change as these components break down, so too will vapour production. Degrading these compounds will result in a less dense and smaller vape cloud.
However, just like the taste of a vape juice a sudden change to vapour production can also be a technical issue with your device.
If you notice a sudden change in vapour be sure to check your device and its settings before switching to a different vape juice.
Although vaping expired juice is not particularly dangerous, it certainly will compromise your vaping experience. Nobody wants to use bad e-liquid, no matter how good it is when at full quality.
To avoid this kind of disappointments be sure to check out for any signs of expiry and discard the expired vape juice as soon as you confirm it.
How To Get Rid Of Expired Vape Juice
If your vape juice has gone bad, it is important to know how to dispose of it the right way. Dumping vape juice down the drain before diluting it is not recommended due to the CBD and nicotine content of many e-liquids.
If not diluted first, these compounds can end up in the watershed and doing significant damage to the surrounding wildlife.
Some people suggest pouring the juice in cat litter as this is extremely absorbent and helps to neutralise the effects of CBD and nicotine on wildlife. Some people even suggest using e-liquids for gardening.
Certain rodents and plant-eating insects are repelled by nicotine, so spraying diluted nicotine infused vape juice it on plants can drive these pests away. There is no conclusive proof that any e-liquid works as an effective pesticide, though many still support this notion.
If you do decide to use your old vape juice on your plants be sure to thoroughly dilute it to avoid harming both your plants and the surrounding environment.
It's always worth remembering that expiry dates on vape juices are only ever an estimation.
Predicting the rate at which vape juice degrades can be exceedingly difficult thanks to both the wide variation in content of vape juices and the many different conditions that have an effect on it.
Although the general two year rule can be applied to most vape juices, your best option is always your own senses.
Keeping an eye out for these key signs of a degraded e-liquid is the most reliable way of ensuring that your vaping experience continues to be excellent.
If you don’t handle the vape juice correctly, there is a good chance it will go bad even before the indicated expiration date. Once you have opened up a bottle, ensure that it is cap sealed and stored in the right conditions.
Most importantly, to ensure the best possible experience only ever buy quality vape juice from a reliable manufacturer. Taking care of your vape juice is just as important as tasking care of your vaping device.
In the end vaping is all about the quality of your experience, so you shouldn’t settle for anything less than the best.