With lots of products – including food and beverages – the expiry date is more of a legal measure than a fact. This means you can still use the product safely but you can’t sue anyone if it isn’t effective. That said, does vape juice expire? How long does vape juice last? It’s oil-based so it probably stays fresh longer than you’d think, but let’s look closer into the details.
Does Vape Juice Go Bad?
Vape juice can last up to two years if you store it carefully. And if it’s infused with cannabis for a weed cart, vape juice still lasts a year or two. E-juice is typically an oily mixture of PG (polypropylene glycol), VG (vegetable glycerine), and optional nicotine with added flavor. It sometimes includes preservatives, but if you make it yourself, it’s unlikely to have additives.
Whether you brewed the batch at home or bought it at the vape store, be clear about dates. It should have a manufacture date and an expiry date. It can also have a shipping date, and you can check your receipt for your purchase date. This helps you accurately calculate freshness since the e-liquid may have sat in the store for years or spent months stuck in cargo crates.
How Long Does Vape Juice Last?
Oil can be used to add flavor to food because it carries spices beautifully. It can also be a preservative because it doesn’t mix well with water so it can deter the micro-organisms that need water to survive. So in the context of oil-based e-liquid, how long does vape juice last? Vape juice can survive for 12 to 24 months if it has alkaloids as part of its structural formula.
This is because alkaloids can function as antimicrobials and antifungals so they preserve the e-liquid. They help protect the e-juice from contaminants that might make it go bad. Some of the other ingredients in e-juice are more functional. For example, Acetyl Pyrazine is used in nicotine vapes to enhance the tobacco notes while Beta-Damascenone is for the rose scent.
|Characteristics of Old Vape Juice
|Possible Causes for These Issues
|The juice looks darker.
|It got oxidized by excess exposure to air.
|The vape juice tastes like pepper.
|The nicotine is too old.
|The e-liquid has distinctly visible layers.
|The ingredients are permanently separated.
|The e-juice smells weird.
|The coil is burned or the wick is tainted.
|The clouds are very small.
|E-juice is too old or you need more power.
|The battery charges slowly and runs out faster.
|You may need a newer battery.
|The smell and flavor are much weaker.
|Your vape juice may be too old.
As we said earlier, store-bought vape juice has to account for shipping time, storage in the warehouse, and duration in the stock room. You also have to consider how long the e-juice sat in the factory before it was loaded onto delivery trucks. But if you’re making the vape juice yourself, pay equal attention to the expiry dates on your PG, VG, and nicotine supplies.
Check the freshness of your flavorings as well, since some degrade faster than others. For vape carts, the material can affect how long your vape juice lasts. Plastic carts are cheaper, but ceramic, glass, stainless steel, or silicone vape carts are better at preserving your e-liquid and keeping out contaminants. Also, the expiry dates on disposables may refer to battery life.
11 Tips to Tell if Vape Juice Has Gone Bad
We hinted at battery power above. Just like smartphones and laptops, electronic batteries aren’t immortal. If they sit too long unused, they can stop firing and won’t hold their charge effectively. So the expiry date on your disposable vape includes information on how long the vape battery stays viable. This also covers the coil or oven on your cart since it degrades too.
This means details on vape juice going bad aren’t limited to the juice itself. They overlap with other vape pen components like battery performance and wick efficiency. Consider how the factors interact when you’re gauging whether your vape juice has gone bad. But when you’re under pressure, you need to know at a glance. So how can you tell if vape juice has expired?
- The most obvious sign is that the expiration date on the bottle has passed.
- Its consistency might change so it could get notably thicker or more watery.
- If the e-juice gets thinner, it could start to leak out of the pen.
- The color of the e-juice will be affected, often getting dark and murky.
- The smell and flavor changes. It may seem like it’s been diluted, or taste peppery.
- As the emulsifier breaks down, you might see distinct layers of the ingredients.
- These individual fluids (PG, VG, etc.) stay visibly separate even after shaking.
- When you exhale, the plumes will be notably thinner and less aromatic.
- The battery may stop working properly, charge slower, and discharge faster.
- If the wick disintegrates or gets less absorbent, the vape juice may be unusable.
- A burned or rusty coil may also indicate sub-par or over-extended e-juice.
As we’ve explained above, lots of other factors come into play when you’re determining whether your vape juice is still good to use. So don’t just look at the e-liquid itself. Inspect your vape pens, mods, batteries, and containers to see if any spill-over effects might show some issues with your e-liquid. After all, a bad battery, coil, or wick can contaminate e-juice.
11 Tips to Store Vape Juice
What can you do to extend the shelf life of your e-liquid? Use these vape juice storage tips.
- Store it out of direct sunlight to avoid ultraviolet damage.
- The storage spot should be cool as well since heat can disperse the ingredients.
- Lockable drawers are better, to protect it from little hands that may waste it.
- If the vape juice is largely unbothered, it can steep longer and infuse its flavors.
- A cabinet that isn’t opened often reduces exposure to light, heat, and disturbance.
- Check that your vape juice bottles are screwed tight to keep out any air.
- But don’t overdo it since you may wear down the threads or split the cap open.
- Keep your e-juice in its original bottle since transferring it introduces air.
- If you’re making large batches, store them in dose-sized bottles to avoid over-handling.
- If possible, use well-labeled dark or tinted bottles to keep light out of your e-liquid.
- When you do open the bottle, be quick to prevent extended exposure and oxidation.
Both PG and VG have preservative properties, so e-juice lasts a lot longer than carrier oils.
The Risk of Consuming Expired Vape Juice
Most products have an ED (expiry date) and PCD (preferred consumption date). The PCD is sometimes listed as ‘sell by’ or ‘best before’ while the ED is more explicit. If you use products past these dates, they may have toxic micro-organisms that can make you ill. But this mostly applies to food products, beverages, and/or beauty products that go directly onto your skin.
In the case of vape juice, there’s no health risk from using it after its PCD or ED. It won’t be as enjoyable because the taste and scent may have faded away and the clouds will be much smaller. The e-juice might also get thinner or thicker so it won’t vaporize effectively and this could damage your vape pen or vape mod. But it doesn’t cause any ailments or side effects.
The main risk of consuming expired vape juice is it will annoy you, smell weird, taste bad, and maybe mess with your vaping equipment. But it won’t harm you in any way. Also, if it’s a nicotine vape or a weed vape, the e-liquid won’t be as potent so the buzz and/or the high will be significantly diminished. This can embarrass you in social settings and waste your money.
Can You Freeze Vape Juice?
If your vape juice has a distinct flavor like California Cherry, menthol, or vanilla custard, it’s easy to tell when it starts to smell off or taste different. But for cocktails or ambient variants like Havana Beach or French Dude, it’s not as clear that your vape juice has gone bad. That said, freezing makes most things last longer, and since vape juice is oil-based, it’s an option.
With fruits and food items, freezing changes the texture because the water content makes it mushy or pulpy once it thaws. But the production process of vape juice ensures components don’t separate when frozen (though they might once the juice goes bad). Besides, you can give the bottle or cartridge a firm shake and thaw it slowly at room temperature to avoid this.
The taste might change a little after freezing, but shaking the canister will re-infuse flavors so it should be fine. To freeze your vape juice, put the bottle or cart in a vacuum-sealed bag. You can also use a ziplock bag, but force out as much air as possible to prevent condensation. Label it with the date it went into the freezer and set the lowest temperature or use dry ice.
Ideally, use a freezer shelf that isn’t opened often because every time you do, it exposes the vape juice to light and warmth. This could prevent the e-liquid from freezing evenly, which could ruin its consistency. Depending on the brand and ingredients, your e-juice might not necessarily freeze solid. It may just thicken into a gel-like consistency so leave it there longer.
What to Do With Expired E-Juice
You can safely use vape juice a year or two after it’s manufactured. And when you’re checking whether vape juice has expired, you have to account for the production date, shipping time, and how long it stayed at the store before you bought it. But even if your e-liquid goes bad, it won’t hurt you. It will just smell off, taste weird, give flimsy puffs, and be a lot less satisfying.