If it’s been a while since you’ve vaped, or you’ve got a few e liquids on the go at once, you may wonder why your favourite looks a bit off-kilter. Maybe it’s gone cloudy, watery, brown or the taste just isn’t quite right? In this blog post, we explain whether e liquids are still safe to use in these states and answer common questions like, can e liquids expire?
How Long Should E Liquid Last?
There are many factors which could affect how long your e liquid lasts including the quality of Propylene Glycol (PG), Vegetable Glycerin (VG) or nicotine it contains, the flavours and the ratios these are all mixed at.
There is no regulated expiration date for e liquids, however, we would normally expect high quality e liquids from brands like Vsavi, Xeo or V2 to stay in excellent condition for up to two years. However, if you buy a very cheap e liquid, it’s likely that you’ll notice the deterioration of your liquid much sooner.
Why Else E Liquids Expire
E juice expiration dates should be clearly labelled on all bottles but there may be other reasons why liquids go off sooner than expected:
If e juices get too warm or too cold, they can expire. Direct sunlight and extreme heat will also make your e juice go bad. To keep e liquids at their optimum, they should be stored in a dark and cool place, preferably at room temperature.
You should make sure you keep your e juices are kept sealed. If oxygen can get into the bottle, then there’s a much higher chance of a drop in nicotine or the e liquid going sour. Ensure that the lid is screwed on tightly when not in use and don't leave the lid off for extended periods of time.
What is Wrong With My E Liquid?
There are a few ways that an e liquid can start to deteriorate and we share a few of them here. It may be that the e liquid turns a funny colour - perhaps cloudy or brown, or that it starts to separate, thin out or collect sediment:
change in consistency
An e liquid can change from its original consistency when it has expired. If you’ve noticed that your e liquid appears to have clumps in it, it could be that it was manufactured in the colder months and shipped to a warmer climate. You may also notice a change in the colour - or clarity and this is due to steeping. When e liquid has turned like this, you can try running it under hot water and shaking it. Separation can sometimes be detected by the presence of sediment which doesn’t dissolve or recombine with the liquid when shaken.
My E Liquid Turned Brown
You may notice that your e liquid has turned brown. This can be due to the high content of sweetener if it’s a fruit flavour or contains a lot of VG. If you left fruit for some time - let’s take a banana for example - it soon oxidises and becomes darker. This is very similar to what happens with e liquid. The nicotine in the e liquid breaks down with heat or sunlight and the oxygen in the bottle can cause a chemical reaction between it and the liquid. This can also cause the e liquid to turn a dark shade and it may give off a distinctly unpleasant peppery taste.
A drop in nicotine
If it smells ok, e liquid is usually fine to use. But, the longer you leave it, the less nicotine will be in there and you’ll find yourself vaping more to compensate for being unable to draw a decent hit. This is one of the key signs that your e liquid has expired.
Unusual Taste or Smell
Flavours can change dramatically when an e liquid has gone off. Citrus or menthol tones can start to taste especially harsh, ‘off’ or may turn the liquid cloudy. You may see tinted oil resting on top of the liquid and this is the flavouring. A peppery taste is a good way of knowing that an e liquid is past its best.
You probably know how much you loved the smell of your favourite e liquid flavour when you bought it, so would notice if it was unusual. If yours smells odd or different, we would always recommend throwing it away.
Is it Safe to Use Expired Vape Juice?
While there isn’t a great deal of evidence to support the safety of vaping expired e juice, it is recommended that you don't due to the potential for bad side effects and ruining your e cigarette. As you have seen, e juices can expire - especially cheap e liquids - but can last much longer if stored correctly.
Whilst e liquid is unlikely to cause any serious harm, especially when compared to the chemicals found in traditional cigarettes, if you’re not sure about the look, smell or taste of your vape juice, the best solution is to throw it away. If shaking the juice does not properly redistribute any clumps or sediment lingering in the bottle, throw out the juice, as it is likely to taste unpleasant, even if still safe.