If you've been vaping for some time, or just starting out, you may not completely understand e-liquids, the ingredients that make them, how to store them, or if they actually expire. If you've got concerns about your vape juice, then rest assured we cover everything you need to know within this guide.
With complete guidance on both e-liquids and disposable vapes, with practical tips to prolong the lifespan and flavour of your vape juice, this guide will offer insightful information to improve your vaping experience whilst potentially saving money in the long run.
Summary: E-liquid expiration dates are typically two years from manufacture. No evidence highlights any dangers of vaping expired e-liquid, although it may not taste as good if out of date. Signs of expiration include degraded taste, change in smell, a darker colour, and separation of ingredients. Extend vape juice lifespan by storing in a dark, cool place until using.
Does e-liquid have an expiration date?
You may have already noticed expiry dates on e-liquid bottles or boxes, but what does this date actually mean? E-liquid manufacturers provide expiry dates or best before dates to highlight when their products are at their best. Although it is still plausible to vape expired e-liquids, we advise reading through this guide to gain a greater understanding of e-liquids and what happens when they surpass their expiration date.
Do disposable vapes expire?
Similar to e-liquid, disposable vapes may also provide expiry dates which will be visible on any outer packaging. The reason that manufacturers include this date is due to disposable devices containing e-liquid built in. To ensure that you get the best vaping experience from disposables, we advise vaping these within the date provided.
Although it may be fine to vape expired disposable vapes, we advise reading further through this guide to understand e-liquids and there ingredients. By having a greater understanding of vape juice in general, you will have greater understanding to make your own informed decisions when it comes to vaping expired e-liquids or disposable vapes.
What are the regulations on e-liquid expiration?
As it stands, there are no set regulations with regard to expiration dates on e-liquids or disposable vaping products. With this in mind, manufacturers tend to provide these dates two years after the manufacturing date in general. By providing expiry dates, manufacturers aim to ensure that their products are consumed within a reasonable time frame and maintain their quality.
Can you vape out of date vape juice?
Like with many other expiration dates, the date on e-liquid is to be used as a general guide. If you have e-liquid that has reached the date of expiration, it does not immediately turn the juice bad or make it dangerous to vape.
Over time, e-liquid will begin to degrade. With most manufacturers providing an expiry date two years after manufacture, there's a long shelf life of e-liquids before it begins to degrade.
Although we don't advise vaping e-liquid past its expiry date, there is no current evidence that it is dangerous to do so, however the flavour and vapour production may be reduced, when compared to fresh e-liquids.
Can you vape expired disposable vapes?
Much like e-liquids, disposable vapes may also provide expiry dates due to them containing vape juice already built into the device. For this reason, you may often find expiration dates on disposable vape packaging, similar to that on e-liquid bottles and boxes.
Because expiry dates are solely provided for the e-liquid contained within a disposable, the same guidance applies for expired disposable vapes as provided for e-liquids. As long as your disposable is in original air tight packaging, it should still be safe to vape, although like vape juice, you may notice the flavour is not as good, or it may not last as long overall.
How to correctly store e-liquid
As discussed, e-liquid has a rather long shelf life from the date of manufacture, however like other perishable items, they should be stored correctly to maintain or extend their lifespan. Below we highlight the main things to avoid when storing your e-liquid, with both short and long term storage guidance to make your vape juice last the test of time.
What to avoid when storing e-liquid
There are three main culprits which can speed up how quickly your e-liquid will degrade; heat, light and air. Extended heat exposure can break down the ingredients found within vape juice, causing them to degrade much quicker and expire your e-liquid quicker. For this reason, we advise storing any vape juice out of direct sunlight, in a cooler environment.
In addition to heat, both light and air can damage e-liquid due to oxidation. The most visible sign of this happening is if the change in colour, mostly a darker and browner colour overall. Although you will open your e-liquid container, we advise not keeping your bottle open longer than you need whilst once again ensuring that you store away from direct sunlight.
What happens if I vape expired e-liquid?
Although there is no current evidence which point to any negative health impacts from vaping out of date e-liquid, you may notice changes once it expires. For the most part, the taste may dissipate and become less flavourful than what you are used to, this is generally down to the ingredients within the vape juice breaking down over time.
In addition to possible change in smell and colour, the nicotine in expired e-liquid may also begin to break down, this would mean that you are not getting the same level of nicotine as originally manufactured. If you are worried about vaping expired vape juice, then there are no direct issues to be worried about, however to ensure you get the best vaping experience, vape e-liquids that are within the date displayed on the bottle or packaging.
How long does e-liquid last?
You may be surprised to learn that the lifespan of e-liquid can vary depending on the ingredients. There are two main ingredients within vape juice, these are Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerine (VG), which both have different properties within e-liquid. If you're not already sure about the differences, be sure to check out our VG vs PG in e-liquid guide.
Propylene glycol will naturally prevent degradation over time, which should provide a longer shelf life when compared to VG e-liquids. With this said, this will also come down to the correct storage of the e-liquid to ensure that it will last.
Unlike vegetable glycerine, VG does not have any natural prevention when it comes to degrading over time. With this said however, it does not mean that e-liquids containing a higher VG ratio will not last until the expiration date. Once again, if correct storage is carried out, you should have a much greater chance of making your VG e-liquid last the test of time.
How long does e-liquid last once opened?
When it comes to e-liquid that has already been opened, there is no definitive answer to how long it will last, apart from it degrading quicker than sealed vape juice. You may notice that e-liquid that has been opened will begin to turn darker much quicker due to air being within the bottle.
How long does nicotine liquid last?
Nicotine liquid either most commonly uses a PG base to carry the nicotine, although in some cases this is also possible with VG too. Maintaining the same general properties as vape juice, liquid nicotine general will last as long as e-liquid. Considering that correct storage and handling has taken place, this should be around two years from the date of manufacturing.
Why does e-liquid turn brown?
There are a few causes that can turn your e-liquid into a browner or darker colour than to what you originally purchased. If you're concerned about the colour of your vape juice, this is generally just down to the e-liquid degrading or due to vaping with an older coil. Either way, we highlight below the possible reasons your e-liquid has changed colour, and how to prevent it from happening in the future.
E-liquid discoloured in the bottle
For the most part, e-liquid will darken due to a chemical reaction called oxidation. This is a normal process which can be expected and is often seen with other liquids such as alcohol. When it comes to e-liquids, the colour may become darker if there is a greater nicotine strength within.
As discussed earlier, darkening can also occur when your e-liquid is exposed to light, heat and air. If you ensure that you store your vape juice correctly, the only real reason for the darkening of your e-liquid will be down to general oxidation, which is nothing to worry about.
E-liquid discoloured in a pod or tank
When it comes to your e-liquid darkening whilst in your vape pod or tank, there can be a different reasoning. Alongside oxidation happening much quicker once your e-liquid is in a device, darker vape juice can also be due to an older coil.
Because e-liquids are created differently, they can contain different levels of artificial sweeteners and sugars. As you heat the coil to vapourise the e-liquid, these sweeteners or sugar will begin to caramelise and stick to the coil and cotton. After vaping on the same coil for some time, this will result in a dark and gunky coil that will begin to soak into the e-liquid making it darker overall.
How to prevent e-liquid darkening
By ensuring that you store your e-liquid correctly, whilst changing your coil regularly when it begins to burn you will prolong the lifespan of your vape juice both when in the bottle or inside your device. Please note that darkening of e-liquid will happen over a longer period time due to oxidation which is a normal process not to worry about.
How to dispose expired e-liquid
If there comes a time when you want to dispose of any expired e-liquid, we strongly advise on recycling any bottles or containers to help minimise your impact on the environment. Most importantly you should not directly throw away e-liquid as it can pose a risk to the environment and wildlife.
E-liquid bottles should be recycled in your household waste, however be sure to clean out any remaining vape juice before recycling. If you have a considerable amount of e-liquid you wish to dispose of, we'd first advise checking with any friends or family who might vape and want it from you. If not, you can pour older unwanted e-liquid into an absorbent material, such as sawdust, wood chippings or cat litter. Once soaked, place this into your normal waste as unfortunately this part is non-recyclable.
Recycle disposable vapes
When it comes to any expired disposable vapes you want to dispose of, we provide similar guidance as to older e-liquid, however the recycling of disposables differs significantly. Due to containing numerous components, disposable vapes can be difficult to recycle at home. If you are comfortable doing so, the best way to recycle is to separate the metal, plastic and cotton components to individually recycle each component separately at home.
If you are unsure on how to separate a disposable vape for recycling, or not comfortable doing so, we advise returning them to where you purchased them from for them to recycle under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive. Here at Royal Flush Vape work alongside Green Wing Project to ensure that offer a simple and safe recycling point for used or unwanted disposable vapes, whilst adhering to WEEE regulations.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Although e-liquid generally has an expiry date two years after manufacture, your e-liquid may last much longer than this date. Signs of expired e-liquid include degraded taste, change in smell, a darker colour and separation of ingredients. If your vape juice seems fine, then you may be still okay vaping it.
Generally speaking, e-liquid that is within its expiration date should be safe to consume. E-liquid may become slightly darker over time with a slight yellow/orange colour, or in some cases a darker brown. Considering you are vaping e-liquid that is within date and does not appear a dark colour, it should be safe to vape.
Although e-liquid may become darker over time, if your vape juice begins to appear cloudy, milky or frothy then there is a much stronger possibility of it reaching a degrading point of no return and should be avoided.
The majority of e-liquids provide an expiration date which is either located on the bottle or outer packaging. The first indication that your vape juice has expired is once it has surpassed this date. However this does not generally mean that it has become bad. Check out for other signs such as a milky or frothy consistency that would highlight that your e-liquid has turned bad.
E-liquid manufacturers generally provide an expiry date for when their product is at its best. Although when reaching this date, it does not directly mean that the e-liquid has become bad and should be avoided. Always use your own judgement like with anything perishable.
Elf Bar are provided with a shelf life of up to two years from the date of manufacture. Considering that the battery has not died at this point, it may still be safe to vape, as long as it has been stored correctly within its sealed packaging.
Lost Mary disposable vapes provide a shelf life of up to two years from the date of manufacture. As long as the battery is not dead by this point, and has been stored correctly within its original sealed packaging, it may still be safe to vape.
Elf Bar disposable e-cigarettes offer a two year lifespan from the date of manufacture. As long as they are within their original packaging and unopened, they should last this time if not longer.
A disposable vape battery may not last the general two year expiration date from manufature. If the battery is working once expired, as long as the device was opened recently from its original packaging, it should still be safe to vape.
E-liquids provide a two year expiry date on average, from the date of manufature. However, this also depends on how the vape juice has been stored. Considering that the liquid has been stored correctly, out of direct sunlight in a cooler environment, e-liquid can last much longer than this two year expiration window.
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