If you’ve been vaping for any period of time, you probably have a couple of bottles of vape juice sitting around that you haven’t used in a while. If you’re in a bind, whether that’s waiting for more vape juice to come in the mail or not wanting to make a trip to your local vape shop, you’ve probably considered using some of that old ejuice. Eyeing that bottle, you have probably wondered how long does vape juice last anyway?
There are a few things to consider before using that bottle that has been sitting on your shelf. We’ll go over everything you need to know about how long vape juice lasts, what contributes to longer vape juice life, and when you should chuck those old bottles of ejuice.
What Are The Ingredients in Vape Juice?
Vape juice is a relatively simple solution. All vape juice is made up of vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, and flavoring. If you use anything other than 0mg vape juice, it will also contain nicotine (freebase for traditional and nicotine salts for pod systems).
Vegetable glycerin is most commonly made from either palm plants or soy plants. It is colorless, odorless, and slightly sweet tasting with a viscous consistency and completely clear. In the vape industry, vegetable glycerin is typically abbreviated “VG” for ease of use. VG is used in vape juice because, when heated, it creates the “vape clouds” associated with vaping. Because glycerol (another name for vegetable glycerin) is a reasonably stable molecule and has antimicrobial and antiviral properties, it makes an excellent carrier liquid for vape juice. VG is also used in the food industry as a mild sweetener and pharmaceuticals and personal care products.
Propylene glycol is considered an organic compound in chemistry because of its carbon attributes. As with VG, propylene glycol is also colorless, odorless, slightly sweet-tasting, and also has mild antimicrobial properties. Propylene glycol (abbreviated PG) is used in vape liquid as a carrier for flavoring and nicotine due to its ability to bind to a broad spectrum of other chemicals. PG is also used in the food industry, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and many others and is generally recognized as safe by the FDA.
The flavoring used in vapor products is also used to flavor candy, ice cream, and other confectionaries throughout the food industry. These flavorings can be naturally derived or synthetically made to create the flavor that is desired. Most vapor companies use a combination of both types to get the profile they’re looking for in their products.
Nicotine in Vape Juice
VG, PG, and flavoring are all very stable, and the only thing you can expect from old vape juice with just these ingredients is muted flavor. However, nicotine does degrade the older it gets. This doesn’t necessarily mean that vaping old ejuice is dangerous, but it won’t be pleasant.
When nicotine degrades, it goes through a process called “oxidation,” which changes the flavor into something more bitter and makes the nicotine not as potent. Nicotine also tends to react with flavorings making the vape juice darker in higher concentrations and as it ages. A 3mg bottle of vape juice is relatively clear (depending on the flavoring used), while higher mg concentrations will be darker. Higher milligram concentration will also turn darker faster. If you've ever had to refill a JUUL pod that is older, you know the color.
When To Throw-Out A Bottle of Vape Juice
There are a few things you need to consider in determining how long vape juice lasts. In perfect conditions, vape juice will last years. Yes, years. So, what are the ideal conditions? If you know you’re not going to vape a bottle of ejuice for a while (maybe you’ve stocked up from an ejuice bundle), the best way to make sure your vape juice is suitable for a very long time is to stick it in the refrigerator or freezer. By putting your vape juice in a cool dark location for storage, like your refrigerator, you’re slowing down the nicotine’s oxidation process. This is only necessary if you’re storing your vape juice for a very long time (over a year).
Most vapers won’t need to put their bottle of vape juice in the refrigerator, as just keeping it in a cool dark location is enough. As long as your home is generally cool and you don’t have your ejuice bottles sitting on the windowsill, your vape juice should last a fair amount of time without anything extra necessary. Under normal circumstances, a bottle of ejuice should last for 18 months. This can vary slightly depending on the nicotine concentration of your ejuice, with higher nicotine levels needing a bit more care.
Signs of Expired Vape Juice
If you’re not sure if that bottle of ejuice is good to vape, there are a few things you can look out for to make sure. The first is color. If your vape juice is very dark and it didn’t start that way, it’s probably time to toss it in the bin. Any ejuice with nicotine will change color over time but excessive color change good sign it's on it's way out. Another sign is if you open the bottle and it has a weak aroma, or it smells slightly bitter, this is a sign that it won’t be very good to vape either.
In general, you won’t be harmed by vaping expired vape juice, but the experience won’t be enjoyable. Instead of chancing an old bottle of ejuice that has been sitting out for a while, it’s best to get a fresh bottle. You wouldn’t want to ruin a new coil or experience the disappointment of vaping one of your favorite flavors just to find out that it has lost its luster with time.