Skip to content

How Will I Know if My E-Juice Has Gone Bad?


Time to read 6 min

Wondering how long you can keep vape juices for before they go rotten? We are here to help explain all your vaping solutions.

Vape juice isn’t something you think about going ‘off’. You think you can buy it, stash it in a drawer, and still use it two or three years later when you run out of your favourite product and are looking for something to use until your new order arrives. Unfortunately, one of the biggest vape juice myths is that it lasts forever. It might still be a full 10ml in your cupboard, but the quality, integrity, and texture of the material that makes it up will change over time.

When a vape, juice starts to break down, you experience all manner of problems. It can taste sour or acrid, you can flood the wick with it if it’s too liquid, you might even burn it and breathe in the popped vapours that nobody wants to taste. Don’t take the risk with old vape juices. Instead, read our helpful guide below and be prepared to spot when your e-liquid has gone bad.

The Shelf Life of E-Juices

Just like a food product, a vape juice has a shelf life. This shelf life is marked on the bottle somewhere, usually on the cap or base. This date is the best before end date, meaning that you should use the product before this date occurs. The date is often printed in ink and this can lead to problems identifying the BBE. When we carry e-liquid bottles in pockets or bags, we might erode the ink and be left dazed and confused.

How long do vape liquids last?

Let’s discuss how long a vape juice should last you, even if you have worn away the best before stamp.

Manufacturers suggest that vape juice should last between one and two years from the date that it was produced. The chemical reagents used to create the juice will start to break down thereafter, giving you an unpleasant vaping experience. Remember, vaping is up to 95% less harmful than cigarette smoking, but these studies were conducted using vape juice which was still in date. Vaping old juice is entering into a scientific grey area we should all avoid.

What active ingredients ‘go off’ in E-liquid?

Glycerine and glycol have a long shelf life if they are not exposed to air. When you open a vape product, these two chemicals start to break down. They usually last up to 18 months from the date of bottling. Different vape juices use different flavourings, some of which are natural and some aren’t. The natural flavourings will go off sooner than the chemically made ones.

What happens if I smoke out of date e-liquid?

Old nicotine products are said to give off a rotten taste and smell, as described by Reddit users in this thread on vaping old products. The flavours may become stale, so you don’t taste the flavours any longer, you only taste the glycol or glycerine ingredients. This taste bland and a little acrid, so you would have a flavourless smoke with a bitter aftertaste.

There’s no guarantee that a vape juice that’s gone off won’t pop and fizzle, sending liquid into the mouthpiece or heated liquid into your mouth. It can also be hazardous to heat a product that has gone off, since we don’t know how stable it is.

What are the Other Signs that my E-Juice Has Gone Bad?

If you bought a bottle and it’s been on the shelf for some time, you may have worn away the writing which tells you about the best before end date. In this instance, there are other methods you can use to spot whether an E-juice is still usable, or whether it needs to go in the bin.

If you need to discern the usability of a vape juice in your home, use the following advice to see if the product has gone off or not. Don’t forget to check out these vape juices that we currently have on offer, should you need a new taste to wrap your lips around.

Some of the signs your vape juice have gone bad are as follows.

Change in Thickness

Glycol or glycerine that has been exposed to the air for too long can get a milky consistency. It will look cloudy and will become thicker. The substances within your vape juice will congeal over time, leaving you with a gloopy mixture that might be hard to remove from the bottle.

Look out for separation of the vape liquid, too. If you get layers of sediment on top, bottom, or through the middle, don’t use it. If it has layers of oil in it, don’t use it. If you are making your own e-liquids, too thick or too thin is also a bad idea.

Change in Smell

When the e-liquid has been open for a long time, the flavours lose their potency. The flavour will fade to the taste of the VG or PG used to make the juice. The nicotine is longer lasting, with some reports saying it can last 20 years unsmoked but be eliminated from the human body in as little as two hours.

When your e-liquid smells like nothing, it is a sign the flavours are no longer in date. If you still choose to vape the liquid, you will have a bland smoke that tastes like new car smell.

Change in Colour

If your vape juice starts to appear cloudy, this is a sign that it has gone bad. Cloudy, milky, or frothy vape juices have been exposed to the air for too long, often causing particles of dust to get into the bottle and infect the juice. If the colour was once vibrant and is now much lighter, it is a sign that the ingredients that gave the e-liquid its fulsome colour have gone off. Ideally, the vape liquid should be the same colour as when you bought it and should not be separating out into layers of colour.

Floating Debris

If your vape juice has little floating particles inside the bottle, this is a sign that the liquid has been cross-contaminated. Vape juice is transparent and you should be able to see that it is smooth all the way through. It has a silken texture, and through it comes in a mix of colours it is always see-through. If your vape liquid has particles of dust, dirt, or anything else in it, you should throw out the bottle and start again.

How to Store E-Liquid Properly?

Of course, all this potential nastiness could be avoided if you simply store your e-juice in the right way to begin with. Storing vape juices is like storing food. If you leave it out in the sun or rain, it will eventually rot away. If you leave it somewhere too hot or too cold, it will either freeze or taste warmed and nasty. Either way, you are in for a shock when you fill your vape device tank.

Ideally, you should store vape juice in a cool, dark place. Think a cupboard that is not in direct sunlight, or a bathroom cabinet. Keep it away from heat sources as this will start to heat it, releasing the goodness of the vapour within.

Should I refrigerate my vape juice?

It is not advisable to place your e-liquid in the refrigerator. The fridge is cool and dark but it will cool the liquid to beyond room temperature. This means your vaping device must work harder to get the same effect as usual.

How long should I keep my vape juice once open?

You can keep vape juice for 18 months to 2 years once you have opened it. However, if you notice any of the changes outlined in this article, you should throw it away and buy new vape juices. If it is cloudy, milky, or smells of nothing, it has gone off.

Where should I store e-liquids?

If you need a good hidey hole for your e-liquids, consider a bathroom cupboard or a drawer in your room. Keep the bottles upright and dispose of any which leak. Don’t keep them near a heat source as this could potentially cause them to lose flavour and strength. You can keep vape liquid anywhere that is cool and dark but avoid the freezer or refrigerator as this might affect the integrity of the nicotine product.

Need a Fresh Supply of Vape Juice?

If you performed the tests above and you found that your vape juice is overdue a date with the garbage can, you can refresh your e-juice supply with us. Our online vape shop has a physical store in Milton Keynes, where you can visit and talk to our knowledgeable clerics about vape products. You can find your new vape kits products here, choose from a variety of different flavours of 10ml e-liquids, and find everything else you need for a positive vaping experience under one roof.

We’ll be waiting. A word of advice, though. Don’t leave it until your e-liquid has turned bad to get in touch.