Do Essential Oils Freeze?

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In all likelihood, you are probably wondering if essential oils freeze because you’ve either tried or heard about the essential oil “freezer test”. It’s a test that has been promoted all over the Internet to check if your essential oil is pure.

Do essential oils freeze?

According to those promoting this test, pure essential oils don’t freeze.  So the premise is: place your essential oils in the freezer and if they freeze… you have impure oils.

Before we go any further, we want to thank and congratulate you for actually taking the time to investigate and find out more information before you believe everything you read online. The last thing the world needs is people believing something they read and reposting it before they have gathered all the facts, and continuing the cycle of misinformation.

As to the question do essential oils freeze? we’re going to find out. The answer might surprise you!

How did we get here?

Essential oil relaxation

While essential oils are not new and have been used for thousands of years, the recent upsurge of the wellness/spirituality movement which has embraced essential oils as an ‘essential’ component of this lifestyle, has contributed in large part to their rise in popularity over the last several years.

The wellness community is of course, not totally responsible for essential oils now being widely accepted as a medicine cabinet or pantry staple. Due to the rise in opioid addictions, a lot of people are seeking out alternate, less-addictive ways to treat certain conditions.

It would be easy to dismiss essential oils as a ‘new-age hippie’ thing or as the latest snake oil making the rounds. However, some of the medicinal properties of essential oils have been scientifically documented. And although there are some people who swear that they will cure everything, there are studies that have shown that essential oils can not only adjust your mood, induce calm and relaxation, but also help with a myriad of conditions, including anxiety, sleep deficits, and even treat certain types of fungal infections, just to name a few.

At the same time, essential oils have evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry, which has a lot of those benefiting and cashing in on its newfound popularity, wanting to keep the ball rolling. Enter… the “freezer test”.

The freezer test

The freezer test is not the first one to come along that was a supposed measure of essential oil purity. There was also the paper test, which has long been debunked. Its premise was to put a drop of essential oil on a piece of paper, and if after it dries, it leaves a ring, it’s not pure essential oil. This is not accurate.

As we grow more knowledgeable and have more access to information, most of which the average person does not completely understand, marketers have had to get more creative. Gone are the days where they can just make a completely bogus claim to promote a product when their customers, or potential customers, can simply google that information.

They’ve had to become a bit more clever to convince people that what they are saying is true.

You can’t argue with science. That’s not an opinion, it’s a statement of fact. Marketing agencies have had to up their game which has seen a lot of sciency-sounding “proof” that their product is the best.

Better yet… developing an experiment that people can try at home and prove themselves is a stroke of marketing genius – even if it is misleading.

Does the freezer test work?

No it does not. Take peppermint oil, for example. According to the freezer test, if you put peppermint oil in the freezer and it solidifies, then it means that it must be bad, or impure.   

The menthol in peppermint can range from 30-50% and can crystalize in a household freezer, while cheaper or less pure menthol won’t crystalize. That’s because the amount of menthol is much less and it takes a much colder temperature than your typical household freezer to solidify.

So ironically, in this case, higher grade peppermint oil will solidify at a much lower temperature than cheaper, or ‘less pure’ peppermint oil.

So does this mean all good essential oil freezes at a lower temperature?

No, it doesn’t mean this either.

It just means that it happens to be true for peppermint oil.

But putting your essential oils in the freezer to “test” them for purity is not going to give you any definitive answers. Different essential oils have different components that will solidify and crystalize at different temperatures.

The freezer test is not an accurate way to test the purity of your essential oil.

Do Essential Oils Freeze?

The truth is EVERY liquid, including essential oils, will freeze if you get the temperature low enough.

Some oils will solidify when stored at a cooler temperature, like in your fridge. Some oils will in fact remain solid at room temperature and only liquefy when warmed.

Some oils require much colder temperatures than a household freezer to solidify. Different oils solidify and crystalize at different temperatures.

And just as coconut oil or olive oil react differently to different temperatures, so do different essential oils from each other. Depending on the components that make up your essential oil, some of those components will solidify at higher temperatures than others; it depends on the type of essential oil you are using and what’s in it.

Is it OK if essential oils freeze?

There’s a difference between whether or not you can freeze essential oils and whether or not you should. The good news is that it’s perfectly okay to store your essential oils in the freezer.

Just remember some of them might crystalize, some of them may not.

Either way, it should not affect the quality or effectiveness of your essential oils. You don’t need to store them in your freezer, mind you. Storing your essential oils in a cool, dry, dark place is fine as well.

If you are planning to store your essential oils in the freezer – there are 2 things you need to consider:

1.       Putting essential oils in the freezer does not allow you to keep them indefinitely. Freezing your essential oils will not make them last longer than their expiry date. The freezer does however count as a cool, dark, dry storage place that can help to keep them staying fresh.

2.       If your essential oil crystallizes when stored in the freezer, thaw it out at room temperature. Some oils may take longer to liquefy than others. DO NOT heat them up! Heat will cause your oil to degrade by affecting the chemistry of the ingredients, and the pressure inside the bottle will build up as it’s heated. And when you open the lid, you may get hot oil spraying all over you.

Take Away

Do essential oils freeze? Yes – all liquids (including essential oils) will freeze if you get them cold enough. And yes – you can store your essential oils in the freezer, but you don’t have to.

If you do choose to store your essential oils in the freezer, make sure you keep an eye on the expiry date. And if it has solidified, allow it to thaw at room temperature before using – don’t heat it up.

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