Have you ever gone through your e-juice
stash and stumbled upon a bottle that’s been mysteriously without a cap for who even knows how long? If you’ve ever found an open bottle of vape juice that’s been sitting for a while, chances are that you were scared to even vape it.
So, can e-juice go bad if the bottle has been left open? And, how can you even tell if an liquid has gone bad in the first place? We’re gonna explain exactly what happens to vape juice when it’s been left in an open container. This way, you can know with certainty whether or not you’ve wasted some precious juice.
Does E-Juice Go Bad?
Here’s the thing: E-Juice doesn’t necessarily go “bad” in the way that, say, a zucchini goes bad if you left it in the fridge for three weeks. E-liquid is made up of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine and flavoring, and none of those ingredients decompose in the way that organic substances do. So, you don’t have to worry about getting sick from vaping a rotten vape juice.
However, that doesn’t mean that old e-liquid that’s been left in an open bottle will be pleasant to vape. Basically, the longer it’s exposed to air, the quicker it will oxidize, meaning that the flavor and the nicotine content will essentially have evaporated.
Oxidization: A Slippery Slope
Have you ever purchased an old, possibly expensive bottle of wine, only to find that it tasted like vinegar once you uncorked it? This has to do with oxidization. As wine ages, certain molecules like alcohol are exposed to trace amounts of oxygen, causing them to evaporate, while other molecules within the wine bond with each other, intensifying certain flavor notes. Typically, we see this as a good thing.
However, sometimes, too much oxygen gets into that wine, causing certain molecules to evaporate too quickly while others don’t get a chance to bond with each other. That’s why some old wines might taste unpleasant even though they’ve been aged for years.
This applies to e-liquid as well. While oxidization can be a good thing in that it allows the flavor and nicotine to intensify, over-oxidization eventually produces the opposite effect. And, if your bottle of vape juice doesn’t have its cap on, that oxidization process is going to happen very quickly. This means that the flavor will likely be very weak or one-note. And, the nicotine might be nowhere to be found.
Do Things Like Bottle Size and Nicotine Type Make a Difference?
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether your juice is in a big bottle or a little bottle, or if it contains freebase or salt-based nicotine. Yes, oxidization does affect freebase more aggressively than salt-based, but the bottom line is that over-oxidization will ruin the quality of your vape juice no matter what.
How to Tell If Your Opened Bottle of E-Liquid is No Longer Good
Luckily, you can tell for the most part if your e-juice has gone bad:
- The first thing to do is take a nice whiff of your e-liquid. Does it have a stale smell? Can you detect a complex aroma profile or is the scent very weak?
- The next thing to do is look at the e-liquid that’s in the bottle. Is the color unusually dark? Does the vape juice look thicker?
- If your e-juice has a weak smell or the color is very dark, it’s probably not going to give you a satisfying vape.
Too Much Air Getting in Overall Can Be a Bad thing
While it won’t make you sick, oxidization can absolutely ruin your e-liquid if you’ve left the bottle open for too long. That’s why it’s important to stay on top of your vape stash.