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Do Essential Oils Go Off?  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Location: France
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I make my own washing liquid with washing soda, castille soap, bicarb of soda, and essential oils.  I've been pleased with the results.  But recently I've been noticing that clothes/sheets etc that have been unused for a while (like last summer's clothes have just come out of their suitcases) smell like dog sick - yuk.  It's not a musty, put-away-damp sort of smell and the house is well heated so that's not the smell.  So I washed them again but a 'normal' cool wash was no good, the smell lingered.  So I've had to do them on a 60 degree C (maybe 140F) and feel most anoyed that I've had to waste so much water.  There are lots of things oming out of drawers smelling of this awful stench.  Is it possible that the essential oils have gone off?  Or do 'regular' commercial washing powders/liquids have some sort of anti-bacterial stuff that's necessary for freshness?  Miffed I am.
 
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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Oils can oxidize like when old cooking oil starts smelling rancid.    What oils?   
I once had a wooden cabinet that imparted wierd odors to my clothes.  Is that a possibility?
 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
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Mainly orange oil but some may have been lavender.  No, it's not the 'cask' - the've all been kept in different things including just on a shelf in a landry cupboard!  Very embarrassing when quickly pulling out "nice clean sheets" for unexpected guests  ops:
 
gardener
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Location: PNW Oregon
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Hum, that is strange.  I've never had peppermint, clove, spearmint etc. do anything like that when used in powders I've put on the carpet and left, but then I'm not washing just sprinkling and I'm not packing anything away.

After a search I found that people having this problem seem to narrow it down to their water and/or wash additives - cloths would come out smelling fine but then over time or as a person would sweat the smell would come - yikes!

If It were me I'd stop using the orange oil for now and  run some experiments - maybe on tea towels so re-washing wouldn't waste so much water.  I would try different essential oils (eliminate the orange as a suspect) - and use essentials in alcohol not oil (eliminate the oil as suspect).  I would place my experiments in plastic bags and smell the beginning of each month, then reseal and wait one more month, running my test until I felt I had some answers.

I hope you get some more ideas from people here to solve your issue - best of luck   

 
pollinator
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Location: Oakland, CA
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Clove oil is a drying oil; going rancid is how it cures in the context of dental fillings and high-end surface finishes.

I don't think orange oil goes off, but some essential oils are blended with a carrier that can go rancid.
 
                    
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I make my own perfumes & incense with essential oils, heat & sunlight will cause some to go pungent, depends on what it is, some keep longer than others it depends on how volatile the oil is, the more volatile the shorter the shelf life.

To preserve my oil blend I add 2 drops vitamin E & 2drops Orris oil.

I do not know if this will work with laundry since vitamin E is sticky & greasy
 
If your oils are augmented they will get rancid sometimes because there have been cheaper oils added to dilute them,

Here is my test for purity:

Light an indoor incense charcoal, let it burn until all the starter is all burnt off, then add a drop of your oil & smell the smoke.

If it still smells nice with the essence of pure oil it is un-augmented BUT if it smells like something more than the original scent then it is augmented.

For example pure essential orange oil when burned should smell like just orange oil, if it smells like orange & cooking oil or smells other than orange then it probably has additives.   

Good Luck D
 
                              
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You might want to check the type of iol thats being used in your essence oils. If its olive oil, that would explain it. Olive oil will go rancid eventually.

Also, does anyone in your family smoke? Trust me, the smoke-and acompaning nicotine oils-will get into every container and makes clothes stink to high heaven. And everything else in the building.

Leigh
 
                                      
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Hey folks.  Essential Oils are not really oils at all.  They are definitely the very concentrated essence of the plant fluids, but very few of them contain any lipids at all.  Because of this, and the very volatile chemistry of most of them, they do change and can smell and act differently over time.

What does go "off" are the adulterant oils that most companies claim they DON'T put in their "oils."  When an Essential Oil spoils, you can be about as certain as can be that your good deal company has slipped in a filler oil like cottonseed, coconut, palm kernel. 

Wake up call.  I have been on hand when the biggest and most popular Essential Oil company in America adulterated a batch of what was supposed to be Helichrysm with mineral oil. 

If your "Essential Oils" go "off" to the point where you notice the difference and are worried about spoilage, find another company.
 
                    
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Lavender oil oxidizes on contact with air, forming allergens:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18759894
 
Posts: 211
Location: Missoula Montana
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I have been using essential oils for years, and never had any of them go bad.  However, some essential oils are better than others.  Some brands are more high quality than others.  Usually, the more expensive ones are the better quality.

Best quality oils I have found are DoTerra      www.doterra.com

or the parent company Young Living.              www.youngliving.com
 
                                  
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Since the thread is back from the dead, i'll chime in and say that there are oily components of orange that do go rancid. Cheaper orange juices rapidly taste a bit bitter or "off" after opening for this reason. I'd guess you had a bit of oily residue in your laundry that either went rancid or was fed on by bacteria, creating odor in the process. Castille is quite hard to get out completely.
 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
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To be honest, it has put me off completely from making my own laundry liquid.  I have gone back to 'conventional' laundry liquid of the 'environmentally friendly' sort (whatever that means in commercial terms) 
 
                                  
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If the problem is indeed the essential oils, don't let that put you off making your own laundry liquid, just leave them out of the next batch you make.
 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
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Since posting last December, I have indeed come back into the fold and make my own again and yes, I now leave out the essential oils.  Seems to be working OK 
 
Posts: 56
Location: Southern Ontario, Canada
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I also make my own laundry soap using my own liquid castile soap (grate the soap, add water & wait 'til it melts - no need to heat). I use only 1/2 cup or less per load and add a tbsp or so of washing soda. No essential oils - sunshine & fresh air smell best! Occasionally, I check the laundry detergent aisle of the grocery store. There are none that aren't 'scented'! Hate those artificial fragrances!
 
Posts: 62
Location: Northern Cali, USA -zone 9-
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janeisgreen wrote:
I also make my own laundry soap using my own liquid castile soap (grate the soap, add water & wait 'til it melts - no need to heat). I use only 1/2 cup or less per load and add a tbsp or so of washing soda. No essential oils - sunshine & fresh air smell best! Occasionally, I check the laundry detergent aisle of the grocery store. There are none that aren't 'scented'! Hate those artificial fragrances!



All Free & Clear has no fragrance. Plus it's very effective if one has a dust mite allergy or extremely sensitive skin.
 
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Have you tried using vinegar in the rinse that can really help.  As a mucular theripist I  have to use bleach or other chemical or crank up the hot water tank when I wash sheets.  That's the law. For personal use is different.


Orange EO is great for cleaning as is lemon.  You have to use pure EO not mixed with other oils.  Very few EO  mix with water they float on top.  Some EO like fine wine get better with time.  If you want to use EO in the laundry and not have them "go to waste"  you need to mix them with a carrier oil.  Jojoba oil (not a true oil) works great the only oil I use.  It washes off cloth and wont go rancid.  You can keep it in the fridg where it will start to solidify or keep it at room temp.  It can also be reheated repeatedly. 

If you want a anti baterial fungal effect for your laundry you can use tea tree, melaleuca, melaleuca quinquenrvia, mountain savory, thyme, oregano.  You can use theses solo or do a blending (do some research about that first).

When I use EO for laundry or in the vacuum I put a few drops on a cotton ball or washcloth and throw it in the dryer or put in the vacuum. I only use the dryer for about 5-10 min on med heat after I bring the clothes off the line.  The most imortant thing about using EO is make sure they are pure 100%.  Since many oils are very spendy I rarely use them in the laundry.  Hope that helps.

As a side note once oil goes rancid you can never get the smell out of your cloth.  So use with caution!

 
                      
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Orange EO is notoriously unstable.  Keep it refrigerated in amber glass and you have about 6 months.  It won't hold up in hot water or in the presence of strong bases.

Tea tree and eucalyptus do hold up well n laundry.  Thyme also, I believe.

If you choose to use essential oils, please please don't waste your money on Young Living!  Geez!  There are amazing suppliers that sell EOs for MUCH MUCH less - good quality EOs.  I like Essential Oils University (essentialoils.org) and New Directions Aromatics (newdirectionsaromatics.com) because I purchase in bulk.  For smaller amounts there are many suppliers you can order from - I can post those if anyone is interested.  Essential oils should be stored in glass and in the dark - and refrigerated.  In general, they are good for about a year, though some for less and some for more.  The exception is, oddly enough, patchouli oil which just gets better with age.

Soaps for detergents... well that's a tough one.  Commercial laundry detergents generally work better in cold water, and have ingredients called optical brighteners that make whites look whiter.  Plus in hard water, real soap forms soap scum which is close to impossible to remove. 

To help with the hard water, you can use vinegar in the rinse cycle - put it in one of those Downy balls for best results - but you can still have problems.  Be ESPECIALLY cautious if you have a high efficiency washing machine, as soap scum can really gunk up your machine - and not using a commercial detergent can void the warranty.
 
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