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Storing e-liquids in the fridge

Discussion in 'General E-Liquid Discussion' started by AnthonyB, May 3, 2017.

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  1. AnthonyB

    AnthonyB Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Jul 5, 2010
    Sydney Australia
    Hi all,
    1. I have had a very comprehensive long term experience with refrigerating e-liquids that has lasted over a year. About a year ago I had decided to store my flavoured e-liquids which consisted of both naturally extracted tobacco liquids with higher nicotine content and general flavored liquids with low nicotine for sub-ohm vaping in the fridge as a means to try and preserve them particularly after I stocked up prior to the August 2016 deeming regulations scare.

      For the purposes of this post I will abbreviate naturally extracted tobaccos which high nicotine (10-18mg) and a high PG ratio as (“NETS”) and synthetic or organic flavoured e-liquids with low nicotine levels (3-6mg) and high VG ratio as (‘sub-ohm e-liquids”). The results I have had in the fridge have been different for the two categories.

      Prior to storing e-liquids in the fridge I had researched the effects of refrigerating e-liquids in the fridge and found very little good informative advice based on experience. My intuition told me that storing e-liquids in the fridge can’t possibly destroy e-liquids because they are merely being kept in a cooler environment. I reasoned that if someone lived in a colder climate like Europe or North America in the winter, then surely their e-liquids wouldn’t go off just because the climate is under 10 degrees.

      But I didn’t feel secured with some intuitive notions about refrigerating e-liquids so I tested a few bottles of naturally extracted tobacco liquids (“NETS”). I kept them in the fridge for about 2 months and sampled them by filling tanks from the bottle right out of the fridge. The juices tasted as good as before I put them in the fridge so that was my green light to store all of my beloved juices in the fridge. As the height of a harsh Australian summer arrived I took a chance and put all my e-liquids in the fridge. The fridge was kept at a temperature half way on the temperature dial in the fridge and all juices were stored in amber boston glass bottles and placed either in cardboard shoe boxes or large plastic containers.

      Over the next few months I would retrieve bottles from the fridge, sample them and fill a tank and then, after a few days, return the bottle to the fridge. The juices tasted fine. In the meantime, I was also vaping sub ohm e-liquids by taking the bottle from the fridge, filling a tank and returning the bottle to the fridge.

      What I unravelled about storing e-liquids in the fridge slowly unfolded over time and the realization of the damage the fridge was doing to my juices was disguised initially because I was sampling through 2-3 years old liquids at first in a kind of structured format of sampling liquids from oldest to newest in a bid to de-clutter myself of extraneous juices which were old and going bad. I sampled juices, mainly NETs which vaped fine after 2 to 3 years before I started to refrigerate juices, however, when I took many of these juices out of the fridge and left them to return to room temperature for a few days they were off. They had a stale or dirty flavour to them and some of the juices made me feel mildly ill. They also left an acrid taste on my tongue and would bring on vapers tongue. Initially I was confused because these older liquids of 24-36 months in vintage tasted okay and were vapable the first time I sampled them after refrigeration but by the time I sampled them again a few months later, they were off.

      It was in sampling the newer NET e-liquids which were about 6-12 months in age that I was beginning to realize that the fridge was damaging my e-juice. These liquids had been in the fridge about 3 months after I first sampled them and they tasted fine but by the time I returned to them 3 months later or longer, they tasted off. I was puzzled at how juice could go off so quickly. Some bottles would go from good to bad in just one month. In each case, I was removing bottles from the fridge, leaving them out for a few days while I vaped them and then returned the bottle to the fridge.

      It was when I sampled e-liquids which were about 7-9 months old which had been in the fridge from the day I got them that the biggest shocks came. About 20-30 bottles of NET e-liquids were all off. Many actually tasted good fresh out of the fridge, but after they had been out of the fridge for 1-3 weeks they went from tasting good to tasting bad and giving me some of the symptoms I had become all too familiar with when vaping e-liquids which had gone bad.

      The red herring and confusing element in my vape experience with refrigerated juices is the sub-ohm e-liquids. These were, as mentioned above, low nicotine and high VG and they never stayed out of the fridge long. I would fill a tank, and return the bottle to the fridge. The sub-ohm e-liquids were still vaping quite good after a prolonged period of being in the fridge for 12 months. Some of those juices were 24 months old and had been left in a draw for the first 12 months.

      Prior to storing any e-liquids in the fridge, I found that NET’s stored properly in a dark cool place would generally outlive flavoured e-liquids and were still good after 2-3 years. I had NETs live through 2 or 3 hot Australian summers in a dark place still good to vape. However, they were going off within 6 months when stored in the fridge. This was even the case with fresh newly ordered e-liquids I had put in the fridge right from the beginning and not opened or removed from the fridge once until I finally took them out and found that they were off or going off.

      So why were my NET e-liquids going off in the fridge and not my sub-ohm liquids? Well, as I mentioned above I never left sub-ohm e-liquids out of the fridge. They stayed in the fridge. When filling a tank I would return the bottle to the fridge immediately.

      In summary what I have learnt in a nutshell from my 12-18 months of storing e-liquids in the fridge is as follows:
      1. Storing e-liquids in the fridge will not increase their life expectancy;

      2. Many e-liquids will actually have a shortened life spanned by keeping them in the fridge and will go off after a period of somewhere between 3 months and 9 months of being kept in a fridge;

      3. Flavors duller and become quite flat in e-liquid which is left in the fridge.

      4. E-liquids kept in the fridge long term will, upon being vaped, give the vaper symptoms of headache, jitteriness, an acrid taste in the mouth and an unpleasant vaping experience. Flavors will be diminished or altered and the e-liquid will have a ‘dirty’ character to it, particularly rich, dark liquids and NET based liquids.

      5. E-liquids, particularly NET E-liquids which are PG based and with high nicotine that were removed from the fridge and not returned may taste okay initially but then will rapidly decline in quality and go off, just like food being kept in the fridge and then left out of the fridge.

      6. In other words, if you have made the mistake of storing flavoured e-liquids, whether they be NET’s or sub-ohm juices, then keep them in the fridge. They will deterioriate rapidly before your eyes once they are allowed to return and stay at room temperature.

      7. E-liquids stored in plastic and kept in the fridge will have an accelerated deterioration and will take on a plastic residue in the flavour of the e-liquids. Plastics stored in the fridge even for a short time like a month or two will spoil.
      8. Bottles of juice with more 'headspace' that is, the space between the juice and the top of the bottle, will degrade faster. In other words, the emptier the bottle of juice the faster the juice will degrade. This is accelerated when the juice is kept in the fridge.

      *PS - smaller bottles of juice will degrade faster than larger bottles of juice, all things being even.

      I have posted the results of my long term experiences of storing flavoured or NET e-liquids in the fridge to discourage anyone from doing so.

      My knowledge in this regard has been empirical and not scientific so in my best uneducated guess, the reason flavoured and NET e-liquids go off in the fridge is due to condensation in the bottle both in the fridge and when removed from the fridge. If the e-liquid seems to be okay right out of the fridge, it may rapidly decline once left out of the fridge, like a piece of food that was preserved for a long time only to go off rapidly once exposed to room temperature conditions and air.

      Altering temperatures of the e-liquid from cold to warm, and then to cold again changes the chemical composition of the e-liquid and invites bacteria and other microscopic life into the juice because water forms in the e-liquid from the condensation.

      It is also possible that osmosis may occur where particles from food in the fridge transfers inside the bottle of e-liquid. This risk does not only occur in plastics but can occur in glass bottles because of the seal around the cap may not be fully air tight and microbes may get into the juice.

      Despite my lack of knowledge of the science behind the deterioration of e-liquids in the fridge, I have no doubt that storing e-liquid in the fridge, whether it be high nicotine and high PG liquids or low nicotine high VG liquids, will go off quickly or at the very least, the flavour will be altered.

      Liquids stored in the fridge for a short time may not have deteriorated noticeably but liquids kept in the fridge for 3-6 months or longer will most definitely be manifestly degraded.

      I recommend storing e-liquids in cool dry and dark environments, even in the height of summer. DO NOT Store your flavoured e-liquids in the fridge. Any cold temperature storage should only be in the freezer and ONLY non-flavoured nicotine e-liquids.





     
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  2. Bonskibon

    Bonskibon Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Dec 11, 2015
    USA Northeast
    Thank you for sharing your findings.
     
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  3. Mohamed Elhawary

    Mohamed Elhawary Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Sep 15, 2014
    Egypt
    Thanks for this great post
     
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  4. Sylvie

    Sylvie Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 15, 2010
    USA
    my experiences is different than yours for i have personally stored 'new juices' within the week in freezer ziplock bags, both in glass & plastic, in fridge scrisper drawer longterm and all of them stayed fresh and never went rancid/etc on me after taking them out (i usually vaped the whole bottle within 3-4wks though so who knows if they would have after that time frame). i however never took them out to test them so bottles always stayed full so air/etc never affected them. One year I bought over a dozen of my then favorite 12mg tobacco during a sale and stuck them in fridge and almost 4yrs later when i got last bottle out, it tasted just as good as the first bottle i vaped when i got them, so for me longterm refrigeration of new juices was/is effective.
     
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  5. AnthonyB

    AnthonyB Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Jul 5, 2010
    Sydney Australia
    The reason I kept the juices in the fridge was because I experienced the same effectiveness with sub-ohm juices. That is, juices that have low nicotine levels, high VG and are fairly clean - I,e fairly clear looking liquids. Darker liquids such as strong NETs or rich flavoured synthetics seem to fair worse. I had some minor spoilage with sub-ohm juices. I had a bottle of Charlie Noble Ry4 Pistachio lose all its flavour in weeks in the fridge and I had plenty of others still retain their freshness after 2 years.

    However, the spoilage with my NETs was unanimous, even with the full bottles. Though, I didn't put any bottles in the fridge that had never been opened. They were all opened at least once before I put them in the fridge.

    It is possible to preserve juices for a few years with strict conditions like you mention - never open the juice beforehand, make sure the bottle is full and put it away from the coldest part of the fridge. But that necessarily implies putting a juice in the fridge to keep it for a few years before even vaping it once. But some spoilage will happen anyway. I don't see any point in doing that except for flavorless nicotine juice in the freezer in anticipation of regulatory restrictions.

    In my experience, the cons outweigh the pros. I don't see any value or reason to try and keep juices for longer than 2-3 years. If you can't vape what you have in 2-3 years then you are over-stocking. That is exactly what I did. This is especially so in an age when a 30 ml bottle can be vaped up in a week with high wattage sub-ohm vaping. There is just no need to store liquids for 4 years. The other con is that you can't just rotate juices that are in the fridge. Once it comes out of long term storage you pretty much have to vape it. It's remaining life out of the fridge will rapidly shorten in my experience.

    Chances are that your liquid that lasted 4 years may have lasted 4 years even out of the fridge. I've had liquids taste fresh after 5 years. This was mostly synthetic liquids made of the same kind of ingredients that come out of China like Hangsen, Dekang, etc. They seem to last forever.

    The last point I would like to make is that most juices, especially NET's will last 2-3 years stored in a dry dark place anyway. Almost all my NEts last 2-3 years. That's why I was so shocked when my NETs tasted so bad after just 7 months in the fridge. NET's especially last longer because the ingredients are fairly inert. There are no sugars, organic flavors or volatile molecules like there are in synthetic juices, particularly current day juices which often rely on ingredients that make the juice taste very authentic to a fruit, bakery or sweet. Those flavors don't remain authentic for long. They really ought to be vaped up within 6-12 months. Yet, for some reason, the opposite has been true for me when it comes to storing in the fridge. High PG, low Nic synthetics for sub-ohm vaping lasted longer in the fridge than NETs.

    So when a NET can last 2-3 years anyway why bother. There is just too much risk. Some juices will go off as a result of refrigeration anyway even if one takes all the correct precautions.
     
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  6. jdrewry

    jdrewry Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 16, 2011
    New Jersey
    I have to say that my experience is along the line with Sylvie's. I use a small refrigerator (the kind college kids may use in their dorm rooms). I set the temperature to about 50-55 degrees. I normally vape Max VG juices. As soon as they arrive, they go into my fridge. I've been able to hold juices like this for about 2 years (sometimes a little longer, depending on the vendor). I haven't had a juice go bad on me.
     
  7. AnthonyB

    AnthonyB Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Jul 5, 2010
    Sydney Australia
    Yeah well you know, if it wasn't for my NET liquids I would be saying the exact same thing. My sub-ohm juices didn't go off in the fridge even when I took bottles out and left them out of the fridge for a few days, or when I put them in the fridge half full.

    So that leaves me to wonder if PG doesn't store well long term or if there is something particular about NET liquids.

    55 degrees Fahrenheit is quite warm. That equates to 12 degrees Celsius. 12 degrees Celsius is more like a wine cooler temperature. Most fridges run at 4-5 degrees Celsius and that is what my fridge was set at during the whole period of storage. At 12 degrees there is less likelihood of condensation being a problem.

    What I have noticed even with sub-ohm liquids is that they stay good for 2 years even out of the fridge. Ultimately, I am not sure the fridge helps to delay deterioration of the juice.

    I would love it if someone who stores their liquids in the fridge takes them out and leaves them out of the fridge for a month or two and reports on their findings.

    Did you also store these liquids from the day you got them and left them sealed or did you do what I did, where you would leave half bottles in the fridge and fill tanks and drippers from them and then return them to the fridge?
     
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  8. jdrewry

    jdrewry Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 16, 2011
    New Jersey
    Hey AnthonyB,

    I thought 55 degrees was a good target temperature; I didn't want the storage space to be as cold as a normal fridge. I store just about all of them (a few I opened just for that "smell" test, to see what they're like) as soon as I get them, and leave them sealed. I pull out a bottle when I'm ready to vape it; once it comes out of my fridge, it stays out. I give it a couple of hours to warm up to room temperature (some juices, I may "decant" overnight). I will say, in my experience, how well some juices have held up have been "vendor dependent"; certain juices from certain vendors seem to hold/store really well, while other didn't make it to that 3 month stage.
     
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  9. Kickingthesticks

    Kickingthesticks Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    May 6, 2016
    No experience with fridge but my freezer juice still taste good. I think the problem might be the extreme temp shifts if your thawing and recooling the same bottle a lot. Once I pull a bottle it doesn't go back in.
     
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  10. David Wolf

    David Wolf Moved On ECF Veteran

    Dec 11, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    From what I've read, PG supposedly has a longer shelf life from VG, though I've only kept either around about a year. We're the NETs just extract, or we're they premixed Nicotine NETs? Storing only on the shelf, my bought NET premixed juices taste off flavored after 9 to 12 months. Extracts themselves seem to last longer. I recently bought some Smooth nic salts 100mg nicotine from NN and it darkened rather quickly and tasted off after a few months. The more air in the bottle the darker amber it got so I suspect the presence of nicotine and oxygen are factors in the degradation I've experienced. Condensation due to temperature changes sounds like a factor in your case as well.
     
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  11. AnthonyB

    AnthonyB Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Jul 5, 2010
    Sydney Australia
    The NETs I stored where all premixed commercial NETs but I also stored home made Extracts.

    I am pretty sure condensation played a part. Some of the juices were fine the first time I took them out of the fridge and let them thaw. I would return them to the fridge and then a few months later they tasted off.

    It was almost a whole batch of NET.com liquids that went off on me that put me off refrigerating liquids. These were 6-9 months old liquids which I had only opened once to sample before the full bottles all went into the fridge. The hybrids were worst affected with the flavor muted significantly. The pure NETs tasted a bit stale and old.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  12. jdrewry

    jdrewry Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 16, 2011
    New Jersey
    Did you have any liquids stored in glass bottles that went off? Curious; the majority of my liquids come in dark glass bottles; I move liquids into dark bottles if they come in plastic.
     
  13. Burnie

    Burnie The Bug Man Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jul 1, 2009
    Sunny Florida
    I think this is why I have had no problems with the juice I store in the fridge (couple of years), all are factory sealed bottles, once open, they do not go back in the fridge.
     
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  14. AnthonyB

    AnthonyB Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Jul 5, 2010
    Sydney Australia
    They were all stored in glass bottles.

    A year before my major spoilage I had juices in plastic bottles go off in the fridge. It was almost as if I could taste the plastic residue in the liquid. I threw them all out. So my policy from then on was to only store liquids in Amber, blue cobalt or clear Boston bottles in the fridge.

    It took a bit longer for the liquids stored in the glass bottles to go off but eventually they spoiled too albeit nowhere near as bad as the refrigerated liquids in plastic bottles.

    The condensation is really noticeable on plastic bottles stored in the fridge.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  15. AnthonyB

    AnthonyB Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Jul 5, 2010
    Sydney Australia
    I think you are right. I've only ever stored one bottle in the fridge which was still sealed and never opened beforehand. It was Valhalla by Stash e-liquids.

    After 10 months in the fridge I pulled it out and opened it and it was as fresh as I expect Valhalla to be.

    Putting bottles in the fridge with factory seal still on is the only safe way to store in the fridge in my opinion. In every bottle that has been opened the oxygen and condensation destroy juices.


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  16. Burnie

    Burnie The Bug Man Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jul 1, 2009
    Sunny Florida
    :thumb: Yep I Agree
     
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