Can Castor Oil Go Bad ? Castor Oil’s Shelf Life

Can castor oil go bad? Actually, I’ve never had to consider whether castor oil could go bad or not because I always finish my supply first!

I actually thought about this question last night during a dinner party. I went out with friends to celebrate their recent union in France and for some reason, we got on the topic of markets and the quality of food in stores around the world. One friend mentions how life in Canada is great, but he doesn’t like the food. Apparently it’s because he noticed his fruits and vegetables would last for like two-three weeks. He then realized that, though convenient, the quality probably wasn’t that good for him! Ha..Preservatives much? I guess I need to go to Canada and see for myself! šŸ˜‰

In this article, I’m briefly going to talk about whether or not castor oil can go bad.

Oftentimes, people use expired products in order not to waste. Can we also use out-of-date natural oils? Let’s find out.

Can Castor Oil Go Bad? Castor Oil Guide - Brittany

Castor Oil’s Shelf Life

Just like other carrier oils, castor oil can go rancid. Castor oil should have a healthy shelf life up until 1 year. It may still be okay for another year or two after that if properly sealed and stored, but it’s better to use it fresh just in case.

As I mentioned, I’ve never had a problem with using expired castor oil because I use up my supply quickly. Ā But if you’ve forgotten your castor oil back in a cupboard somewhere for a while and want to start using it again, just make sure it’s still good to use. Otherwise, rancid oils can end up harming you more than helping you.

Here’s what you should look for in order to tell if your castor oil has gone bad:

Color change: Castor oil is usually clear with a slight tint. Don’t use castor oil if it turns murky or cloudy. Also, if your pale yellow/straw castor oil turns to a dark brown, for example, it’s probably no longer usable.

Odor change: You can’t really smell castor oil, so a healthy CO will be neutral in odor. A bad castor oil will smell unpleasant or just “off.”

If you believe your CO has gone bad, try to take it to a oil recycling center, as draining it down your sink is not a good idea (due to it’s viscous texture). Trashing it may not also be a great idea, as ingesting CO is powerful (even toxic) and little animals or fish may come in contact with it if dumped outside.

Can Castor Oil Go Bad? Castor Oil Guide - Brittany

How to Store Castor Oil Properly

Remember to follow some guidelines in order to safely store your castor oil.

  • Do not expose to cold or hot temperatures. Store safely between 55-75 degrees F.
  • Keep bottle sealed tightly. Oxidation will turn oils rancid quicker.
  • Store in a dry location. Moisture is not an oils friend!
  • Keep castor oil away from direct sunlight or the presence of light.

In any case, if you put your castor oil to good use like I do, you won’t have to worry about expiration dates anyway!

Final Thoughts: Can Castor Oil Go Bad ?

There’s no big secret when it comes to castor oil’s shelf life. Just make sure to keep your oils safely and properly stored and you shouldn’t run into any problems.

The longest I’ve kept castor oil is about 6 months while I was in Nepal. Now I make lots of recipes with castor oil, so my supply goes quicker but my homemade solutions keep me looking healthy and happy! šŸ™‚

Thanks for reading and continue to send me your questions!


  1. Shivani Pranjale said:

    I have castor oil from last 4 years can I use thi on hairs

    September 19, 2018
    • Hey Shivani, so let’s see. How was the castor oil stored? It truly depends if it was tightly sealed, with normal temperatures, and away from light. You can also smell it to see if it smells “rancid.” I would say get a new bottle, but try to test out a small portion on your leg hair or somewhere less sensitive than say, your head or eyelashes! Hope this helps!! Best of luck!

      September 19, 2018
  2. Marian B said:

    Thank you for this informative website!
    Do you know if Bentonite Clay, dry, can go bad? I have a jar of clay that expired in 1/2017…but it looks good to me.

    February 21, 2018
    • Thank you, Marian! To answer your question, no I don’t think your dry clay will be bad. As long as there are no additives or anything, and if it’s just pure clay then it should be fine! Just make sure to store it in a tightly sealed container and out of humid places. šŸ™‚

      February 24, 2018

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