If you’re not using aromatic waters called “hydrosols”, I strongly suggest you begin. They are affordable, easy to use, versatile and their therapeutic applications are a safe choice, especially for children and animals. I wrote an earlier blog post called What is a Hydrosol that will give you th basics.
Hydrosol Storage Guidelines
Because hydrosols are water based, they are more fragile than essential oils. Anything made of water is subject to contamination and deterioration when improperly stored. Their shelf life is also rather short, but can be extended with care. Never add preservatives or buy them with preservatives added!
Don’t let the delicate nature of hydrosols put you off using them. They offer enormous pleasure and therapeutic benefits; especially you follow the simple guidelines for their storage and handling listed below.
1. Keep Hydrosols in a Dark, Dry, Cool Location.
Direct light, especially sunlight, is damaging to hydrosols. Ideally, they should be stored in a refrigerator. Do not freeze them! You might consider investing in a small apartment-sized fridge just for your hydrosols. If the refrigerator is not an option, then store them in a cool, dark location with consistent temperature like a dry basement. In this case, keep your bottles in a cabinet or box, away from the light.
2. Store in Glass
Glass bottles are ideal for storing hydrosols. Whether you choose colored or clear is a personal choice since many hydrosol users prefer clear because contamination can often be seen with the naked eye (read “Watch for the Bloom” below). However, dark glass will be more protective against light. I, personally, prefer clear. Many companies ship hydrosols in plastic bottles to keep breakage and shipping to a minimum. If you receive them in plastic, transfer them into sterilized glass bottles as soon as you can.
3. Beware of Headspace
When a bottle of hydrosol is partially full, the empty space above the liquid is called the “headspace”. This headspace contains oxygen that, over time, will react with the hydrosol and cause deterioration. To prolong the shelf life of your hydrosol, reduce this headspace. For example, if you have a 16 oz. bottle of Lavender Hydrosol with only 8 oz. left in the bottle. Transfer the hydrosol into an 8 oz. bottle or two 4 oz. bottles. You get the idea.
4. Keep Everything Sterile
It is easy to contaminate your hydrosol with unseen bacteria from fingers, pipettes, a funnel, an unsterilized bottle during transfer and even your nose. Don’t let anything come in direct contact with the hydrosol or its bottle. Pour the amount of hydrosol you need into a sterilize container then work with that, rather than risk contaminating the entire bottle. Sterilize everything that comes in contact with your hydrosol sterile with Everclear Grain Alcohol or Vodka. I like to spray the container with Everclear, then let it air dry.
5. Watch out for the “Bloom”
Sometimes when hydrosols are contaminated they grow a “bloom” (such a lovely word for something so nasty). The bloom can look like a bit of white material or ghostly blob floating around the bottom. It can also be dark. I mentioned above in “Store in Glass”, although dark bottles are nice for storing your hydrosol, they make it hard to see a hydrosol bloom. You can sometimes hold a colored glass bottle up to the light
6. Record the Purchase Date
The date of the distillation should be on your bottle of hydrosol, or a least the supplier should be able to tell you. Write the date of distillation and the date you received the hydrosol on the label. You can add this to the side of the bottle and on a sticker placed on the cap of the bottle for easy reference.
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