Does Coconut Oil Go Bad?


As one of the most hyped up—and rightfully so—kitchen staples, many of us probably have a jar of coconut oil in our cupboards. Whether you use it for culinary, health, oil pulling, or beauty purposes, you might be one of the many people asking, does coconut oil go bad? Let’s unscrew a jar and take a look. 

Different Types of Coconut Oil

When you’re in the cooking oil section of your grocery store, you’ll see two main options of coconut oil: refined coconut oil and virgin coconut oil (unrefined). You might also see expeller-pressed methods, which are used for refined coconut oil. Similarly, cold-pressed methods are used for virgin coconut oil. Fractionated coconut oil separates the fats from the oils, thus removing the lauric acid (the healthiest aspect of the oil!).

How long does coconut oil last? Well, it depends on how it’s used and stored. 

Brilliant Black Oil Pulling

Coconut Oil Uses and Storage Methods

Coconut oil has a plethora of uses. Because of its high smoke point (up to 440℉), refined coconut oil is a popular choice in the kitchen, as virgin coconut oil’s high smoke point is just 350℉. However, unrefined coconut oil is typically considered a better option for skincare and oral care.

While coconut oil doesn’t oxidize rapidly (read: takes a long time to go bad), there are some ways to store it to prolong its shelf life. Improperly stored, coconut oil—just like everything else in the kitchen—can deteriorate much quicker. Here are some best practices for coconut oil storage:

  • Both the pantry and the refrigerator work, depending on your needs. If you regularly use coconut oil in its solid form, the refrigerator is better. If a softer coconut oil works better for you, the pantry is best. Keep in mind, coconut oil’s melting point is 76℉.
  • Either way, be sure to keep it in a dark, cool location. Try to avoid exposing it to sunlight, air, and heat. That said, keep the lid tightly sealed. 
  • While the seasons bring different temperatures, it’s best to avoid letting those hot summer temperatures and cold winter nights impact your coconut oil. A fluctuation in temperature can activate the chemical reactions that spoil coconut oil. 
  • Avoid using dirty utensils when scooping your oil, as this can lead to mold.

Has My Coconut Oil Gone Bad?

Wondering if your coconut oil is safe to use? First consider the coconut oil shelf life. As a rule of thumb, coconut oil that’s been refined can last up to 18 months, while its virgin counterpart can last up to five years! Does fractionated coconut oil go bad?It can last for about two to three years. 

We’ve all been there, asking can I use coconut oil past the expiration date? Here are a few signs to look for when it comes to bad coconut oil:

  • A change in color: When solid, coconut oil is milky white. It turns clear when melted. If you see a yellow color, it’s a sign that your coconut oil has expired. 
  • A change in texture: Unless it’s subjected to a high enough temperature to melt, coconut oil is generally smooth, like butter. If your coconut oil starts to look blotchy or chunky, chances are it’s gone bad. 
  • A spotted appearance: Visible black or dark spots or patches can be indicative of the development of mold. If you see any odd colors in your coconut oil, it should be tossed. 
  • A smell or taste that’s off: Virgin coconut oil has a more coconut-y taste while refined oils don’t have much flavor. Similarly, virgin coconut oil has a slight coconut scent and refined coconut oils don’t really smell like much. If you notice a sour or bitter smell or taste, it’s a sign that the coconut oil’s gone bad. 

  • Asking does extra virgin coconut oil expire is likely more important than you think. Past-prime has been associated with harmful free radicals. Free radicals come from air pollutants, industrial chemicals, cigarette smoke, and other external sources. They're also produced internally, as a byproduct of our metabolism. Unfortunately, free radicals are considered a carcinogen—or a substance that can cause cancer. That said, it’s best to avoid free radicals when possible. This means that it’s also best to dispose of any rancid coconut oil. 

    Benefits of Coconut Oil for Mouth and Oral Health

    Thanks to lauric acid, coconut oil supports our hearts and brains with better cholesterol levels and more energy. In the rest of the body, microbial properties destroy bad bacteria and phytochemicals provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In the mouth specifically, used for oil pulling, coconut oil can help to fight decay-causing plaque and support gum health

    These benefits and more are why you’ll find coconut oil as the main ingredient in both of our Ayurvedic oil pulling products. Designed to harness coconut oil in its most potent state—and well within its shelf life—our bottles are perfect for daily use (with one teaspoon sips) for six weeks. 

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