Refrigeration Can Actually Be Harmful for Your E-Liquids
Have you ever noticed that the flavor in your e-liquid is completely gone or tastes a little bit stale? Perhaps you’ve noticed that this seems to only happen after you popped the e-liquid bottle in the refrigerator so it could store longer? Don’t worry, you aren’t imagining things. E-liquids aren’t meant to be refrigerated, although doing so can prolong life if done properly.
To understand why refrigeration is harmful, we must delve into the chemistry of some e-liquids. E-liquids all have flavors—from the plain, such as vanilla, to the extreme, like mocha grapefruit berry. To achieve these flavors, chemists and flavor connoisseurs must concoct molecules that mimic the real tastes they’re simulating.
Flavors that include a type of molecule called ‘ethyl maltol’, a sweetener and buffer that’s commonly found in cotton candy vape juice and some fruit flavors vape juices, are particularly effected by refrigeration. This is due to the reaction ethyl maltol undergoes when it is cooled. Cooling allows multiple ethyl maltol molecules to bind and form crystals, pulling them away from the actual flavor molecules that they are truly meant to bind to. This means the enhancement the ethyl maltol was supposed to add to the flavor is now gone, and you are just left with hints of the actual flavors.
Another reason why long-term refrigeration is harmful to your e-liquids is that of osmosis. If your e-liquid is stored in a plastic container, then water vapor will transfer into the bottle over a long period of time. When this happens, the water vapor will condense in the small space between the e-liquid and the walls of the container. Now, there’s water with no mixtures of propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin, meaning there is now a potential for microbes to grow. These microbes absolutely love the sweet molecules found in e-liquid flavors, and will happily eat and degrade these materials until the flavors are completely gone.
Though these occurrences might sound frightening, there are easy solutions. Simply don’t store your e-liquids in a fridge for long periods of time! E-juice has a shelf-life of up to one year if kept in a cool, non-humid space. At worst, freezing your e-liquids is a safer option, as e-liquids don’t freeze easily and little microbial activity will happen at negative temperatures. Don’t let your flavors go flat due to factors in your control - keep them at proper temperatures and correct humidity and you’ll have nothing to fear.