There are all sorts of useful reasons for keeping aloe vera products stocked away in your house. But how long can you keep that aloe vera gel before it expires?
Aloe vera gel, for one, comes in many forms and can be used to treat sunburn and promote healthy skin. You can even extract and make your own pure gel if you keep an aloe vera plant at home! And there are multiple health benefits involved when it comes to aloe vera juice and other types of aloe vera.
But does aloe vera gel expire? Like most things, it does, but how long it lasts depends on the type of gel in question, and how you choose to store it.
Here’s a look at how long you can expect different aloe vera products to last.
How Long Does Aloe Vera Gel Last?
The shelf life of aloe vera gel will vary depending on what kind you are using.
If you’ve bought your aloe vera gel at the store, it should last a long time, as pre-processed gel is usually treated with preservatives to extend its shelf life. This process is known as stabilization, and involves adding substances like citric acid, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate to the aloe vera gel the moment it is extracted from the plant. This helps to prevent the gel from decomposing once it’s exposed to oxygen.
Because of this process, Dr. Giuseppe Aragona M.D, General Practitioner & Medical Advisor at Prescription Doctor suggested that store-bought aloe vera gel usually lasts around two years. To be absolutely sure, you should always check the expiration date on the product before using.
But without this stabilization process, aloe vera gel will expire in a much shorter time. If you’re extracting your own fresh gel from a plant at home, Dr. Aragona advises that raw aloe vera products will only last 24 hours when kept at room temperature and 5-7 days when refrigerated. So fresh aloe vera gel expires a whole lot faster than store-bought!
In the next section, I’ll offer you some super effective tips on how to maximize the shelf life of your fresh aloe vera products. But first, here’s a look at how long other types of aloe vera products should last.
Fresh Aloe Vera Leaf
According to Dr. Aragona, fresh aloe vera leaf is only likely to last for 24 hours while kept at room temperature, and 5-7 days when refrigerated. But as we will see in the next section, there are clever storage methods you can use to make fresh aloe vera leaf last longer!
Aloe Vera Juice
Juice made from the aloe vera plant tends to last longer than fresh aloe leaves. Dr. Aragona claimed that aloe vera juice lasts 2-4 weeks when opened and refrigerated, and 2-3 years when unopened and refrigerated. Keeping the juice unrefrigerated for more than 24 hours is not recommended.
Aloe Vera Capsules
You can also purchase aloe vera in capsule form, to be taken as a supplement. Dr. Aragona said aloe vera capsules last around five years. But just like any store-bought aloe vera product, it’s always best to check the expiration date before using.
How to Store Aloe Vera Gel and Maximize Shelf Life
If you’re using aloe vera gel, it’s likely that you have either bought it pre-processed from the store, or extracted it fresh from your own aloe vera plant. Whatever kind of aloe vera gel you’re using, there are ways you can store it to maximize its shelf life.
How Long Can You Keep Store-Bought Aloe Vera Gel?
For store-bought aloe vera gel, you should always keep it in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight, and it should stay good for about 2-3 years. A nice spot in your pantry or a spare drawer in your kitchen are perfect places.
You can also freeze or refrigerate your store-bought aloe vera gel. This way it can last for up to five years!
Tips for Storing Freshly Extracted Aloe Vera Gel
If you’re using pure aloe vera gel extracted from your own aloe vera plant, keeping it fresh can be a little more tricky, but there are ways you can do it.
Refrigerate Your Fresh Aloe Vera Gel
Storing freshly extracted aloe vera gel in your refrigerator should keep it fresh for up to 10 days. You can cut the fresh gel up into small cubes first for adding to drinks and smoothies, or larger chunks if you plan on adding it to your homemade lotion to moisturize drying skin or sunburn.
Whatever you choose, keeping the pure aloe gel in your refrigerator will help keep it fresh for longer.
Keep it in the Freezer
To boost the shelf life of your fresh aloe vera gel even further, you can keep it in the freezer. Just blend the gel up, freeze it overnight in a silicone ice tray, and then transfer the frozen gel-filled cubes to an airtight container and keep in your freezer. The gel should last for up to eight months this way.
Mixing Fresh Aloe Vera Gel with Honey
If you’re feeling adventurous, mixing your fresh aloe gel with honey is a great way to preserve it, as honey is a natural preservative substance that rarely goes bad. Just blend your aloe vera gel in a blender, and mix one tablespoon of honey per one tablespoon of aloe gel. If you store this mix in an airtight container in your refrigerator, it should last for up to three years!
Blending with Vitamin C
Vitamin C is another preservative you can mix with fresh aloe vera gel to make it last longer. Blended together and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator, your vitamin C infused gel should be good for up to a month.
How to Maximize the Freshness of Aloe Vera Leaves
If you don’t fancy extracting gel from your aloe vera leaves, and you just want to keep the leaves fresh for longer, you can wrap them in a damp towel and store them in your refrigerator for up to a week. By placing the leaves in a freezer bag and keeping them in your freezer, they should last for up to eight months.
If you’d like to learn more about how to keep aloe vera products fresh, you should check out this article about how to store fresh aloe vera gel and leaves.
But what about when aloe vera does go bad?
How Do You Know if Aloe Vera Gel Has Gone Bad?
Laura Krebs-Holm MS/RD/LD, a registered nutritionist and dietitian in Austin Texas, and a medical advisor for eMediHealth, explained that “aloe is a plant, and just like other fruits and vegetables, you will notice the gel may look cloudy and have an off smell” if it has gone bad.
Regarding fresh aloe leaves, she said, “Fresh aloe leaves will get wilted, wet, almost like a sludge, and will smell bad.”
Once they have expired, mold can grow noticeably.
This lifecycle is similar for aloe vera juice, which will become discolored and develop a foul odor once expired.
What Happens If You Use Expired Aloe Vera Gel?
Once any kind of aloe vera product has expired, it’s very important that you don’t consume it. Registered nutritionist Laura Krebs-Holm warned that applying (expired aloe gel) to the skin can cause irritation, rashes or serious reactions.
She also warned against eating or drinking expired aloe vera leaves or juice, saying we should never consume an expired food product because the mold and mildew spores can make consumers very ill. This caution is true for products containing aloe vera, just like any other expired food products.
So does aloe vera go bad? Unfortunately, it does. But, as we have discussed, there are plenty of tricks and tactics you can use to extend the shelf life of aloe vera products.
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