How Long Do Carts Last Until They Go Bad?

by Apr 23, 2024Vape Carts0 comments

Without a doubt, finding a great deal on vape cartridges is one of the happiest things that can happen to you as a vaper. Vape carts are so potent that even with moderate usage, a single cartridge can potentially last weeks before it runs out of oil. Naturally, you’ll want to take advantage of that fact by stocking up – and that means you’re likely to have a question: How long do carts last until they go bad?

The good news is that vape carts can potentially last a very long time. You can usually expect a cartridge to last a minimum of six months, but it’s not uncommon for people to use cartridges up to two years after buying them with little to no loss in potency.

The bad news, though, is that you’re not going to get the maximum possible potency out of a two-year-old cartridge unless you store it correctly – and that’s what we’re going to discuss in this article.

If you want your cartridges to last two years, how do you need to store them? More importantly, how can you tell if a cartridge has gone bad and needs to be discarded? Those are the things you’re about to learn. Let’s jump in.

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How Long Do Vape Cartridges Last?

Vape cartridges can last anywhere from about six months to two years with no discernable loss in quality if they’re stored properly. On average, though, you should plan to use a pre-filled cartridge within about a year of buying it. Some manufacturers put expiration dates on their boxes, so you should always check the boxes for dates if you’re planning to buy some cartridges that you intend to store for a while. If there are no dates, note when you purchased them and try to use them within a year.

How to Store a Vape Cartridge for Maximum Shelf Life

The main enemies of any vape cartridge are heat, light and oxygen. Exposure to any of those things will hasten the demise of the cartridge. The oil in the cartridge will oxidize and become rancid, and the active compounds in the cartridge will degrade into less potent compounds. To slow those processes down as much as possible, here’s what you should do.

  • Leave the cartridge in its original package until you’re ready to use it. The box that a cartridge ships in helps to protect the cartridge from light and air. It’s also common for vape cartridges to ship with silicone caps on their tops and bottoms, which helps to prevent leaking and further limits air exposure. As soon as you unpack a vape cartridge, the clock is ticking – so don’t put a cart into long-term storage after you’ve already removed it from the package.
  • Store vape cartridges in a cool, dark place that’s climate controlled and protected from heat and light. It’s a good idea, for instance, to store your cartridges in the back of a high cabinet that’s rarely used. Storing your vape carts in a closed cabinet keeps them away from light, and it also helps to ensure that the cartridges can’t be accessed by pets or children.
  • If you have some vape cartridges that you don’t plan to use for a long time and don’t live in a household with children, consider putting the cartridges in a refrigerator. Keeping a vape cartridge very cold helps to slow the molecular processes that cause the oil to degrade. This can greatly extend the cartridge’s life.

If you buy bulk oil for filling your own cartridges, you should also consider storing it in your refrigerator to preserve its potency. Just remember that vape oil becomes extremely viscous when it’s cold, so you may find it difficult to fill a cartridge until you’ve allowed the oil to warm up a bit.

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How to Tell if a Vape Cartridge Has Gone Bad

Suppose you have an old vape cartridge that you’ve just found in the back of a drawer. You can’t remember when you bought the cart, and you definitely haven’t stored it properly. What are the possible signs that the cartridge may have gone bad?

The Cartridge Looks Extremely Dark

Start by checking the cartridge’s color. It’s normal for the oil in a vape cart to darken slightly over time because there’s no way to stop oxidation completely. The cartridge’s original golden hue will turn to more of an amber color and may eventually become somewhat brown. If the oil is extremely dark, though – almost verging on black – it’s very likely that oxidation has caused the oil to turn rancid. In this case, using the cartridge would probably be unwise. It definitely won’t taste good and could even make you feel unwell.

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The Cartridge Looks Cloudy or Has Particulate Matter

You should also examine the oil in the cartridge closely by shining a light through it. Vape oil should always be translucent. Has the oil turned cloudy, or can you see particulate matter in the cartridge? In either of these cases, it’s likely that the vape cart has a bacterial or fungal contamination, and the microbes have multiplied inside the cartridge. This can happen if the cartridge wasn’t properly sterilized, or the oil was produced in unsanitary conditions. You definitely don’t want to inhale microbes – especially ones that are capable of multiplying in an anaerobic environment. If a cartridge looks cloudy or has particles floating in it, you should throw it away.

The Cartridge Doesn’t Taste Right or Makes You Feel Strange

If an old vape cartridge looks fine and you want to try using it, you should pay close attention to the way the cartridge tastes and makes you feel. If you don’t feel right, don’t use the cartridge; you’re obviously not going to have a good experience with it anyway. If the vapor smells musty or tastes off, it’s possible that rancidity has begun to set in. Once again, you should throw the cartridge away in this case because rancid oil is the last thing that you want to inhale.

Stored properly, you can expect a cartridge to last months or even more than a year and still give you a great experience when you decide to use it. If you find an old cartridge that hasn’t been stored in the right way, though, it’s important to exercise caution because you don’t want to inhale any compounds that could potentially be unsafe. If a cartridge doesn’t look right or taste right, you should discard it because the experience won’t be worth the risk.


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