Does Linseed Oil Expire? Expert Answers.

Linseed oil is a popular oil used in many woodworking, painting, and finishing projects. Because of its longevity, it’s often bought in large quantities, but it can take some time to go through it all, leading many to ask the question: does linseed oil expire?

What is Linseed Oil?

Linseed oil is a type of oil that is derived from flax seeds. It has been used for hundreds of years as a drying oil in many different industries, including woodworking and painting. Because it dries quickly and can penetrate deeply into wood and other porous surfaces, linseed oil is a popular choice for many DIY and professional projects.

Does Linseed Oil Expire?

The short answer to whether linseed oil expires is yes. All oils, including linseed oil, will eventually go bad. However, the shelf life of linseed oil can be extended by proper storage.

How Long Does Linseed Oil Last?

On average, linseed oil will last up to two years if stored properly. After two years, it may start to go rancid or become sticky and thick. However, this can vary depending on the conditions in which it is stored.

How Do You Tell if Linseed Oil has Gone Bad?

There are a few signs to look out for to determine if your linseed oil has gone bad. Here are a few:

  • The oil has become thick and sticky.
  • The color of the oil has changed to a darker or murky hue.
  • The oil smells rancid or off.
  • There are slimy or moldy bits floating in the oil.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to dispose of the linseed oil properly and replace it with a fresh supply.

What Happens if You Use Expired Linseed Oil?

If you use expired linseed oil, the final finish may not look as good as if you had used fresh oil. Expired linseed oil can also make the final product feel tacky or sticky. Additionally, it may not have the same drying and hardening properties, leading to a weaker finish.

How to Store Linseed Oil to Extend Its Shelf Life?

Proper storage of linseed oil is key to extending its shelf life. Here’s how to store linseed oil properly:

  • Keep the oil in a cool, dark place.
  • Store the oil in an airtight container.
  • Avoid exposing the oil to heat and direct sunlight.

By storing the oil correctly, you can extend its shelf life and ensure that it’s ready to use when you need it.


Linseed oil does expire, but its shelf life can be extended by proper storage. Look out for the signs of rancidity, and dispose of the oil properly if it has gone bad. By following these tips, you can ensure that you always have fresh linseed oil at hand for your next project.


Q. Can I use linseed oil that’s been sitting in my garage for more than two years?

A. It’s not recommended to use linseed oil that’s been sitting for more than two years, as it may have gone bad. It’s better to dispose of the oil properly and replace it with a fresh supply.

Q. Can I store linseed oil in plastic containers?

A. It’s best to store linseed oil in glass or metal containers that are airtight. Plastic containers can absorb some of the oil and affect its quality over time.

Q. Can I mix fresh linseed oil with expired oil?

A. It’s not recommended to mix fresh linseed oil with expired oil, as the quality and properties of the oil may vary. It’s best to use fresh oil for the best results.


1. “Linseed Oil.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 17 Dec. 2021,

2. “How to Tell if Vegetable Oil is Bad: 7 Signs.” Healthline, 23 Jan. 2019,

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