Does Boiled Linseed Oil Go Bad? [Right Way of Preserve]

We have all suffered from the confusion of not knowing whether a thing has an expiry date or not. Products without any expiry date are especially annoying. As oils are susceptible to degradation it is particularly important to know their shelf life. 

So, you might be wondering does boiled linseed oil go bad?

Just like all organic matters, boiled linseed oil goes bad over time. Without proper maintenance, boiled linseed oil dries down pretty quick. However, with proper care, it can last up to several years. You can identify when your boiled linseed has gone bad when the oil clumps at the bottom of the container. 

Still not clear? Well to clear more of your confusion regarding linseed oil we have provided an in-depth guide. Our detailed analysis of boiled linseed oil will help you out.

Let us begin, shall we?

Does Boiled Linseed Oil Go Bad?

Generally, we count anything past its expiry date or shelf life as a “bad” or spoiled product. The composition of the product also gives us an insight into how or when may the products go bad. 

Boiled linseed oil is toxic and flammable. It has metallic solvents in it that help it dry faster. Naptha, di propylene glycol monomethyl, Cobalt and manganese are the most common solvents found in it. 

Boiled linseed oil does not have any specific shelf life. With proper care, linseed oil might last for even 40 years. So an unopened can of boiled linseed oil may go a very long time before going bad.

However, boiled linseed oil does indeed go bad. As it is an organic oil, many varieties of mould fungi can grow in it. It also naturally hardens over time as it is a drying oil.

Doing things like leaving the lid open, keeping the oil in improper containers, etc can cause the oil to go bad.

How to Recognize Bad Boiled Linseed Oil

Most spoiled boiled linseed oils show some signs when their shelf life comes to an end. These signs help you to understand exactly how far your linseed oil has deteriorated. So, definitely watch out for these signs while examining your boiled linseed oil. 

Here are a few ways to recognise whether your boiled linseed oil has gone bad or not: 

Change of Colour

The first sign of deterioration of boiled linseed oil is its colour. Originally boiled linseed oils tend to be white in colour. Sometimes it can even be a shade of pale yellow. 

Over time, the colour of the oil may also change into a yellowish shade. This signifies that your oil is on the path of getting spoiled. As a result, watch out for a change in colour. 

Putrid Smell

Another sign of spoiled boiled linseed oil is its smell. Spoiled linseed oil has a bad smell that fresh oils do not have. 

Freshly boiled linseed oils tend to have a distinct smell. This smell isn’t bad necessarily.

However, over time with continuous degradation, the fresh smell of boiled linseed oil changes into a foul smell. So, this is how you can identify whether your linseed oil has gone bad or not. 

Formation of Dried Balls

The biggest tell of spoiled Boiled Linseed Oil is whether it has hardened into a little ball in the bottom of the container. When boiled linseed oil forms a big clump at the bottom of the container, it has officially gone bad. These clumps are hard and rigid. 

Overtime boiled linseed oil dries down. As a result, it forms a dry ball in the bottom of the container. 

Right Way of Preserving Boiled Linseed Oil

Right Way of Preserving Boiled Linseed Oil

Nobody wants anything they own to go bad. The same goes for boiled linseed oil. As we just learned that boiled linseed oil can go bad, we must now learn about to stop it from going bad.

Here are some of the things that you can do to store boiled linseed oils properly:

Storing in a Moderate Temperature

Boiled linseed oil remains the best when it is stored in moderate temperatures with humid weather. So, boiled linseed oil must be stored at a temperature of 6°C or higher. 

Cold temperatures usually dry down any organic products, So, storing boiled linseed oil in temperatures lower than 6°C will dry down the oil faster. As a result, it promotes the degradation of boiled linseed oil. 

Storing in Metal Packaging

Boiled linseed oil remains the freshest when it is stored in the metal packaging it comes in. Storing it in other plastic containers will accelerate the degradation process. It’s ideal to not move around boiled linseed oil.

Though the oil may be used in plastic cups, it must never be stored in any plastic container. The metal container it is packaged in is suggested for storing. After using boiled linseed oil, simply pack it up in the metal packaging it came in. 

What to Do with Old Linseed Oil?

Spoiled Boiled Linseed Oil has no use and must be disposed of. The disposition process is dangerous due to the oil’s flammable nature. But its highly flammable nature makes it a good fire starter for wood stoves. 

The same flammable property can be used in multiple ways. The old linseed oil may be collected to help as incendiary components.

Boiled linseed oil must not be poured down the drain. Proper instructions for disposing of hazardous waste must be followed. The containers containing boiled linseed oil must also be disposed of properly.

Rags used for boiled linseed oil must be disposed of carefully as well. Throwing these rags in the trash with wood dust, newspaper or any other kindling is the lead cause of fires related to boiled linseed oil.


Do boiled linseed oil and linseed oil have the same shelf life?

No, boiled and regular linseed oil does not have the same shelf life. Regular linseed oil degrades faster than the boiled version. 

Is spoiled boiled linseed oil toxic?

Yes, spoiled boiled linseed oil is toxic and should be thrown away immediately. Dispose of the spoiled linseed oil in an airtight bag that is separated from the rest of your trash. 

How to store boiled linseed oil?

Boiled linseed oil should be strictly stored in the metal packaging that it comes in. While using you can use plastic containers but refrain from storing them. 


With that, we’ve reached the end of this segment. We hope you’re clear now regarding does boiled linseed oil go bad?

Boiled Linseed Oil is a toxin-free organic oil. So like all organic matter it does go bad. Over time the polish even fades away. But proper care can make the oil last for a long time.

Until next time!

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