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How Long Does Kerosene Last Before It Goes Bad?

Kerosene is one of many different fuels, typically used for heaters or lamps in our homes. It’s a flammable liquid that’s made from petroleum. It’s quite useful, especially in the cold winter months. Like most fuels, however, it comes with its own risks and complications. Also like most fuels, you’ll typically want a more significant quantity of it lying around instead of having to go buy more for every emergency.

How long can you store kerosene, however? How long does kerosene last? Does kerosene go bad over time?

Yes, kerosene can go bad after a certain amount of time and that’s something you should keep in mind. The standard kerosene shelf life, when stored properly, is between two and five years. Keep in mind that we do mean “when stored properly” – if you are not storing your kerosene well-enough its shelf life can be even shorter than two years.

Why does kerosene go bad?

The main reason why kerosene goes bad after a while is condensation. This simple process adds water to the kerosene and dilutes it. Additionally, kerosene can also develop bacteria or mold sludge when stored that can easily live inside the kerosene and break it down.

Adding a fuel stabilizer to the kerosene once per year should keep it in a good condition for much longer – potentially indefinitely.

Kerosene storage containers

Kerosene is usually sold in containers that are also designed to store it after being opened. If you can’t or don’t want to store the kerosene in its original containers you can also use a plastic opaque container that’s specifically designed to store kerosene. Such containers are sold in hardware shops as well as online. They serve both to preserve the kerosene for as long as possible, as well as to keep in a safe manner that protects you and your home.

Keep in mind also that storing kerosene in a lamp, a heater or in another kerosene device won’t preserve the fuel for any longer – it will still last for as long as it would have in a standard container.

Simply put, whatever container you use to store kerosene needs to be specifically intended for the task, to be safe, and to be airtight.

Can you use bad kerosene?

What can you do with the kerosene if it goes bad? Can you still use it?

Bad kerosene may still be reusable to an extent although it won’t be as efficient as if it was still in good condition. You’ll have to remove the contaminants and the bad kerosene with a fresh one. You can use coffee filters to filter any sludge that may have developed in the bad kerosene and you can easily filter any water from condensation as it will be at the bottom of the container.

The resulting mixture should be safe to use but it will be less efficient than a fresh kerosene batch of equal quantity.

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