Does Kerosene Go Bad? You’ll Be Surprised You Didn’t Know This

You have most likely wondered if fuels ever go bad or if they last forever. Fuels go bad after some years, and this includes kerosene, which is not as volatile as other fuels.

So, before you stock up on kerosene against an emergency need for your heater or lamp, you should read this article.

Below are answers to your questions on the shelf life of this fuel and storage tips that can help you store it properly.

What is kerosene?

Kerosene is a flammable liquid. It is one of the products of the fractional distillation of crude oil.

This fuel is a combustible oil that has found great use in homes. It is used in heaters and lamps in many homes.

Furthermore, it cannot be associated with any color other than a pale-yellow appearance or no color at all in some cases. Also, the fuel has a pungent smell that makes it easy to detect leakage in a room.

Does kerosene go bad?

Yes, it does. Kerosene will go bad after some years.

Another factor that determines how fast the fuel goes bad is how it is stored. When this fuel has stayed for too long, it will no longer be flammable due to condensation.

This condensation adds water to the fuel and dilutes it. Also, when it has stayed for too long, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and algae.

In addition, the fuel may not go through condensation before it goes bad. It could be due to the exposure to oxygen, which, in turn, oxidizes the fuel to gum.

Does kerosene go bad like gasoline?

No, it does not.

Kerosene is not as volatile as gasoline, so it keeps longer than gasoline. However, you must store the fuel in an airtight container.  

Does kerosene go bad with age?

Yes. Kerosene goes bad when you store it for too long.

The fuel begins to degrade after some years. This is why it is not advisable to stock up on it because you may not need it in months.

What is the shelf life of kerosene?

The shelf life of kerosene is two to five years.

Unlike what you used to think, the fuel will not last forever. If it stays beyond this period, it could be bad for the heater or lamp.

However, if you want to extend the shelf life of the fuel, add a stabilizer to it every year.

How to tell if kerosene is bad

  • The fuel begins to smell like diesel or gas
  • Pour some of the fuel into a glass jar and examine for cloudiness and bubbles in the fuel
  • Likewise, any sign of mold growth in the fuel is a sign that it has gone bad and you should throw it away
  • In addition, check the body of the container for the best-by date. It can also give you information on the state of the fuel
  • Bad kerosene has bubbles in it
  • When this fuel goes bad, it develops sludge, which can in turn damage the heater or lamp

How to store kerosene

  • Store the fuel in airtight containers
  • Also, store the fuel in opaque plastic containers
  • Keep the fuel away from sunlight
  • Containers should be kept in a well-ventilated place
  • Don’t store the fuel in lamps or heaters


Can you use kerosene that has gone bad?

Yes, you can but conditionally.

Some parts of bad kerosene will remain fit for use. Pour the top part of the fuel into another container and discard the bottom part that has bubbles or water droplets, dirt, debris, and maybe sludge.

How long does kerosene last in a heater?

How long kerosene lasts in a heater depends on how much you put in it.

One gallon of this fuel will last six to eight hours in a heater. If you have had the fuel in a heater for a long time, take the heater out and let it burn until the fuel runs out.

Is it safe to store kerosene in the garage?

If the garage is the only option you have left, make sure it is a well-ventilated garage.

How long does k-1 kerosene last?

K-1 kerosene goes bad, regardless of how pure it is. It is not advisable to store this pure fuel for too long.

After many months, the fuel will condense, absorb water and develop mold and bacteria that cause problems in heaters.


Now you know that kerosene is not a fuel that will last forever. After a while, it condenses and adds water to the fuel. Consequently, the fuel is diluted and will not be as flammable as it used to be.

There are other signs to watch out for when you want to know if the fuel has gone bad. Look out for the signs, if you observe any indication of deterioration, the fuel has gone bad, and you should throw it away.

Most importantly, adopt good storage conditions for the fuel container.

Thanks for reading.

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