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Incense is a popular commodity among the culturally enthused. Both at local events we sell incense at, as well as our online store, Reed’s Handmade Incense, the question of how one should store their newly acquired incense often comes up. In the below section we are going list a compilation of tips and best-practices.

♦ Keep in mind the style of incense in which are you trying to store. Incense with less oils and a more natural composition are typically less volatile, and thus will likely offer a longer shelf life, and be less prone to degradation.

♦ It’s important to protect your incense from the many elements of nature. Heat, moisture, and sunlight are all detrimental to the fine qualities that are inherent to many incense styles. Avoid light and humidity. Refrigeration is not recommended due to the possibly moist environment it provides. Vacuum sealing may or may not be a good idea, depending on what type of incense you are going to store. We generally do not recommend it.

♦ Many high quality incense sticks are laden with oil. Sometimes these smells can cross-contaminate the smells of other surrounding incense sticks. We recommend storing any expensive varieties in their own container and away from other varieties. Incense manufacturers often test their packaging to make sure that they provide an adequate storage environment. Unless you are using a specially tailored container to store your incense, or have advanced expertise, we would recommend you store your incense in it’s original packaging.

♦  Make sure that the location where you store your incense is not made from aromatic wood such as pine or cedar. Mothballs are also known to foul the smell of incense sticks and it is best to keep these away from your treasured material.

♦ Paulownia boxes are commonly used to store incense in Japan. These beautiful wood boxes are known to swell with heat and humidity and form a protective barrier to protect the incense from humidity. These are reusable and quite innovative in design. We consider this to be one of the best ways to store your incense.

♦ Some high quality incense sticks, such as ones made from aloes-wood, or some fine Indian renditions may improve with age. Sometimes herbs, flowers, and other compounds can smell harsh when fresh. Aging can help mellow these traits and allow for a more enjoyable experience.

♦ Some incense, most notably Indian, may actually improve with some aging.  Strong oils, plants and spices can mellow and the ingredients can more thoroughly combine or “gel” with time.

If you’re looking for a good incense stick to try, we recommend Shoyeido Moss Garden.

To make a long story short, incense is typically best stored in either paulownia boxes, or it’s original packaging, and be sure to keep it away from sunlight, heat, and moisture. We’re confident that if you follow these tips that your incense will last longer and save you money.