How Long Does Bottled Water Last?

Learn how to tell when water gets bad and how much time we can keep it safe to drink

Learn how to tell when water gets bad and how much time we can keep it safe to drink

Water seems to be the last product we can think of as the one that is able to spoil or have any expiry date at all. However, if you take a closer look at any bottle with this liquid in a supermarket, you will see it has an expiration term. Why is that? Does it mean water, too, can become bad?

In this article, we will try to solve this mystery and provide you with the most recent data regarding the issue.

How Long Does Bottled Water Last For?

If we think of the shelf life of bottled water, there will hardly be a person who knows for sure how much time this liquid will last if bottled and sealed. And indeed, there is technically no such thing as bottled water lifespan since it can be stored indefinitely. On the other hand, for the better quality of the liquid, it is recommended to make use of the non-carbonated aqua within two years after the bottle was purchased.

As for the sparkling type of it, it is best to be consumed within one year after you bought the tank in which it is kept.

However, despite such an answer, people keep on asking questions regarding water storage, and such an interest can easily be explained. See, water in bottles is a long way past just being popular or trendy, today it is an irreplaceable part of our lives. All over the globe, the number of people increases who do not trust the liquid that runs from our taps. It is already proved that such water is not safe for drinking, and even boiling does not make the situation much better! 

For this very reason, most of us either go for the filtered option or buy water in bottles of different volumes hanging upon our needs. And if it is all clear with filters that are usually installed on the taps, the bottled alternative still causes questions and concerns. 

So we suggest everyone take into consideration some basic tips and rules regarding this liquid and its storage nuances.

How long does bottled water last after being opened?

If we talk about plain bottled liquid, it is best to finish an opened bottle within three or four days. It does not mean that the liquid will spoil right after that term ends, but it will indeed absorb some carbon dioxide after a while, and that may affect its taste, not in a good way.

It is mostly for this reason that the majority of water-producing companies put expiry dates on their bottles, not because their content can literally become bad.

Also, this is the cause why we should refrigerate an opened bottle of aqua if we know we will not be able to finish it within the recommended period of time.

How Long Does Bottled Water Last For

On the other hand, things are somewhat different regarding all other types of this liquid, such as flavored water, carbonated, or vitamin one. Since they have certain additives, those expiry dates become handy and we must stick to them when opening the tank since when being kept unsealed for too long, the liquid may lose some of its positive qualities.

How long does bottled water last unopened?

Let’s say clearly: if we keep it correctly (which means we keep it away from the direct light and any heat-producing sources like the oven or radiators), aqua is able to last indefinitely, both plain and sparkling. But for better results, always try to keep it in a cool place like the fridge or a cellar.

How long does bottled water last in the fridge?

Refrigeration is highly recommended for water-keeping purposes since it allows protection of the liquid from any unwanted quality fluctuations. For ensuring that the liquid has optimal quality, keep it chilled for as long as five days the longest. It does not mean that it will turn bad right on the sixth day, but its taste and overall quality will start degrading slowly.

How long does bottled water last in the cooler?

With coolers, everything is a bit different. See, when we put an opened bottle of water on a cooler that is regularly sanitized, such liquid will last for up to twenty-one days, keeping its highest quality.  

How long does bottled water last after the expiration date?

Technically, the United States Food and Drug Administration does not have strict regulations or terms regarding the water storage duration or time limits. Bottled water can be safely consumed after its expiry term runs out if the liquid was stored properly and has no signs of its quality degradation. 

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Photo by Ibrahim Rifath

However, since we are talking about the liquid that is kept in plastic tanks, and plastic, as we all know, tends to degrade over time and emit harmful elements into what in kept in it, it is strongly recommended to make use of bottled water within two years (still aqua) or one year (sparkling aqua). 

To be brief, all this information can be presented in a more laconic form:

  Pantry Fridge
Water unopened 5 years and more
Water opened 3-5 days
Water unopened(sparkling, vitamin,flavored) 3 months after the best-by
Water opened(sparkling, vitamin,flavored) 2-3 days

So as you can see, water basically has an everlasting period of use. Nevertheless, for ensuring you are drinking the safe and high-quality liquid that will cause no harm to your health, better make sure you finish each bottle in time.

Does Bottled Water Go Bad?

Does bottled water expire? This question appears each time we see those expiry date numbers on the bottles with this liquid in supermarkets and stores. But do these water expiration dates really matter that much?

Well, some of you may say that in the wild, water can spoil and become bad and impossible to drink. And you will be right since different microorganisms can indeed turn this liquid into a completely useless mess. 

However, since we are talking about the bottled version, such risk is highly unlikely to appear. Water itself is not known for being prone to any sort of spoilage. Nevertheless, what we must be concerned about is the tanks it is kept in.

Can Water Go Bad?Can Water Go Bad?

Plastic, this is what can lead to expired bottled water since this material can indeed degrade over time and emit harmful elements into what is kept in it. But also, not all kinds of plastic are safe as they are. It is good if your water is kept in BPA-free tanks, but what if not? Ordinary plastic bottles are not meant for long-term storage!

Also, take into consideration that all other types of aqua, such as flavored, sparkling, or vitamin will have expiry date because of the additives they contain.

Why Does Bottled Water Expire?

As we already mentioned above, there is only one chance for bottled water to expire: when something goes wrong with the tank. If the bottle is made of a low-quality plastic or it was kept under the improper conditions (for instance, in a too hot space or under the extended exposure to sunlight), there is a chance that plastic will start emitting some nasty elements that may indeed influence the quality of the liquid not in a good way.

In this case, it will be more correct to speak of not water expiration but of its quality degradation since its taste will change and some off odor may appear showing that some wrong process took place.

What Happens If You Drink Expired Water?

What Happens If You Drink Expired Water

Well, we all know what can happen if we drink bad water in the wild. Stomach infections, diarrhea, nausea – and this is not the complete list! However, you should not expect anything like that when it comes to bottled water!

It is very unlikely that one can get poisoned when drinking water from a plastic tank that was kept in it for a bit too long. The worst that can happen is that you sense weird taste or smell, but we bet in this case you will not want to even give that liquid a try.

Does Water Expire? Possible Signs to Pay Attention To

Can water expire? We already figured out that it can’t. However, if improper storage in a low-quality tank took place, you may notice some unwanted changes, and those are better to be aware of:

  1. off smell of the liquid
  2. worsening of its taste
  3. any strange or suspicious about the bottle itself (mold-like stuff, greenish touch on its walls, slimy traces, etc)
  4. any contaminants
  5. cloudiness
Does Water Expire Possible Signs to Pay Attention To
Photo by Huseyin Akuzum

If you spot any of those, better get rid of that liquid and get some fresh one. Such water may not necessarily be expired water, but it will definitely not be tasty.

How to Store Water Correctly

Aqua is the sort of liquid that needs no special terms of storage, and still, it is better to refresh those basics that can help us to keep the liquid delicious and fresh longer.

  • keep the tank with it always sealed unless you need to drink it
  • stock aqua in a cool and dry spot
  • opened bottles are better to be chilled
  • opt for pantry or fridge, but kitchen cabinet will also work well if it’s not too hot in there
  • always keep the opened bottle screwed tightly
How to store water for emergencies (containers and places to put them)How to store water for emergencies (containers and places to put them)

Like that, the liquid will stay drinkable longer and preserve its freshness and taste.

So now you are aware of the shelf life of bottled water, and know everything about bottled water expiration terms and nuances. Make sure you keep it right, and you will never have any issues with keeping this liquid at home.

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ How long does bottled water last in the fridge?

About four to six days.

⭐ How long does bottled water last in the heat?

Better use it within two years after the purchase.

⭐ How long does bottled water last after opening unrefrigerated?

From two to three days.

⭐ How long does bottled water last on the shelf?

The storage term is indefinite.

Written by
Elisa Chan
She is a passionate cooker because of her education she loves to make healthy and delicious dishes. She is happy to share with us her proper freezing and storing tips to keep all the nutrients. Currently working on easy to implement storing food guide.
Or editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here.
How to store water for emergencies (containers and places to put them)How to store water for emergencies (containers and places to put them)
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