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

Written by Elisa Chan. Updated on 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.

So, How Long Does Bottled Water Last? Unopened bottled water lasts for 5 years if you keep it in a pantry, do not expose it to sunlight, heat, oven, radiators, and store away from solvents and chemicals. For better qualities, keep bottled water in a cool place at maximum 71.6°F temperature, fridge or a cellar, and bottled water will last for 5 years if unopened. 

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.

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?

Bottled water lasts unopened for 5 years if kept in a pantry at 71.6°F maximum temperature, not exposed to direct sunlight or heat, oven or radiators, away from solvents and chemicals. To preserve all qualities, keep bottled water in a cool place, fridge or a cellar, at maximum 71.6°F temperature and bottled water will last for 5 years if unopened.

How long does bottled water last in the fridge?

Bottled water lasts for 3-5 days in a fridge at or below 40° F (4° C) if opened. Chilled refrigerated bottled water preserves its qualities, and will not get spoiled. To make sure the water you drink is safe, keep bottled water in the fridge for 3-5 days at or below 40° F (4° C).

How long does bottled water last in the cooler?

Bottled water lasts for up to 21 days once opened, at 71.6°F (22C) and the bottle is put in a cooler. Provided the cooler is regularly sanitized and is not exposed to direct sunlight, the bottled water lasts in a cooler for 21 days.

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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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.

How Long Does Bottled Water Last For

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.

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.

Can Water Go Bad?Can Water Go Bad?

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?

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.

What Happens If You Drink Expired Water
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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

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.

Does Water Expire Possible Signs to Pay Attention To
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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

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.

How to Store Water Correctly
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Bottled Water Storage Guide

It may seem so simple to store water in bottles! Just toss it onto the kitchen shelf or into the fridge, and forget about it until you are thirsty! However, even such liquid as water that contains no additives that can speed up its spoilage must be stored properly. And you should be aware of a few dos and don’ts that are good to keep in mind.

So if you want your bottled water to remain fresh and drinkable longer, consider adhering to the following suggestions:

  • Keep it in a cool and dry place far from any foods that have a strong smell
  • Rotate the bottle with water on a regular basis
  • Try not to expose it to sunlight long enough
  • If you store water outside, use a tent or a cover to protect the bottles from any external exposure

And of course, keep in mind a few restrictions that will prevent the liquid from worsening:

  • Never store it near heaters
  • Never store it directly on the floor or on the ground
  • Never store bottles with water close to strong odors or in areas where other contamination may occur
  • Never store bottled water where it might be exposed to extreme temperatures, both cold and hot

Even though The U.S. Food And Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates the bottled water industry, doesn’t require a shelf life for bottled water, we recommend no more than two years of storage for non-carbonated water, and one year for sparkling water. But in general, bottled water can be used and stored indefinitely if kept properly.

Bottled Water Storage Guide
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Never Risk Drinking Expired Water Again!

You might think that water can’t expire, and it is basically true. To be more precise, it is the plastic of the bottle that is getting dangerous with time! See, when water is being kept unopened in plastic bottles for too long, plastic will start dissolving into it contaminating the liquid. This will happen even faster if you store water close to the sources of heat or if the bottles are constantly exposed to sunlight.

As a result of such storage, water will be filled with harmful particles from plastic. When drinking such water, people may develop different health issues over time, for instance, reproductive problems, different types of cancer, and even heavy damages to the immune system!

This is why, instead of piling old water, we would recommend you order water delivery right to your home. You can choose how frequently it will be done so that your family always has enough water for all their needs. And moreover, like this, you will be sure that the water you all drink is safe!

Never Risk Drinking Expired Water Again!
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Chemicals In Bottle

There are several issues about bottled water that most of the consumers are worried about, and chemicals that can be found in the liquid belong to them. In fact, this is the most widely known problem and threat about “old” water!

As you already know, water itself can’t become old or spoiled. It is the bottle that makes the liquid degrade over time because plastic emits chemicals into the water under certain conditions.

Usually, the plastic that is used for packing drinkable water is either high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The danger issue about it is that, when it is heated, it may actually melt and seep into the drinking water!

And since drinking such chemically contaminated water may lead to the development of different health issue some of which are quite serious (e.g. cancer), it is recommended to ensure you store water away from heat and direct sunlight. Your car trunk, a windowsill, a corner near the stove are not the proper places for water storage!

Chemicals In Bottle
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How Long Can Water Be Stored At Room Temperature?

Since it is recommended to store bottled water in a cool and dry place for preserving its taste, most people decide to keep it in their pantries. And then another question appears: how much time will water last at room temperature?

If we take conventional room temperature as 68 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 degrees Celsius, it will be ok if you store your bottled water in a pantry or another place with proper conditions as long as the temperature is like this. However, do please note that, once you open the bottle, it must be transferred to the fridge!

How Long Can Water Be Stored At Room Temperature
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Does Water Expire In Glass Bottles?

You can often see glass bottles with water, both sparkling and still, and surely you have already asked yourself whether this sort of container influences the content shelf life. Well, let’s see what makes glass bottles better than plastic or, let’s say, aluminium or stainless steel.

  • Glass is a non-porous material which means that water in such containers will not absorb odors from outside.
  • Glass is also classified as BPA and BpS-free material. This means that your water will be protected and free from these elements.

This is why water stored in glass containers usually lasts longer and retains its quality better in comparison to the liquid from plastic bottles. However, it will happen only if you keep it properly according to the basic storage rules!

Does Water Expire In Glass Bottles
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Water is the liquid that guarantees us life. We use it for drinking and for cooking food, as well as for other needs on a daily basis. However, to make sure that the water you drink is safe, you must follow certain rules of proper storage!

We shared a few handy tips with you on how and where it is best to store your water to make it last longer, and also you learned what containers serve better for water storage. With that in mind, you will be able to pick the right place and tank for your water to stock it at home, especially if you have a big family and you buy water in batches!

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 is a passionate cook who will advise you on healthy and delicious food topics! With her help, you will discover how to properly store and freeze food, as well as learn important nuances about preserving vitamins in your meals to make them stay nutritious.
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How to store water for emergencies (containers and places to put them)How to store water for emergencies (containers and places to put them)