Bottled water comes in handy owing to its convenience. Most folks trust it more than tap water. Having a crate or two at home can also save you in case of unexpected emergencies.
Does bottled water have a shelf life? How long does bottled water last? I am sure you may never have pondered on such questions. However, like any other consumable item, its quality can deteriorate.
Check out how long bottled water lasts in different conditions.
How Long Does Bottled Water Last? (Unopened)
Commercially packaged bottled plain water can last indefinitely. This is if the bottles remain undamaged.
You may have unopened bottled carbonated or sparkling water. In such a case, use within 1 year. On the other hand, unopened flavored water is best used within 8 – 12 months.
The U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) supports this by stating that bottled water does not need a shelf life date.
However, since it is a consumable item, government regulations stipulate that the bottles come with an expiration date.
You can know the expiry date of plastic bottles or any other bottle – inspect all sides of the bottle for a printed date. This is important because plastic does expire. Being aware of the date enables you to dispose off the bottles and prevent leakage of chemicals into your water.
How Long Does Bottled Water Last? (Opened)
Once opened, consume bottled plain water as soon as possible. Refrigerate the contents. Always seal the cap tightly before refrigerating. When stored that way, it remains in good quality for up to 5 days.
As for flavored water, use within 4 days. On the other hand, opened bottles of sparkling water loses the carbonated effects quickly. Use within 1 – 3 days.
How Long Can Water Be Stored At Room Temperature?
The conventional room temperature is taken as 68℉ (20℃). There is no harm is storing bottled water in such conditions.
You can store unopened bottles as long as you need to use. However, once opened, transfer into the fridge.
Does Water Expire In Glass Bottles?
We are all familiar with the classic plastic bottles. However, there are other materials used in bottles that are worth mentioning:
- Stainless steel
In case you have glass bottles, there are numerous advantages to this:
- Glass is non-porous, hence the water won’t absorb odor or strong smell.
- Glass is classified as BPA and BPS-free. This means that your water won’t become contaminated with these harmful elements.
As such, water stored in glass bottles will typically last longer and remain in good quality, compared to water stored in let’s say aluminium.
How Do You Store Bottled Water Long Term?
- Store in a cool and dark area.
- Store away from potentially toxic materials as well as strong-smelling items. These can be cleaning products, gas or mechanical oils. This prevents contamination and absorption of scent, which prolongs the shelf life of bottled water.
- Due to environmental awareness, production of thinner and lighter bottles is on the rise. The downside to this is that the bottles are more susceptible to dents and breakage. As such, store bottles away from human traffic to minimize breakages.
- Keep away from direct sunlight or heating appliances. When water bottle is exposed to high temperatures, it runs the risk of causing degradation. The chemicals from those plastic bottles can seep into the water, impacting the quality of water.
- Besides sunlight, avoid exposing bottled water to extreme elements like snow, rain and smoke.
- Store in a raised surface, not directly on the floor.
- Avoid storing water in bulk. In case you do so due to water shortage, keep rotating the bottles. In addition, opt for sizable bottles that you will exhaust once.
- Never use water bottles for other contents. It is tempting to want to use empty bottles for juices, smoothies, soap solutions, etc. Once you do this, do not use them to store drinking water.
- Keep the bottles tightly sealed at all times. This prevents entry of contaminants.
- Refrigerate opened bottles to maintain quality.
Does Bottled Water Expire?
Whereas water has an indefinite shelf life, various factors can shorten its lifespan.
When answering the questions, “How long is bottled water good for?”, or “How long is it safe to store bottled water?”, take these factors into consideration:
- Type of bottle used – Poor quality of bottles affects quality of contents.
- Material of bottle used – Materials such as aluminium easily rusts, hence be on the look out. To counteract rusting, it is usually lined with plastic. Besides this, some are lighter or prone to denting and breakages. Also, the shelf life of water stored in plastic bottles depends on whether the plastic has BPA, BPS or not. Always go for BPA, BPS-free plastic bottles.
- How packaging was done – Always purchase from reputable, certified vendors. Nowadays, plenty of quacks exist to amass profits from selling sub-standard items to unaware buyers. Anyone can package and sell water from creeks, streams or rivers.
- Storage – Poor storage and lack of sealing the bottles leads to entry of contaminants.
How Can You Tell If Bottled Water Has Gone Bad?
Can bottled water go bad? Sure, like with other natural items, prolonged storage can alter the state of this precious commodity. Here are a few pointers to look out for:
- Cloudy, hazy appearance. With time, appearance may change for one reason or another. Use it for other purposes rather than drinking or cooking with it.
- Off odor or taste. Don’t ingest such liquids.
- Floating particles as well as mold. Discard it right away.
- Overstayed unopened bottled water tends to lose oxygen, hence develops thicker viscosity. Use it for other chores.
For quality purposes, most packaged water comes with a “best by” or “best before”. After such expiration dates elapse, you can safely use it as long as you have run the mentioned tests.
Special Water Facts
Here are some interesting facts that you might want to know.
- Did you know that up to 40% of the bottled water that people consume actually originated from tap water? Most people assume that bottled water comes from a different source but that isn’t always the case. Different brands of bottled water have different standards, of course.
- It takes three times more water to make a plastic bottle than the plastic bottle can hold. Also, seventeen million barrels of oil are used to produce plastic bottles every single year.
- A huge chunk of water available on earth is undrinkable, nearly 98%.
You now know that bottled water can go bad due to numerous reasons. Water itself certainly doesn’t have a shelf life. Even so, exercise caution when handling bottled one to avoid drinking potentially harmful chemicals.