The Issue with Bottled Water
Many people turn to bottled water as a safe, clean, and tasty alternative to tap water. There are so many excellent bottled water options on the market that it’s very easy to keep yourself well stocked on clean drinking water for you and your family.
One questions that is most frequently asked about bottled water is “how long does it last?”. This question is the topic of our article. After all, cleanliness is the primary reason that many people buy this water in the first place. So, you want to make absolutely sure that your drinking water is safe and clean.
How Long Does Bottled Water Last?
Generally speaking, there is no expiry date for the water in bottled water itself. In fact, the FDA doesn’t even require a shelf life for bottled water. The water itself is set to remain clean indefinitely.
This being said, there are other reasons why you might not want to drink bottled water that is very old. And while the water itself may remain clean indefinitely, the bottle presents some potential issues to watch out for. For this reason, many bottled water manufacturers recommend that you keep bottled water for no longer than two years.
Below, we’ll examine some potential issues with old bottled water, and why you might want to avoid it after a certain point.
Potential Issues With Old Bottled Water
There are some issues that might make old bottled water less ideal for drinking. We’ll start with the potentially more serious issues, which can be caused by the bottle:
Chemicals in Bottle
The first major issue, and perhaps the most widely known one, is caused by the chemicals in the bottle itself. Because, as stated by the FDA, the water itself will not expire. So, any potential safety issues will be caused by the bottle.
Plastic water bottles are typically packaged in bottles which are made of either high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The point of danger with these bottles is that, upon exposure to high heats, the plastic may actually melt and seep into the drinking water itself.
Consumption of these chemicals is potentially quite dangerous, and can lead to a variety of different health issues depending on the amount consumed.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t leave bottled water sitting out in an area where it could be exposed to extreme heat. This includes – near windows on hot summer days, in the trunk of your car (or anywhere else in your car), etc. But as long as the water is not exposed to extreme heat, and is kept sealed, it should last for a long time.
The second reason that you might not want to drink old bottled water is a bit more straight-forward – taste. Simply put, the taste of water changes over time. Even sealed bottled water will be exposed to small bits of outside air. As the air mixes with the water in the bottle, it changes its taste, and not in a good way.
And while air mixed with water isn’t necessarily a health hazard, it’s probably something you want to avoid. Think of when you leave a glass of water on the counter overnight, and it has that stale, metallic, oxidized taste to it. This is what can happen to bottled water if you store it for extremely long periods of time.
This is the primary reason that most bottled water aficionados would recommend you store your water for no longer than 2 years.
Special Note: Carbonated Water
Before we wrap up this section, we’ll give a special note to carbonated water. As you might expect, carbonated water has a considerably shorter life span than regular bottled water. Water manufacturers typically recommend storing carbonated water for no more than 6 months.
The reason is that the water will become “flat”. It will lose its carbonation over time, and will no longer have the bubbly appeal associated with sparkling water.
What About Open Bottled Water?
Up to this point, we’ve focused on bottled water that has been sealed. But what about once you break the seal?
Generally speaking, opened bottle water will be good for no more than a few days. After this point, the water will mix with the air, and develop an “off” taste. It will likely still be good to drink, but you probably won’t want to!
To reuse an example from earlier in the article, imagine a glass of water that you left on the counter overnight. It develops a weird taste, and so will your opened bottled water.
Refrigeration can add a couple days to this process. But, in general, opened bottle water won’t last very long before going bad.
Storing Bottled Water Safely
As you’ve seen throughout this guide, the main factor that influences the lifespan of bottled water relates to the conditions it was kept in. To avoid any potential hazards, and to keep you bottled water as long as possible, you should be sure to store it properly.
You should store bottled water in a cool, dry place. This prevents any dangers associated with heat exposure, and also keeps the water itself from fluctuating in temperature too much.
As an added safety note, be sure that you don’t store the bottled water near any hazardous household chemicals.
Thanks for checking out our guide to the shelf life of bottled water. As you can see, while the water itself might not expire, there are still issues worth looking out for. We hope our guide has helped shed some light on this common household issue. The bottom line is that, with proper storage, your bottled water should last you a very long time.
And for more information on clean drinking water, check out comprehensive guides to the best water filters and best water dispensers on the market.