bottled water go bad

Does Bottled Water Go Bad? The Facts About Expiration

Quick summary: No, bottled water does not go bad in the same way that perishable foods do. Bottled water does not have an actual shelf life, but it often comes with an expiration date due to legal regulations and the potential perishability of plastic bottles.

You’ve probably at least once wondered why bottled water has an expiration date. Is water perishable? Can water get old? We bring everything you need to know.

Just like other products, bottled water has an expiration date or at least the best by date written on the package. This is partly due to legal regulations in many countries that require bottled water manufacturers to place a shelf life on each product, including water. So bottled water companies follow that rule.

The second part is that water is mostly packed in plastic bottles, and they can be more perishable over time than water itself. However, if you have a package of recently expired water, you don’t need to worry. The drink is probably still very correct.

How Long Does Bottled Water Last?

Immediately clear up the dilemma, water does not have an actual shelf life, and it should not spoil in a way that causes digestive problems. We are talking, of course, about pure water. The one with flavors or other contents is not the same as pure water. Nevertheless, certain guidelines for durability exist due to the surrounding circumstances.

Tap Water

You can also save tap water for later use. It should be drinkable and good for health for the next six months, provided you store it properly. True, the taste of bottled drinking water will probably be a little pale, but the liquid is healthy.

Natural Bottled Water

Purchased bottled water in a glass bottle will have a significantly longer shelf life than what is written on the packaging. However, if it is a plastic water bottle, it would be good to follow the instructions. Namely, the plastic may start to melt over time, and the substances will enter the water. Therefore, even though with unopened bottled water, the plastic itself will make it non-drinkable and unhealthy.

Sparkling Water

Carbonated water will have the same duration as ordinary non-carbonated water from a bottle. The only difference is that carbonated water will lose the strength of the bubbles over time, so the taste will be blander.

Can Water Expire? Signs to Tell

Water as such should not become unhealthy to drink even if it stays for a long time. However, what may worry you is that the plastic bottle has lost its stability over time, and certain chemical compounds have gotten into the water. In which case, the water may indeed be unhealthy to drink.

So how long is bottled water good for? Here are some signs that your water gets old and should be thrown away:

Sign 1: Discoloration 

Water is a clear and pure liquid, so any change in color or some particles’ appearance will mean that something is wrong. If you notice something strange in your cristal water, discard it.

Sign 2: It smells funky

Any unpleasant odor will mean that the water is no longer correct. The only change that can happen to water over time is that it becomes a bit bland in taste, but it shouldn’t have any foul smell.

Sign 3: The bottle is strangely shaped

It rarely happens, but it is possible. When packaged in plastic bottles, harmful gases can sometimes develop, or the bottle will be distorted if it has been exposed to a heat source. In any case, if you see protrusions on the plastic bottle, it is safer to spill the liquid.

What Is The Best Way To Store Bottled Water?

Although the method of storage plays an important role in preserving the quality of water and its longevity, storage tips are not complicated at all. They boil down to the usual recommendations when keeping food or drink.

Tip 1: Avoid heat or direct sunlight

One of the basic rules of storing bottled water is to avoid sun exposure but also all other potential excessive heat sources. Plastic water bottles do not behave well when exposed to heat. Always keep water in a cooler place and preferably in a dark place.

Tip 2: Avoid chemicals 

Most bottled water brands are a bit permeable by nature. So it is good to keep water where you keep other food, and never near chemicals or cleaning agents.

Tip 3: Seal the water bottle after use

This is more of a preventative measure to avoid particles from the environment from getting into the water. So always put the cap back on and close the bottle.


Is it OK to drink expired water?

Yes, expired bottled water is generally safe to drink if the bottles are properly sealed and the water appears clear and has no odd smell or taste. However, over time, the quality of the water might degrade, affecting its taste and freshness.

Can out-of-date bottled water make you sick?

No, out-of-date bottled water is unlikely to make you sick if it was stored properly and the bottle is still sealed. Water itself does not typically spoil like perishable foods. However, its taste and quality might be compromised over time.

How long is an open gallon of water good for?

An open gallon of water can remain safe to drink for about 2 to 3 days when stored in a cool and clean environment. After this time, it’s recommended to use it or replace it to ensure its freshness and quality.

How long can bottled water sit out before it goes bad?

Bottled water can sit out at room temperature for an indefinite period without going bad, as long as the bottles remain sealed and undamaged. However, its taste and quality might start to decline over time.


Water is truly the elixir of life and an essential drink you can secure. Therefore, it is not surprising that in every crisis situation, as we saw at the beginning of the pandemic, people reach out to procure large supplies of water.

The good thing is that water can last a long time, especially if you store it in a cooler and darker place. We recommend that you buy water in glass bottles for safety as it can certainly provide longer-lasting quality. But, if you used to drink water from small plastic bottles, they will endure just fine as well.

See more: Does Orange Juice Go Bad?

*image by borjomi88/depositphotos

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