How Long Can Bottled Water Last?

Have you ever wondered whether it is safe to drink a water bottle as you can’t remember when you opened it? Well, I had that problem before, but now, I have the answer to the question: “How long can bottled water last?”. Therefore, in this article, we will go into details about the shelf life of the bottled water.

How Long Can Bottled Water Last?

In general, bottled water has been popular for years. The U.S Food and Drug Administration a.k.a FDA didn’t require a shelf life for this type of water, there is no specific number for this. That means the shelf life of bottled water is still unknown and indefinite.

How Long Can Bottled Water Last

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In fact, you will never find yourself any use-by, sell-by or best-by dates on water bottles. That is the reason why you guys want to know if water goes bad or not? Let’s get this straight, water cannot go bad itself, however, packaging and some specific environmental factors can make this happen. In other words, the shelf life of bottled water depends on how manufacturers prepare it (as not all water bottles are created equally). Besides, how its shelf life is also up to the storage method.

Remember that water is the most abundant chemical substance ever and as you all know, it’s essential to all forms of life. I believe most of us are recommended to drink 8 glasses every single day and that is what we should do to be healthy. Due to the relatively low cost and as well as health benefits, water became the most popular beverage ever. That’s why people drink it from different sources such as streams, fountains, and bottles.

Now, let’s move on to the specific numbers about how long bottled water lasts. The chart below will show you the shelf life of several types of water when stored in a proper way:

Unopened Pantry Refrigerator
Bottled water more than 2 years more than 2 years
Carbonated water more than 1 year more than 1 year
Coconut water depending on preservatives and packaging 1 year
Opened Pantry Refrigerator
Bottled water 2 to 3 hours 3 to 5 days
Carbonated water 2 to 3 hours 2 to 3 days
Coconut water 2 hours 1 to 2 days

Keep in mind that it’s a bad idea to freeze bottled water for consumption as the chemicals contained in there are harmful. In details, when boiling or freezing the water, these chemicals in the plastic bottle will leak into the water.

Actually, you can totally freeze and re-freeze bottled water (not carbonated one) for consumption in a cool or ice chest. However, you shouldn’t drink it when it is thawed. Besides, remember that almost all food and drink products in the market can’t last for a long period of time if they’re not stored in a proper way.

Nevertheless, unlike many other drinks, bottled water doesn’t have any sell-by date since it has an unknown expiration date. To be honest, the expiration dates on water bottles are voluntary and they only indicate concerns for odor and taste instead of safety. Anyways, it is important to store bottled water in a cool location, as mentioned above, or anywhere away from direct sunlight.

Other frequently asked questions about bottled water:

Besides the question “How long can bottled water last?”, there are many other questions people frequently ask about it. Here are some of them:

How can I tell if the water is spoiled, rotten or bad to drink?

How can I tell if the water is spoiled, rotten or bad to drink

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First, it is essential for you to practice proper food safety and hygiene techniques in order to prevent foodborne illness from happening.

Even though your senses are not a perfect test, they are commonly the most reliable “tool” which helps you tell whether the water is bad. However, there are several common signs of contaminated water such as a strange taste, smell or cloudiness. But, once again, in most cases, it is usually your sense of taste which can help you tell the difference.

Specifically, once your tongue touches the water, if there is something wrong with it, you will spit it out unconsciously. If you feel a chemical taste when you try the water, then it is not safe to drink it. And that is how you know the water has gone bad, sounds simple, right?

How can I store bottled water to make its shelf life longer?

This is also a common problem when it comes to bottled water. However, you just need to store it in a cool dark place or anywhere away from gasoline, cleaning products, paint thinner, and other odorous or toxic materials. This is especially important because those plastic bottles have been becoming greener and greener with thinner and lighter material. Therefore, you can easily make it stay fresh much longer by just storing it in a refrigerator right after use.

How can I store bottled water to make its shelf life longer

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Also, remember not to leave the water inside your car or in direct sunlight all day. This is because the chemicals from the plastic bottles can heat and leak into the water, as mentioned above. Thus, drinking those bottles can result in breast cancer in women as well as other types of cancer in human beings.

Why does bottled water come with an expiration date?

As I said, water doesn’t have any said expiration date. However, there are some certain factors which influence the date of bottled water.

First, we have to mention government regulations and laws. That means every consumable product must have a definite expiration date. And our water bottles are not an exception.

Second, even though water doesn’t really expire, plastic bottles do. These bottles containing water can start leaching harmful chemicals after a long time. Actually, this doesn’t necessarily make the bottled water contaminated or toxic. However, those bottles still have an expiration date just in case you lodge a complaint about the taste against the manufacturer.

Third, almost all the water manufacturers produce many other beverages like soda or carbonated water. Therefore, they have fixed machines for packaging as well as labeling. And the stamps they use for expiry things are just the same as they use on their water bottles.

Final thoughts

Now, have you got the answer to the question in the title of this article yet? The point is that it is not about the water, it’s about the plastic bottle as well as other chemicals contained in there. Therefore, just make sure you store the water in a proper way so that you can extend its shelf life.

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