You may be looking to stockpile bottled water and you may be wondering about the shelf life of bottled water. Well, this article has all the answers.
Does bottled water expire? What’s the shelf life of bottled water? Can you keep bottled water as much as you want?
While water itself may have an indefinite shelf life, this is not the case with bottled water. Bottled water has a shelf life of two years when stored at room temperature. After two years, the plastic the water is contained in will start degrading, releasing toxic chemicals into the water.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the shelf life of bottled water, how bottled water goes bad, and health issues that may arise from drinking expired drinking water. We will also walk you through the shelf life of opened bottled water, the shelf life of carbonated bottled water as well as how to store bottled water safely.
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Most people opt for bottled water as a clean, tasty and safe substitute for tap water. And, there are hundreds of brands out there, which sell affordable bottled water. Hence, you can purchase hundreds of bottles and keep yourself or your family stocked on clean drinking water for several months.
The question remains, does bottled water expire? Can you keep bottled water for as long as you want? The reality is that bottled water has a shelf life. So, before you go decide to stockpile bottled water, you should know that it may not be safe to drink at some point.
How Bottled Water Goes Bad
Water, by itself, is a natural resource. Therefore, it doesn’t have a shelf life. The issue with bottled water is the containers that it’s contained in. And in most cases, water bottles are made of various types of plastic.
With time, the toxic chemicals contained in these plastics will contaminate the water, once they are exposed to excessive heat, either inside your car or from sunlight. And once these chemicals enter the water in the bottle, they may lead to serious health complications.
Shelf Life of Bottled Water
So, what is the shelf life of bottled water? As mentioned above, the plastics used for packaging bottled water are its main contaminants. To keep consumers safe, bottled water companies usually recommend a shelf life of two years.
But, the two-year shelf life is not an accurate prediction of when the plastics used for packaging bottled water will start degrading. It can happen earlier than that, especially if the bottled water is stored in an area with excessive heat.
In short, the chemicals may already be present in the water much earlier before the two-year expiry date that you will find printed on most water bottles. So, if you purchase bottled water, always make sure you store it in a cool place, away from excessive heat.
Potential Issues of Drinking Expired Bottled Water
While bottled water may appear clean and safe for consumption, drinking it past its recommended shelf life can lead to various health issues.
As earlier noted, the chemicals present in the plastics the water is contained in will leach into the water.
And, drinking water that’s contaminated with these chemicals can lead to a wide range of health issues like hormonal imbalances, impaired immunity, developing cancers, a higher risk of metabolic disorders like obesity as well as birth defects.
As you can see, there are numerous health issues associated with drinking expired water, since it may be contaminated with plastics. Hence, for the sake of your health and wellbeing, you should avoid drinking bottled water past its recommended shelf life.
Regardless of how many liters you had purchased or how clear it may appear, you should discard it once it has passed the manufacturer-recommended shelf life.
Besides the health risks associated with drinking expired bottled water, you will notice that it has a strange taste. The strange taste that you will notice when drinking expired bottled water is caused by exposure to the air.
As much as the water may be stored in a sealed bottle, it will still be exposed to small quantities of outside air. And once the water mixes with this air, you will notice a strange taste when drinking it. At this point, the water is not safe for consumption, regardless of how clear it may be looking.
Shelf Life of Open Bottled Water
If you have purchased bottled water, you may be probably wondering how long it’s going to last after you’ve broken the seal. Open bottled water is good for drinking for only a few days.
From that point, it will mix with the surrounding air, among other contaminants. And when this happens, it will develop a strange taste. While it may be still safe to drink, it’s highly advisable against drinking it.
However, storing it in the refrigerator can help to extend its shelf life for a couple of days. But, you shouldn’t expect it to last for long.
Shelf Life of Carbonated Water
Some people prefer drinking carbonated water instead of regular bottled water. And if you happen to be one of such individuals, you may be wondering how long the carbonated water you’ve purchased may last.
Carbonated water tends to have a shorter shelf life, compared to regular bottled water. To this end, the shelf life of carbonated water is around six to 12 months, when stored at room temperature.
Drinking it after this period may not be necessarily unsafe but it will have already lost its carbonation or the bubbly appeal that comes with sparkling water. So, if you have purchased several bottles of carbonated water, make sure you drink all the water within six months.
Storing Bottled Water Safely
Without a doubt, the shelf life of bottled water is highly dependent on the conditions where it’s stored. So, if you want your bottled water to last as long as possible, you need to ensure that you store it properly, and in the right conditions.
Ideally, you should store your bottled water in a cool and dry environment. Storing it in these conditions will help to minimize the issues that come with excessive exposure.
Also, storing it in a cool and dry environment will help to keep the water cool. After all, you want this water to quench your thirst when you drink it. And if it’s warm, it’s definitely not going to quench your thirst.
In case you’ve broken the seal, then you should store your bottled water in the refrigerator, in case you won’t finish drinking it right away. Storing it in a refrigerator can help to keep it fresher for a longer period, compared to when it’s stored under room temperature.
But, regardless of how well you may have stored your bottled water, in case you notice a strange test or smell, you shouldn’t drink it. You should discard it right away. Bottled water that has a strange smell or taste is not safe for consumption.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker