Does Water Expire?

We drink water every day, both tap water and bottled one. But still, every now and then you find a hidden bottle of water sitting around for who-knows-how-long. That’s when we ask, does bottled water go bad?

You may have noticed an expiration date printed on the packaging. Currently, most types of bottled water manufactured would have an expiration date.

However, this can be a bit misleading and may cause you to wonder whether water is safe to drink after the expiration date has passed.

Should you worry?

Bottled water can expire

Though water itself doesn’t expire, bottled water often has an expiration date.

This is because plastic can begin to slip into the water over time, contaminating it with chemicals, such as antimony and bisphenol A (BPA).(source)

Though it’s not required, this is why bottled water are usually printed with an expiration date. Over time, we drinking plastic, which can slowly collect in your body and negatively affect your health.

Once you open the bottle, it’s best to finish it within a few days. Over time it will absorb some carbon dioxide, and then you’ll notice a change in taste. That’s why many sources recommend finishing the bottle within 3 days and actually refrigerating the bottle.

Does tap water go bad?

Tap water can be stored and consumed for up to 6 months with minimal risk of adverse side effects as long as it has been stored properly.(source)

However, tap water that has been carbonated can become flat as the gas slowly escapes from the liquid, resulting in changes in flavor.

Regular water can also develop a stale taste over time, which is caused by carbon dioxide in the air mixing with the water and making it slightly more acidic.

Though these types of water may have an off taste, they’re still generally considered safe to drink for up to 6 months(Differs in certain places).

If preparing tap water for storage, use cleaned and sanitized food-grade water containers. Label them with the filling date and indicate that they contain drinking water. Store the containers in a cool, dry, and dark place for up to 6 months.

How To Store Water

You should store an unopened bottle of water in a cool and dry area. The kitchen cabinet is probably the best choice, but any other cool cabinet works too.

That would apply for all kinds of bottled water out there, including flavored, vitamin, and carbonated. If you prefer to drink it cold, feel free to keep it in the fridge instead.

Once you open the bottle, first and foremost you need to remember to seal it tightly when not in use. Second, you can store a half-open bottle of plain old water at room temperature, but all other types are much better off in the fridge.

If you’re storing some tap water in case of emergency, use large bottles and change the water every month or so. It’s not like it’s going to spoil or anything, but tap water stored for a long time tends to taste quite bad.

Bottled Water lasts for2+ Years2+ Years
Flavored Water lasts for9 Months9 Months
Vitamin Water lasts for9 Months9 Months
Sparkling Water lasts for1+ Years1+ Years
Coconut Water lasts forDepends on packaging & preservatives1 Year
Sparking Water lasts for2-3 Hours2-3 Days
Bottled Water lasts for2-3 Hours3-5 Days
Coconut Water lasts for2 Hours24-48 Hours

Please note that the periods above are estimates and for the best quality only.

How To Tell If The Water Is Bad

There usually aren’t any clear signs that water is bad. It doesn’t magically turn yellow or brown, so you need to rely on your senses and common sense.

Start with examining the contents of the bottle. If there are any contaminants or milkiness, throw it out.

Next, give it a good sniff and if it smells off, discard it. The last thing to do is to taste a small amount and decide if it’s good enough or not.

When it comes to good practices, if the bottle is open for much longer than the periods outlined above, discard the water for safety reasons. Chances are it’s perfectly fine, but you can’t be sure of that, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.


So, long story short: No, water doesn’t go bad.

Expiration dates are usually used to identify the date, bottling company, and other information. Even though the expiration date itself is meaningless in terms of water going bad, the manufacturing information could be useful in tracking down contamination, bottling errors or product recalls.

While we drink water multiple times a day, there are still at least a few things you might be not aware of. Perhaps you read an article somewhere about plastic leaking carcinogens if the bottle sits in a car. Or that freezing water can make it toxic somehow.

But practicing proper storage techniques and finishing it within a few days can help reduce the risk of side effects and ensure that your drinking water is safe.

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