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How Long Does Bottled Water Last & What Are Best Storage Options For Long Term?

Bottled water is one of the most popular beverages. It is because water has a lot of health benefits and absolutely no side effects. It is cheaper and readily available.

People look for buying bottled water for various reasons. Some buy for their home or daily purpose or some buy when they are traveling or camping.

If you are wondering how long does bottled water last, a shelf life of bottled water depends on upon the way it was packed.

Provided the bottled water is manufactured and sealed according to FDA guidelines, it can last for as long as two years or even more.

Sealed and packed water comes with an expiry date. I will tell you why; in the later section.

Water does not contaminate on its own. It needs an external resource to spoil bottled water.

If you have filled water in a bottle, then it’s shelf life depends on upon the quality and purity of water. Also, if that is kept in direct sunlight and unfavorable conditions, it might get unpalatable.

In normal conditions, pure water filled in a bottle lasts for 4-8 hours. If it is refrigerated, it can last up to 4-5 days.

How long does bottled water last after opening it?

Once you open the sealed bottled water, it lasts not more than 4-8 hours. That depends on upon what condition and environment you are into.

The bottled water won’t get spoiled if it is left in cold and dark place. If you are keeping it in harsh sunlight, make sure you consume it before 4-5 hours.

However, if you are traveling or camping, you might need to make the shelf life of bottled water, longer. It can be done with a few techniques. I will be talking about them here.

With some storing bottled water hacks, you can survive a little longer than the shelf life. After opening the bottles, make sure every time it is capped or corked tightly.

Can bottled water go wrong?

Can Bottled Water Go Wrong

Bottled water can go bad if not kept in favourable conditions.

Also, if the water is not manufactured according to FDA guidelines, some chances bottled water may get spoiled sooner than expected.

If you are using the standard tap water and bottling it, then it’s shelf life is questionable.

Scientists say that pure water never expires. This is true unless it is packed and bottled. Once it is bottled in plastic or any other container, there are chances for it to get contaminated.

Water storage bottles are made of polyethylene terephthalate majorly. It is not the water that is of concern, but the bottle.

Chemical leaching may happen in harsh sunlight. Also, water takes the taste of its container after a period. But it is not necessarily contaminated if it tastes that of a container.

Polyethylene terephthalate is porous in nature because of which, it gives a taste of plastic to water.

Having said that, if the water feels good, not necessarily it is uncontaminated. So be cautious.

Why does bottled water come with an expiry date?

Like I have mentioned before, water does not have a said expiry date as such. But certain factors influence the expiry date of bottled water.

The primary reason being, government regulations and laws. Every consumable product has to have a defined expiry date. Water comes in consumable product and thus, the expiry date.

Secondly, although the water does not expire, the bottle does. Plastic bottles which contain water, start leaching chemicals after a period.

This doesn’t necessarily make the water toxic, but if a consumer lodges a complaint against the water bottle manufacturer about taste, the manufacturer will be answerable.

Thirdly, majority or almost all the water manufacturers also manufacture other beverages like soda. They have fixed machines for labeling and packaging.

The stamp they use for expiry and other things is same as they use for water. Taking pains of manufacturing a different patch for bottled water is the last thing they want to do.

What happens when water is consumed after expiry date?

According to FDA, bottled water is safe for any duration in time till it is properly sealed and unopened.

However, water bottle manufacturers are permitted to use an expiry date on the bottle. This time is indicative of the quality, not safety.

By this, I mean, after a long period, water stored in a bottle might taste different, but it is still safe.

So, if you have missed the expiry date and you are deserted with expired and unopened water bottles, you can very well rely on them to survive.

It might just taste different or that of plastic. But, it will not be that toxic to your body. Once in a while, it is okay. Avoid doing this repeatedly.

How to store bottled water to extend its shelf life?

Bottled Water Storage

Make sure the bottled water is properly capped every time after use. It is the best way to prevent water from getting contaminated.

A good way to increase the shelf life of bottled water is by refrigerating it after use.

If you are out on a camp or road trip, you can carry chiller ice packs with you. Keep them on the car deck or anywhere suitable.

Not only can you store water this way, but any other beverage that you are carrying. Especially if it is sunny, take the ice packs and increase your bottled water’s shelf life.

Scientifically, cold temperatures are not that favorable for bacteria to grow in water. Also, in lower temperatures, plastic bottles don’t leach.

Is it safe to freeze bottled water?

Refrigerating bottled water is a great idea to improve its shelf life but freezing it is not.

Freezing bottled water would lead to leaching of chemicals from the plastic bottle when brought to normal temperature. Avoid freezing your bottled water.

Instead, add ice inside the bottle and make it chilled instantly.

When you are at home or workplace, it is comparatively easier to preserve bottled water or get a new one. Concern arises when you are traveling or out on a camp.

Far away in the no man’s land, your camp won’t give you the luxury of fresh bottled water availability.

So if you are planning a camping or trekking trip, make sure you have enough bottled water and safely stored.

Best Water Storage Options For Long Term

Apart from the techniques to increase the shelf life of bottled water, you can also use special bottles during outdoors.

There are special techno bottles that allow you to preserve water or purify water on the go.

Below are some of the options of water storage bottles that you need to get your eyes on, right away.

  • Water bottles with filter
    One great option to filter water on the go is carrying reusable water bottles with the filter. There are some popular brands in this segment. You can try and test these bottles before taking them out with you. This is how, even if you get consumed with your bottled water, you can anytime filter new water.
  • Glass bottles
    There are some bottles on the market that come with a glass structure. Glass base has a significant advantage that is, they don’t leach. Unlike plastic, you can store water in them without worrying about the fact that they will be harmful like plastic bottles. Bottles that come with a firm base are safe and durable.
  • Stainless steel bottles and flasks
    Instead of going the traditional way of storing water in plastic bottles, try stainless steel bottles and containers. Using insulated flasks will give you an edge of keeping the temperature of water maintained and maintaining it’s shelf life. There are bottles that are nonthermal and stainless steel and also, thermal. Choose according to your suitability.
    Apart from these bottles that I have mentioned above, you can also use portable and foldable bottles. They require less space and can be filled whenever you want. Increasing the shelf life of bottled water is one thing while you should also know how to filter water on the go. It will help you particularly in camping and outdoor trips or treks.
    If you are a camper, you need to note the below hacks of filtering water quickly and hassle free.
  • Portable filters
    You can carry portable water filters while also keeping with you, sufficient bottled water units. This will allow you to filter water as and when you need. So in case you are about to exhaust the bottled water stored already, you can add to the post storage filtration. It is easy and handy. Look for popular brands in the market and buy.
  • Boiling
    Needless to mention, boiling water is always a solution when you are outdoors or even indoor. It is a safe option but time-consuming. If you are left with no option, try boiling water. Only thing, carry sufficient portable bottles to keep the water stored.
  • Chemical tablets
    There are certain chemical tablets available in the market that kill harmful bacteria. However, they are incapable of killing a particular type of microorganisms and don’t work well in freezing water. So, use this technique only if you are not left with any other option in the world, and you are in a dire need of water.

Hope this helps in clarifying your concerns!

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Kay - September 14, 2018

Is water cooled before bottling or is it bottled while it is hot?

Molly Kay - October 8, 2018

We were affected by Hurricane Harvey August 2017. Donations of bottled water came in hundreds. I ended up with two pallets of bottled water. We stored on in our garage and have finally used it all. The second pallet is behind garage covered with a tarp. It that water still good to drink? Thank you for your attention to my question. Molly Kay..


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