How Long Does Bottled Water Last Once Opened And Not Refrigerated?

Have you ever bought bottled water in the past? Chances are that you not alone. Most people usually prefer to purchase bottled water as it is deemed to be safe and clean for drinking. Whether you are travelling or hiking, buying bottled water will go a long way in keeping your body hydrated throughout the journey. However, if you have checked at the bottle with this liquid, you will notice that it has an expiry date. Unlike other liquids, water is the last product that you can ever think that it will get spoilt anytime soon. Contrary to that opinion, it is important to note that bottled water usually have an expiry date and has to be consumed within a specific time period once you open the bottled water. Since the issue of the expiry date is still a mystery to some, we shall take a closer look at how long bottled water last once it has been opened and not refrigerated.

How Long Does Opened Bottled Water Last?

Once you purchase bottled water, chances are that you will open and start the water present. It is important that you start consuming the water as soon as possible. If you are not in a possible to finish all the contents of the bottle, you should refrigerate that water. Before you refrigerated the opened bottled water, you should ensure that you tighten the cap well.

If you store this water properly, be sure that it will still be good even after 5 days are over. In case you had purchased flavored water, it is advisable that you drink it within a period of 96 hours. If you had opened a bottle with sparkling water, remember that it usually losses the effect of carbon almost on the go. In this case, it is advisable that you drink this water within a period of 1 to 3 days.

How Long Does Bottled Water Last In The Fridge?

Keeping bottled water in the fridge is one of the best ways of increasing the shelf-life of your water. Like we have mentioned above, bottled water will last between 3 to 5 days in your refrigerator once you open it.

However, if the bottle is not opened, it can last up to 12 months. More importantly, if the bottled water is subjected to excess heat and air, be sure that the water will get spoilt within 2 months or even less.

This is because plastic bottles usually retain their composition whenever they are put in a cool and dry environment. In most cases, you will see the ‘Keep in a cool and dry place’ notice on the bottle packaging. Therefore, a fridge is one of the best places to store bottled water.

How Long Does Bottled Water Last While Put In A Freezer?

Keeping your bottled water in the freezer will go a long way in extending its shelf-life drastically. This is because this water can remain in a good condition up to 11 years. Technically, this water will be safe to drink, regardless of the period you choose to take it. However, freezing the bottled water might have its own shortcomings.

For instance, you will alter the composition of the bottle that came with the water. Consequently, the taste will change. Besides this, the water might expand in the freezer, thereby prompting the plastic bottle to burst or explode.

For optimal results, you should consider emptying the bottled water in a stainless steel container or glass. By doing so, you will be able to maintain the much-needed quality and freshness over time.

How Long Does Unopened Bottled Water Last?

Ideally, water can last for ages without going bad. In fact, commercially packaged bottled water can last for many years without getting spoilt. However, the bottle has to remain in a pristine condition. As far as the shelf life of bottled water is concerned, you will note that the U.S Food and Drugs Administration claims that bottled water does not come with an expiry date.

However, since this product ought to be consumed by human being, the government regulations usually stipulate that it has to come with an expiry date. Typically, unopened bottle carbonated water usually have an expiry date of one year. However, if the water is flavored, it is ideal to be used within a period of 8 to 12 months. If you have purchased non-carbonated aqua bottled water, it is imperative that you take it within a span of 2 years.

To determine the expiry date of bottled water, you should feel free to inspect all the side of the bottle. Here, you will be able to see a printed date on one side of the bottle. With these details on your fingertips, you will be able to know whether the water present in the bottle is safe for drinking or not.

How Can I Determine If My Bottled Water Has Gone Bad?

The last thing you would ever wish is to realize that your bottled water has gone bad. Typically, plastic bottles that has water usually star leaching chemicals that were used to make them. To put this into perspective, these plastic bottles are usually made of either polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or high-density polyethylene (HDPE).

Once these bottles are exposed to high temperatures, these chemicals can start seeping into the drinking water itself. Consuming these chemicals can be detrimental to your health. All these effects can affect the freshness of your bottled water. Here are a few signs that your bottled water has gone bad:

  1. Taste: One of the obvious things that will change is the initial taste of water that you are used to. Unlike the previous fresh taste, this water will have a ‘plastic’ taste. Technically, this water will have an artificial taste. This is a clear indication that the plastic bottle has started to deteriorate and thus chemical leaching has already started.
  2. Mold: If you keep bottled water in a place that has food items, chances are that you will find molds inside the crevices of the bottle’s mouth. In case you detect this, it is advisable that you discard that bottle of water and look out for a new one.
  3. Smell: Typically, bottled water has no definite smell. However, if you open the bottled water and notice a characteristic smell, like that of plastic, chances are that the bottle as started to break down. The good news is that it is very easy to distinguish this smell from the rest. If this is the case, chances are that chemical leeching has already began.
  4. Viscosity: Bottled water that has overstayed usually tend to lose their oxygen over time. Consequently, the water starts becoming more viscous. If you notice that your bottled water is more viscous, you can consider using it for other purposes such as cleaning or washing clothes.

Factors Affecting The Expiry Date Of Bottled Water

Although bottled water has an expiry date printed on the side of the bottle, there are some factors that can either shorten or lengthen its lifespan. Some of these factors include:

1. Type of bottle used

Different bottled water comes in different kinds of bottles. Some of these bottles are of high quality, while others are of low quality. If your bottled water has a high-quality bottle, be sure that your water will not expire fast. On the other hand, if your bottled water has a low-quality bottle, chances are the bottle will start deteriorating fast and thus affect the water sooner than you expect.

2. Material used to make the bottle

Materials such as stainless steel hardly last and thus can store water for longer period without going bad. However, if your bottle is made of plastic, chances are that chemicals used to manufacture the bottle will start leeching into the water and thus affect its quality. If you do not get bottles made of steel, consider going for those made of glass. Better still consider going for BPA, BPS-free plastic bottles.

3. Storage

The way you store bottled water will determine whether the water present will expire fast or not. For optimal results, the bottled water should be stored in a cool, dry place. Besides this, you should ensure that the bottled water is well sealed so as to keep contaminants at bay.

4. Packaging

As we speak, we have a proliferation of bottled water vendors in the market. Although some of them package the bottled water well, there are some who do not pay attention to such issues. Instead, they are after amassing profits from unsuspecting customers. 

To be on the safe side, you should purchase this water from reputable vendors. Better still, these vendors should be certified. By doing so, you will avoid purchasing bottled water that has been packaged from rivers, streams and creeks.

What Are The Best Ways To Store Bottled Water?

By now, you may be wondering how you can store bottled water so that it can remain fresh for longer. The following are some of the ideas that can help you get started:

1. Keep the bottled water away from heat and light

One of the best ways to lengthen the shelf life of your bottled water is by keeping it away from element such as light and heat. If you have to keep this water in a cabinet, you should ensure that it is devoid of these elements.

This is because heat and light are some of the leading elements that enhance the deterioration of plastic bottles. Keeping these elements at bay will go a long way in making bottled water remain fresh for longer.

2. Refrigerate the bottled water

Apart from keeping bottled water in a place devoid of light and heat, you should consider keeping the bottled water in a fridge. More importantly, if you have opened the bottled water, you should not hesitate to refrigerated it as soon as possible. As you refrigerated the opened bottled water, you should ensure that you tighten the cap.

3. Use chiller ice packs

In most cases, most people buy bottled water whenever they are traveling to different destinations. If you are traveling and are planning to purchase bottled water, ensure that you carry a number of chiller ice packs with you. You can place them on the car decks, alongside the bottled water so as to keep the water as cool as possible.

4. Avoid storing bottled water outside

If you have to store bottled water outside, do not forget to use a piece of cloth to cover the bottles. For optimal results, you should try to reduce the amount of light as much as possible.

5. Rotate the bottle every now and then

Although keeping the water bottle in a stationary place is important, there is a need for you to rotate the bottle regularly. Besides this, you should avoid storing water in bulk. If you have to store water in bulk due to water shortage issues, always remember to rotate the bottles every now and then. This tactic has proved to be very effective in maintaining the freshness of stored bottled water.

6. Store bottled water in glass bottles

Although you may purchase bottled water in plastic bottles, you can go ahead and then put the water in a glass bottle. As we speak, there are many bottles that come with the glass structure.

Unlike the plastic bottles, these ones hardly leech. This makes them a perfect solution for anyone who want to store bottled water for a longer period. Besides this, these bottles are strong as they come with a firm base. Therefore, they can last longer than their plastic counterparts.

7. Consider using stainless bottles and flasks

Besides using glass bottles, you can consider going the traditional way. To put this into perspective, you should consider using stainless steel bottles. Currently, we have thermal and non-thermal stainless steel bottles.

Depending on your needs, you should choose the bottle you want and store the bottled water. The good news is that these bottles will ensure that the temperature of the water is maintained for longer. Consequently, this will go a long way in lengthening the shelf-life of the water.

8. Keep the water away from toxic materials such as strong smelling items

For instance, if you have mechanical oils, gas or cleaning products, you should not keep bottled water close to these items. This is because these items might contaminate the bottled water over time. Consequently, this will affect the shelf-life of the bottled water.

Final Words

It is no secret that bottled water offers much-needed convenience as it is able to keep us hydrated for the better part of the day. Just like any other packaged consumable, this product has an expiry date. If you know that you will not finish the contents in the bottled water, it is imperative that you store the water in a cool, dry place. Better still, refrigerate the water and consume it within 5 days or thereabout. If this method does not work, consider the other methods we have mentioned in the last section of our article. By doing so, you will maintain the freshness of your bottled water for longer and reduce chances of getting ill.