How Long Does Bottled Water Last?

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Water is a vital nutrient that is essential for our health and well-being. Since approximately 60% of our body is made of water, we require a lot of it. That being said, it doesn’t take long to notice the effects of dehydration. Staying hydrated keeps us energized and alert. It also nourishes our organs, flushes out waste, and supports cell growth.

Many people have preferences when it comes to drinking tap or bottled water. In certain situations, bottled water is the best option. For example, its convenience makes it ideal for athletes that need on-the-go hydration. It’s also great at community events, where large groups need access to water.

Moreover, some people are weary of tap water chemicals and feel bottled water is the safer option. Others simply prefer the taste of bottled water. Not to mention, having bottled water available can (literally) be a lifesaver in times of emergency.

But how long does bottled water last? Here’s everything you need to know:

Does Bottled Water Go Bad Overtime?

Smiling women buying water bottle

Maybe you’ve stockpiled an emergency stash of bottled water in your basement and are wondering how long it will last.

Technically, water doesn’t go bad, but plastic bottles can. Over time, bottles are subject to degradation. If kept under ideal storage conditions, however, bottled water can remain fresh for several years.

There are a few factors that can influence the shelf life of bottled water. One such factor is the type of plastic used in the bottle. Some plastics can leach chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) into the water, potentially affecting its taste and safety. That’s why choosing BPA-free bottles is important to help mitigate this risk. Exposure to sunlight and heat can also compromise the quality of bottled water. One study found that leaving bottled water at the temperature of 167 degrees Fahrenheit for five days rapidly accelerated the leaching of microplastics and chemicals. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to keep bottled water cool and away from hot areas like the trunk of your car.

Why Do Bottles Have Expiration Dates?

Woman checking water bottle expiry date

The FDA doesn’t require bottled water to have expiration dates. Instead, they leave it up to the manufacturers to choose whether they want to include them. This is because, as mentioned, water never technically spoils.

Some manufacturers choose to put expiration dates on the bottles to ensure quality standards are met, and not necessarily for safety reasons.

For the most part, the dates serve as an indication of when the bottle was produced and a recommended timeframe for optimal freshness.

The bottom line is that when water is consumed within the recommended period, it’s at its highest quality and tastes the best.

How Long Does Bottled Water Last After Opening?

Drinking bottled water - santa cruz, ca

After opening bottled water, the shelf life decreases due to the increased risk of contamination. Although there’s no definitive answer to how long opened bottled water lasts, consuming it within four to six days is generally recommended.

When the seal on a water bottle is broken, it becomes susceptible to airborne contaminants and microorganisms. Touching the bottle’s mouth or cap can also introduce bacteria, which multiply over time. To minimize these risks, always handle bottles with clean hands and try to avoid touching the mouth of the bottle.

To prolong the freshness of opened bottled water, be sure to store it in the refrigerator. This slows down the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. Always remember to consume the water as soon as possible for optimal quality. Like most foods and beverages – the fresher, the better!

Storage Guidelines for Extended Shelf Life

Water bottles in shelf

Weeks, months, and even years down the line, you shouldn’t have to worry about the shelf life of your bottled water. Instead, there are steps you can take to ensure it stays high-quality, fresh, and safe.

Proper storage is key. To avoid leaching and contamination, keep your water in a cool, dark, and dry place. It should always be kept out of direct sunlight and away from heaters. If possible, place bottles in sanitized containers to reduce the risk of bacteria growth. Never freeze water bottles because harmful chemicals are released in the thawing process.

Are Plastic Water Bottles Safe to Reuse?

Certain types of plastic are generally safer to reuse than others. To check for what type of plastic a bottle is made of, look for a triangle with a number in the middle. Most water bottles are made of polyethylene terephthalate, which is labeled “1.” WebMD advises that if thoroughly washed, these bottles might be okay to use twice.

However, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Older, used bottles are more likely to break down and release chemicals into the water. Since the plastic in water bottles is porous, bacteria can build up in the bottle over time. 

All in all, it’s recommended not to use water bottles twice, especially if the plastic contains BPA. If it’s the only option, be sure to wash the bottle with soap and warm water thoroughly. It’s important to note that bacteria growth is a larger concern than chemical leaching due to the immediate health risks.

Signs of Spoiled Bottled Water

There are tell-tale signs to look out for that indicate bottled water is no longer safe or pleasant to consume.

Spoiled water has a distinctly off-putting odor and taste. There could be a stale or musty flavor. Be sure to avoid drinking water that has a moldy, foul, or chemical-like odor. The appearance may be off as well. If you notice cloudiness or discoloration, this is a sign of unwanted bacterial growth.

Other factors to consider are bottle and storage conditions. Inspect the bottle for any cracks, leaks, or broken seals. Damage to the bottle leads to a higher possibility of microorganism growth. Moreover, if water is not stored correctly, its quality may be compromised. Always consider if the water has been in direct sunlight or high temperatures before consumption.

If you notice any of these signs, don’t take your chances. It’s always best to be safe and avoid consuming possibly contaminated water.


So, how long does bottled water last? Well, if stored correctly, it never truly goes bad! It’s important to remember proper storage to make the most of your bottled water. Always keep bottled water away from sunlight or heat, be weary of harmful BPA, and inspect the water bottle for spoilage before consuming. By following our guidelines, you can have fresh water for years to come.

Bottled Water Directly to Your Doorstep

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Crystal Springs Water Company has been bottling premium quality water for residents and businesses of the Bay Area for over fifty years. We are located near our private protected source of spring water in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Learn more about our services today, and schedule fresh bottled water delivered directly to your home or business.