Can Bottled Water Go Bad

Most people turn to bottled water after exercise or while on the go. Bottled water in larger containers is also a good choice when building up a stock of fresh water at home for bugging in. However, you may notice an expiration date on the plastic bottle and find yourself asking, can bottled water go bad? Is my water going to spoil somehow?


The answer is that it depends on your definition of water “spoiling.”


In this quick post, we will look into whether bottled water expires.

Does Water Spoil?

Generally, you don’t need to be concerned with the water itself inside the plastic bottle as water is a substance and can never truly spoil. However, plastic bottles will degrade over time and will release chemical substances into the water. Therefore, the expiration date does not apply to the water itself but rather to the container, the plastic bottle.


Furthermore, plastic water bottles are typically made of either high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and when they are exposed to excessive heat, sunlight or stored long enough in a hot vehicle, the plastic may release harmful contaminants into the drinking water itself—fostering bacterial growth and creating a risk of diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting. 

How Long Can You Keep Bottled Water?

The FDA does not require a shelf life for bottled water since water will remain clean indefinitely. But still, the recommended shelf life is two years due to plastic degrading over time. Moreover, the FDA recommends choosing BPA-free bottled water to avoid the hazards of toxic chemical exposure when consumed. 


If you were to drink old bottled water, you may notice a distinct difference in taste compared to newly bought bottled water. The taste of the water changes over time, whether it is sealed or opened, as small amounts of outside air still enter inside the bottle. Although a change in taste is not a health hazard, you may still want to avoid it considering the chemical substances produced by degrading plastic.


Opened bottled water, won’t last longer than the sealed bottled water. Therefore, it is recommended to refrigerate it to prolong its shelf life.

Unfiltered Truth

See what we did there? Anyway, as you can see, the water itself does not expire. The expiration date applies only to the plastic bottle which it may contaminate the drinking water by the time the expiration date rolls around. The shelf life of bottled water depends on the environment it is kept in, so you must make sure to store bottle water in a cool, dry place away from direct exposure to high heat or sunlight.