How Long Can You Store Bottled Water in Your Home or Store?

Water is essential for health. Apart from helping the organs function correctly, it carries nutrients around the body and helps supply oxygen to the brain. The European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA) provides that men and women should drink water daily, depending on their age and weight.

The average weight of an adult human body is made up of 60% water, and the blood carries 93% of it.

Bottled water is widely consumed because of how handy they come. So, how long can you store bottled water? If this has been your concern, here lies your answer.

Does Bottled Water Go Bad?

Of course not. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration asserts that bottled water storage limit is indefinite if stored properly. Bottled water can stay fresh and healthy for as long as possible. However, there are prerequisites to that. 

Does Bottled Water Go Bad

So, does bottled water go bad? The water in itself does not go bad, but the plastic it is enclosed in may go bad. Most plastics are made of chemicals that might cause the water to taste less fresh. These chemicals seep into the water over time and are unsafe for ingestion.

To preserve the freshness of the water, it is recommended that bottled water be stored in a cool and dark place, away from direct sunlight. More so, once bottled water is opened, the countdown begins. This is because as soon as bottled water is opened and drank from, it becomes susceptible to germ penetration. As long as contaminants are present in the water, it becomes unsafe for consumption after a while.

The effects of drinking contaminated water may not show immediately. The harm is in regularly drinking contaminated water.

So How Can You Tell If Your Water Has Become Contaminated (Gone Bad)?

Though storing water is important, if stored for a long time, or fetched from already contaminated sources, it can result in diseases. To know if your water is contaminated, look out for these telltale signs:

Unclear - Ideal water that is safe to drink must be clear. Unclear water usually looks cloudy. Though this may not necessarily mean that the water is unhealthy, it could be a sign that there are unsafe chemicals present in the water.

  • Slimy - If you stored your water in a tank and it turns slimy, it is a sign that your water has excess calcium and magnesium. They can also be a pointer that your water is contaminated with metals like manganese, lead, and aluminum. The presence of these metals can be very harmful to the body if consumed.
  • Metallic taste - Rusts in a metal water storage container makes the water have a salty taste. It shows the presence of lead in the water. Exposure to lead can cause anemia, weakness, and can damage the kidney and brain.
  • Fishy smell - When a well is used as a water storage extension, hydrogen sulfide gas present in well water can make it have a fishy smell. This smell may develop because of the chemical reactions with soil and rocks. It may also be as a result of sulfur bacteria present in the well, which helps other bacteria like iron bacteria grow. Hydrogen Sulfide in well water can make your water slimy, and contain black stains, and this can be very harmful to health.
  • Algae formation - Algae are blue-green, yellowish-brown, or red-colored bacteria that have no roots. They can grow in fresh, stale, and stored waters and are harmful to health if consumed. 
  • Invisible contaminants - Other stored water contaminants may be invisible to the naked eyes. So, the only way to know if the water is contaminated is to get them professionally tested.

How Long Does Bottled Tap Water Last?

Deciding to store water for times of emergency is crucial. Most times, instead of purchasing already bottled water, people prefer instead to bottle their water themselves to save costs. The shelf life of this water depends on the packaging and where the water is stored.  So, how long does tap water last in plastic bottles? 

How Long Does Bottled Tap Water Last

Water can be stored in containers like glass, barrels, or plastic bottles. The container used determines how safe the water will be over time. Storing water in plastic bottles and barrels is excellent, but it can have a negative effect on water and health. This is because most plastics are made of chemicals like bisphenol A, which over time, leaks into the water. Regularly consuming this chemical, now mixed with the water, can negatively affect health.  

To extend the tap water shelf life, the water should first be treated to remove all contaminants. Then it should be stored in a cool and dark place. Bottled water storage time can last up to two years, whereas tap water can only be good for approximately six months if treated and stored properly.

How Long Can You Store Water in a Refrigerator?

There is nothing more comforting than drinking chilled water on a very hot day. Of all the methods utilized in storing water, the refrigerator is one to be trusted, except you reside in a place where power outage is frequent.

How Long Can You Store Water In A Refrigerator

Using a refrigerator to store bottles of water keeps them cool and ready for drinking. Water stored in the refrigerator can last forever. 

Water swells when frozen. Therefore, you will have to pour some out first before putting the water into the refrigerator in the bottle came in.

Although refrigerating water helps retain its freshness, water in the bottle releases tiny air bubbles, thereby making the water taste less fresh. So, to avoid this, water stored in the refrigerator should be thrown away and replaced with fresh water every six months.

How to Treat Questionable Water

Questionable water is water that is not trusted to be free from impurities. If you are concerned about how pure your water source is, you can treat it before storing by:


In the absence of bottled water, boiling water is one of the most reliable ways of ridding water of contaminants. But, if the water is gotten from an unreliable source, you may need to consider filtering out the solid particles in it first. Boiling also helps in improving water taste. To boil your water:

  • Pour water into a clean pot and set it on your stove.
  • Bring the water to a boil for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Allow the boiled water cool naturally. 
  • Store in clean containers with lids.

Chlorine and bleach are chemicals that disinfect water by killing the most harmful bacteria and viruses in water. However, if the water is already contaminated with chemicals, adding more chemicals will not make things better.

Adding chlorine in water can rid the water of bacteria, but can also be poisonous if used in large amounts. Unscented bleach, such as Clorox, is as good as chlorine and can be used the same way for water purification. However, ensure they are stored at room temperature. Chlorinated water should be consumed within one year of storage; the fresher, the better! 

To treat clear tap water with chlorine or bleach:

  • Get a clean dropper.
  • Pour your water into a clean container.
  • Add 6 to 8 drops of bleach or chlorine to one gallon of clear tap water. 
  • Mix the drops with the water well.
  • Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes.
  • Pour into clean containers with lids.
  • To treat cloudy tap water with chlorine and bleach:
  • Use a clean dropper.
  • Pour the cloudy water into a clean container.
  • Add 16 drops of chlorine or bleach to a gallon of water.
  • Mix the solution properly.
  • Let it sit for 30 minutes.
  • Pour water into clean containers with lids.


Turn the water into clean and sterilized containers with lids.

Distillation is purifying water through condensed steam or water vapor. It helps eliminate contaminants like heavy metals from water. According to USA Today Classifieds, distilled water is the cleanest water to be used at home. Distillation also helps prevent water-borne diseases and infections.

  • To make distilled water, you will need:
  • A pot and round pot lid
  • Glass or metal bowl that can float inside a pot
  • Ice cubes
  • Clean and sterilized containers with lids
  • To make distilled water:
  • Filter the water to remove solid particles from the water.
  • Add water to the pot till it is partly full.

Set the glass or metal bowl in the pot (the size of the bowl is essential in preventing water from returning into the main container).

To enable the water vapor to rise to the lid and drop into the bowl inside the pot, the pot lid should be positioned upside down. 

Turn on the heat under the pot.

Set ice cubes on top of the lid to help turn the steam to liquids that can easily fall into the bowl.

Once done, turn the heat off and carefully remove the bowl of distilled water.



Filters are systems that rid water or bacteria like Cryptosporidium. The best filters are those that have pores that are tiny enough to remove these bacteria. Filter screens coated with carbon do not just eliminate chemicals in water but also improve the water taste. Iodine coated filter screens, on the other hand, helps remove the remaining viruses from water.

More so, filtered water can be disinfected to kill the remaining viruses and bacteria. Water filters need periodic cleaning to enhance the quality of purification.

How long is it safe to drink bottled water after opening?

How long is it safe to drink bottled water after opening

It relies on some factors –

  • Is there fluoride contain in your bottled water? Bottle water having fluoride can kill the majority of bacteria introduced after the bottling system, like for your mouth, for which we apply it in toothpaste and water, to begin with. Some purists like to get bottled water without any fluoride. In such case water defense from bacteria and the UV sterilization which kill bacteria at the time of bottling process.
  • Is the cap of your bottle is tight? If it happens, any bacteria introduced into the bottle of the mouth will dissolve oxygen and finally die. Your water tastes from the shortage of mixed oxygen but surely safe to consume. As uncapped for a short time, you can expose your water to an environment like airborne bacteria as well as insect born particularly mosquitoes and flies stopping by a drink to lay eggs.
  • Have you kept water under the sun like a hot car? It has to undergo UV sterilization like bottling plant performed and can taste warm as well as stale and gross, but this is very safe to drink.

Preparing Sanitary Containers

Decide just how much water to put away. The average individual wants 1 gallon (4 liters) of water every day, half for ingesting and a half to get food preparation and hygiene.

Increase this amount to 1.5 g (5.5 L) per individual or more for kids, nursing mothers, and ill folks, and for anybody in a sexy or high-altitude climate.

Based on these amounts, attempt to store a two-week supply to your household. In the event of an emergency evacuation, save a three-day supply in readily transportable containers.

  • By way of instance, 2 healthy adults and one kid need (1 gallon or 3.8 g / adult) x (two adults) + (1.5 gal or 5.7 g / kid) x (1 kid) = 3.5 gallons (13.25 liters) daily. A two-week supply of water to this family is (3.5 g or 13.25 g / day) x (14 times) = 49 gallons (185.5 liters). A three-day supply could be (3.5 g or 13.25 liters/day) x (3 times) = 10.5 gallons (40 liters).

Contemplate bottled water. In regions that govern bottled water, such as the U.S. and E.U., sealed bottles of water are sanitary and will remain good forever. Should you go this route, you don’t have to be concerned about choosing appropriate containers or draining water.

  • These demonstrate that the product has met quality and safety criteria. [4] That is important in states which don’t govern bottled water.

Select containers. Plastic food or drink containers marked “HDPE” or using a #2 recycling symbol are great choices. Plastics #4 (LDPE) and #5 (PP) will also be safe, like stainless steel.

Never reuse a container which held anything other food and drinks and utilizes new empty containers if they’re marked “food secure,” “food grade,” or using a fork and knife emblem.

  • Fruit juice and Milk leave residue that’s hard to eliminate and promotes bacterial growth. Don’t reuse containers which held these beverages.
  • Glass jars are a last resort as they can easily split into a catastrophe.
  • Traditional unglazed pottery jars cankeep water cool in hot climates.

Avoid containers made of harmful plastics. Start looking for the identification code on plastic bottles, which generally is made up of the number printed near the recycling symbol. These substances can be hazardous to your wellbeing.

Wash the container completely. Wash them with soap, and sexy water then wash. If a container formerly held food or beverage, disinfect it using a few of the following approaches:

  • For stainless steel or heat-safe glass, submerge in boiling water for 10 minutes and one minute for every 1,000 feet (300 m) of altitude over an elevation of 1,000 feet (300 m). This is the very best way of steel because chlorine bleach may corrode the metal.

If your tap water isn’t safe to consume or should you receive your water from a well, disinfect it before storage. The very best approach to do so is to deliver the water to a rolling boil for 1 minute or 3 minutes in elevations over 5,000 feet (1,000 m). [13]

  • If You Cannot boil the water, or Don’t Want to Drop water by cooking it, then bleach is your next best choice:
  • Double the quantity of bleach, when the water is cloudy or discolored.
  • Allow the water sit for 30 Minutes.
  • If you can’t smell a peppermint odor, repeat therapy and let sit different minutes.
  • In an emergency, it is also possible to disinfect modest quantities of water purification tablets.

Filter contaminants out. Boiling or chlorine will destroy germs, but they won’t get rid of lead or heavy metals.

  • Creating your filter from ordinary materials is possible. While not as powerful as a commercial filter, then it is going to eliminate sediment and some toxins.

How Many Bottles of Water Are in a Gallon?

A gallon is a unit used for measuring fluids like gas, water. It is divided into three categories:

How Many Bottles Of Water Are In A Gallon

Imperial Gallon

The imperial gallon is mostly used in the U.K. and has four quarts. The imperial gallon is known in the UK, Canada, and Caribbean nations to be equal or equivalent to 4.54609 liters (4 imperial quarts). They are usually heavier than U.S. liquid gallons.

U.S. Dry Gallon

This gallon is not usually used for commercial purposes. Most times, it is used in measuring agricultural products like berries, grapes, etc. U.S. dry gallon measures 3.7854118 liters to be equal or approximate to 1 gallon.

U.S. Liquid Gallon

US liquid gallon measures approximately 3,785 liters. If measured in pounds, it will measure about 8.35 pounds, making it 16.6% lighter than the imperial gallon.

There are 120 ounces, which are 15 bottles of water in a gallon, at 8oz per glass. In the United States, a gallon of water is 128 fluid ounces.

To explain better, eight 16 ounces water bottles make up a gallon, while four 32 ounces water bottles make up a gallon. Then, 3.8 water bottles of 33.8 ounces each, make up a gallon. 

What Happens When Water Is Consumed After the Expiry Date?

What Happens When Water Is Consumed After The Expiry Date

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that unopened bottled water is safe indefinitely if it remains appropriately sealed and undamaged. More so, it must be stored in a cool, dark place.

After a long time, bottled water's appearance, smell, and taste might change. But, this does not mean the water is no longer safe for consumption. 

In regard to the bottled water expiration date, FDA says it is meant to show quality and not safety.

Why the conditions are in favor of the bottle water storage

If water is exposed to the direct sunlight exposure for a long time, mold or algae normally develop. This is not a concern for the public health.

The bottle water industry likes to give freshest and cleanest water as much as they can. Storing water out of sunlight can assure that the water is fresh and not dangerous.

Bottle water and some other beverages are packaged in highly protective, sanitary and sealed plastic container which preserves the freshness and quality of the product.

The plastic containers that are used for bottled water and other beverage are lightly permeable that allow ambient air gasses like household solvents and vapors, petroleum-based fuels.

Some other chemicals affect the odor and taste of the beverage. The company takes great care to transport and store the product to ensure clean and fresh water for the people.

If the products are stored properly, it will ensure the good quality of the product.

How Long Can You Store Bottled Water

How Long Can You Store Bottled Water FAQs

Can I Use Milk Containers For Storing Water?

No. Milk and fruit juice containers have residues that are very difficult to wash out. These residues encourage the growth of bacteria in the container.

Can Water be Stored in a Water Tank For Long?

Yes! Water stored in a water tank can last long if a bit of iodine or chlorine is added to it. More so, the water tank should be sealed tight to prevent solid particles from entering.

Will Diinfecting My Water Make it Indefinitely Safe?

No. it will not. For disinfected water to remain safe, it must be used up within a space of six months. 

Can I Leave My Bottles Filled With Water on Concrete Floor?

No. Concretes easily change temperature and give off the moisture that may affect the water. Before leaving your water on concrete, place a small platform like cardboards on top of the concrete to allow airflow.

Why is Water Treatment Necessary?

Water treatment is a sure way of improving the quality of the water and removing contaminants that are unhealthy for consumption.


Though storing water is vital, the container in which it is stored in ultimately will, over time, determine if the water is safe for consumption or not.

The best-before date printed on bottled waters is just for record purposes, as bottled water remains fresh if properly stored. However, if bottled water is exposed to direct sunlight or heat, algae or mold can grow inside, making it detrimental to health. 

Since plastics are porous, consumers should store bottled water in a cool, dark place, and away from household chemicals.

This article correctly answers the question of how long you can store bottled water.

How long water can be stored is dependent on the container it is stored in, and the treatment it goes through before being stored. 

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