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How Long Does Bottled Water Last?

Bottled Water
Bottled Water (Image: Steven Depolo/Flickr)

Whether it is health concerns, a suspect water supply, or the need for a drink on the go, bottled water is the key to many of our challenges. No wonder the bottled water industry in the United States hit an all-time high consumption of over 11.7 billion gallons in 2015. Improperly stored opened bottled water may breed bacteria and other impurities. Exposure to heat or sunlight could leach plastic into the water, making it potentially toxic. So, how long does bottled water last? And when is it time to toss out that bottled water from your pantry? Here are some answers.

Unopened Bottled Water Lasts For 1–2 Years

Most companies that make bottled water label it with a shelf life of anywhere from 1 to 2 years. Your bottled water is seen as good to drink up to that date. But there are many factors that come into play here. Here’s the lowdown!

Properly Sourced And Tested Water Doesn’t Expire

According to NSF International, a product testing and certification organization that also inspects bottled water manufacturers, water itself doesn’t become stale or bad. In theory, if you were to have a bottle of clean water, it should be good to drink indefinitely – if you store it correctly. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that there is no need for bottled water to carry any kind of expiry date at all.

However, their guidelines for good manufacturing practices dictate that

  • Water should be produced, stored, and transported under sanitary conditions.
  • The water source must be free from contaminants, chemicals, and bacteria.
  • The water must be tested for safety and quality.4

Assuming these steps are taken, the water itself can be packaged with no need for an expiry date.

CureJoy, excerpt posted on SouthFloridaReporter.com, May 5, 2018