How Long Can Bottled Water Last? 

For people who are concerned about the quality of their water, the question of how long can bottled water last is an important one. If you have questions about the shelf life of your bottled water, there are several things you can do to ensure its safety. 

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Typically, bottled water has a sell by date on the bottle. This date is used by manufacturers to maintain stock rotation. However, it’s not a mandatory requirement under the United States Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for regulating the bottled water industry. 

The best way to keep your bottled water in good shape is to store it properly. Bottled water should be stored in a cool, dark place. It should also be kept away from strong-smelling items such as gasoline or cleaning solutions. Depending on how it is stored, the water might change its taste, absorb chemicals, or develop an off-odor. 

Many types of bottled water are packaged in polyethylene terephthalate, a plastic that can leach harmful chemicals into the water. Over time, the chemicals in the plastic can alter the taste and appearance of the water, and many of them can cause health problems. In addition, many of these plastic bottles contain antimony, which is a potential carcinogen. 

When you get a new bottle of water, you should immediately refrigerate it. If you leave it unrefrigerated, it can develop an off-odor, cloudiness, and floating particles. These symptoms indicate that the water has gone bad. 

Even though the FDA has not mandated that bottled water have a specific shelf life, some manufacturers add a best-by date to their packaging. The purpose of the date is to reflect the quality standards of the product. Some bottlers choose to add the date to help manage their inventory, while others do not. 

Water can stay in storage past the date on the bottle. This is usually because it can be exposed to warm temperatures that promote the growth of algae. Algae is toxic and can make the water unsafe to drink. 

Regardless of how you store your bottled water, you should never drink it after its expiration date. You’ll want to use the water as soon as possible. Also, consider refrigerating your water if you have the room. As with all food and drinks, refrigeration may improve the shelf life of a bottle of bottled water. 

During times of emergency, such as the recent hurricane season in Florida, you might not have the luxury of keeping your bottles chilled. That’s why it’s a good idea to store your unopened bottles in the pantry or kitchen cabinet. Whether you’re using tap or bottled water, it’s always a good idea to check the water’s quality every six months. 

A few years ago, New Jersey passed a law requiring the state to have a two-year shelf life on bottled water. While this was the first state to require a label on bottled water, it’s still not required by federal law.