Bottled water does not go bad. I hope that has calmed the fears of those of you reading this because you realized the bottle you were drinking from had an expiration date of three months ago on the bottom.
Why would there be a date if the bottle of water does not go bad? Well, there are a few reasons you might want to replace your bottled water if the expiration date has passed.
The Expiration Date is For the Bottle Itself
Water is a renewable, natural resource. It is a combination of natural chemicals compounded - H2O. Like all natural chemical compounds, water does not expire.
The expiration date on the bottle likely refers to the lifespan of the packaging. Plastic is not a naturally occurring chemical compound. It does have a limit on its life expectancy.
The bottle of water will not suddenly become contaminated with toxic plastic chemicals on its expiration date. Most bottled water producers use this date as a marker for when consumers can anticipate impacts on the taste or “freshness” of the water.
If a customer writes in to complain about poor-tasting water that has an expiration three years earlier, the manufacturer can point out the expiration date and say, “We told you so!”
The Bottle May Not Hold Up
The recommended time to get rid of bottled water is two years after it was purchased. One reason for this is the bottle can lose its ability to hold up to the pressure of holding the water.
If you have bottles stored in your pantry or basement for a long time, they likely endure changes in pressure and temperature of the years. This can lead to a break down in the strength of the bottle and cause a leak.
If you have ever walked in to notice a mysterious puddle on your pantry floor or wondered who drank the sealed water bottle, it was likely a leak through a small opening in a compromised bottle.
The Timer Starts Once the Bottle is Open
We can reiterate that water does not go bad. However, any substance that enters water can. Once a sip has been enjoyed from a bottle of water, the bottle is no longer a protected environment.
Food particles can end up in the water and a once pristine, pure bottle of water is now a breeding area for potential bacteria. The rim and cap of the water bottle are especially vulnerable as these areas touch the mouth directly.
It is suggested to finish a bottle of water in one sitting or to seal the cap securely and put the bottle in the refrigerator for future use. It is not recommended to drink from a used water bottle that has been left out in room temperatures.
Bottled Water is Safe
Aside from contamination at the bottling facility or an issue with the water supply, sealed bottled water is safe to drink. Getting rid of unused bottles after a couple of years will prevent potential leaks and poor taste.