So you have seen an expiration date on the water bottle. And now you’re probably wondering why does it say so. Does water ever go bad? But wait water is on the earth for several thousand years why doesn’t it go bad?

You probably have all these questions on the mind. And in this article, I’ll answer all of them one by one. So make sure to read it till the end.

How Long Can You Store Water?

On average the open water can be stored in a vessel for 3-4 days only. While a sealed water bottle can be stored for 2 years.


How Long Does Water Last In Storage?

Water Shelf Life
Sealed Bottled water 1-2+ years
Faucet water in a plastic bottle Maximum 6 months
Open water in any container Maximum 3 Days


Does stored water ever go bad?

Scientifically speaking water never goes bad. It only gets contaminated by external factors like algae, insect waste, etc.

So if you store water in an open container then over time it will get contaminated by algae, insect waste, etc. And upon drinking this, you’ll get sick. But if the water is in a sealed pack bottle.

Then it can stay for a few years and that way you can use it anytime. But a sealed water bottle has its own demerits.

You have to keep the bottle in a cool dark place where there is no sunlight. And also you have to keep the bottles in a separate place.

Because the plastic bottle has a tendency to leach the surroundings. Suppose you have put a gallon of water in an onion basket/holder.

Then after some time, your water will taste onion flavor. So if you’re stockpiling water then make sure to keep it in a separate package.


Top Reason Why Water Goes Bad

Microbes Contaimenents:

Microbes in water

When water is stored in an open vessel without proper sealing it is exposed to bacteria and many other microbes. These microbes collect and grow onto the water over time. And it can cause many severe diseases. You can maintain water health by adding iodine and chlorine to it. 

Insect Contamination:

mosquito larva on water

Different types of insects breed on water. Most popular and harmful is mosquito larvae. And it can cause many severe diseases. 


algae in water

It is the green stuff that you see on the water. Algae mostly grow if the water is left for a few weeks. And algae affected water is not suitable for drinking it can cause diseases. 


Is old water safe for drinking?

If the water is kept in a sealed tight container, then it is safe to drink. But if you’re thinking about drinking weeks old water from an open vessel. Then let me tell you it can be harmful to you. Many different types of microbes grow in it such as algae, mosquito larvae, bacteria, etc. 


How to store water so it never goes bad?

According to a standard emergency guideline, you should store one gallon of water per day for each member of your house for 3 days to 2 week period.

Water storing methods:

Method 1: 

If you have a general public water supplier and it is disinfected. Then you can use milk jugs and a soda bottle with a screw-on top to store water.

Make sure to thoroughly wash those bottles and jugs. Then add one-fourth (16 drops) teaspoon of household bleach 5.25% sodium hypochlorite in one gallon of water.

After pouring bleach leave it for 2 minutes. Then rinse the container with tap water. After this fill the bottle/jug with water and cap tightly.

You can write the date on bottles. And after 6 months if you haven’t used the water, then empty it in a container and repeat the process. And also make sure to keep your water bottles in a cool dark place.

Method 2:

If your water source is contaminated, then you go to your local store and purchase water bottles. Make sure to check the date on the water bottle and remember the standard emergency guideline for water consumption.


How to maintain water storage so it never goes bad?

If you’re using a water tank to store water than you can follow these steps to make sure your water never goes bad:

  • Make sure to use an opaque and sealed tight water tank. Because most of the algae are photosynthetic organisms. They grow in the presence of sunlight. So make sure your container never passes sunlight. 
  • If your container is not company sealed then make sure to sanitize it every once in a while. 
  • For sanitization, you can empty the container add bleach to the container wait for some time, and then rinse it thoroughly.
  • After cleaning you can pour backwater into the container.


Amount Of Bleach To Add In Water For Purification:

One-fourth (16 drops) teaspoon of bleach should be added to one gallon of water. You can increase the amount of bleach as the gallon increase.

What to do if Your stored drinking water is contaminated?


Boiling is a great method to kill disease-causing microbes. You can boil water for 3 minutes. Then you can let cool down. 

Liquid Household bleach:

You can disinfect water by adding liquid bleach to the water that contains 5.25% sodium Hypochlorite.

After adding bleach, mix it thoroughly and let it stand for at least 30 minutes before use.

You can also buy some portable filter for water purification 


Water is one of the basic elements that we need to survive. And everyone should know about the proper drill for water purification. It is one of the most overlooked aspects. It is not very hard to learn and apply. This is it for the article, I hope you have enjoyed reading this article. Please let me know in the comments if you have any queries or suggestions. Cheers !!!