How Long Does Bottled Water Last?: Understanding the Facts on Bottled Waters

Bottled Water

Bottled Water is a drinking water which is stored in PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) bottles. It is available in various sizes and it can be either carbonated or not.

Some of the common types of water bottles are Artesian water, fluorinated, mineral water, groundwater, purified water, sparkled water, sterile water, well water, and spring water.

Over the years, the sales of bottled water dramatically increased. In 2008, the water bottles sales in the United States hit around 30 billion bottles according to Beverage Marketing Corporation.

In this article, we will discuss the history and benefits of water bottles. We’ll also tackle how long does a water bottle last, what are the tips to choose the right product, and the storing procedure to make it last longer.

History of Bottled Water

The concept of a bottled water was part of the earliest human civilizations. However, the process of bottling the water began in the Holy Well, the United Kingdom in 1621.

Meanwhile, the demand for water bottles started with the increase of numbers of people going in the spa such as the Americans and Europeans in the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1767, the first commercial bottled water was sold by Jackson’s Spa in Boston, United States. People believed that the water came from mineral springs and it contains therapeutic benefits that could help them treat their illnesses.

Years after, carbonated water was developed to approximate the natural effervescence of the spring water first sold in the market. In 1809, Joseph Hawkins got the ‘imitation‘ mineral water U.S. patent.

In the 19th century, bottled water was produced in large scale due to the decrease in the cost plus the improvement of production speed. Thus, bottled waters grew in popularity. Many households have seen that bottled waters are safer than the water rationed by municipal water since it is mostly contaminated with pathogens such as typhoid and cholera.

In the middle of 19th century, Saratoga Springs which is considered as one of the United States’ well-known bottlers produced about 7 million of water bottles each year.

However, in the 20th century, the demand for water bottles decreased with the introduction of water chlorination technique. With this, there is a widespread prevention of water-borne diseases in municipal water supplies and even inside the home.

Meanwhile, bottled water continued to spread in cafes and groceries especially in Europe. Today, bottled water is one of the most popular beverages in the United States and other parts of the world.

Benefits of using Bottled Waters

Convenient Water

One of the main reasons why people patronize bottled waters is because of its convenience. You can just put it in your car or in your bag when you travel on the mountains. You can just hold it and bring it anywhere you go and be ready when clean drinking water is not easily accessible.

Without the bottled water, people will resort to drinking sodas and sugar juices to quench their thirst. Indeed, bottled water is the best option for staying hydrated anywhere you go.

Clean and Safe Drinking Water

In the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates the production of every bottled water, thus, you are sure that it is clean and contains zero water contaminants.

The Environmental Protection Agency in the US also regulates the tap water in your home, however, clean tap water is not always available for everybody. This is especially true during disasters when the water lines become disrupted and the plants are offline. With this, the water supply that goes into your home becomes contaminated and not safe for consumption.

Thus, the best option for you and your family is through the use of bottled waters.

Hydration at all times

Other benefits of bottled water include hydration at all times. Research has found out that if there is a drop of body fluids in the body, it can lead to poor physical and mental performance of about 30% for both adults and children.

If you carry fresh drinking water with you and have some sips whenever you are thirsty, surely, you’ll be likely to perform whatever tasks you have at your best!

Individual Water Consumption Increases

Some people prefer to drink bottled waters because it is accessible in all grocery stores plus it is very easy to carry. Instead of spending some time refilling a reusable bottle all throughout the day, there are bottled waters that can provide an easy access to water at any time of the day.

In addition, there are people that say that their water consumption increases through bottled water. This is a good option than buying sugary beverages like iced tea, soda, juices, and others.

Bottled Water has a Good Taste

Other consumers would prefer to drink a bottled water because it has a good taste compare to tap water. Some manufacturers would use a flavoring agent on their product to enhance its quality.

Thus, you can find flavored bottled water with fruity and tropical flavors that encourage people to drink water instead of juices, teas, coffees, or sodas. These products are also regulated by the FDA to monitor its quality and health purposes.

However, not all flavored bottled water are free of calories for these are commonly made from sugar. To check if the water contains sugar, always check the ingredients listed on the packaging of the product.

It has Electrolytes and other Nutrients Needed by the Body 

Aside from the taste and fruity/ tropical flavor, bottled waters also contain electrolytes and other nutrients needed by the body.

The electrolytes like sodium and potassium are now available in some the water bottles. Some manufacturers also add Vitamins B and E on it.

Drinking water with electrolytes is beneficial especially after an intense workout, especially for long hours of exercises. This drink is also popular as the ‘sports drink’ which can help replenish the electrolytes and minerals in your body which was lost after perspiration.

However, the American College of Sports Medicine warns athletes and gym goers that every drink must contain no more than 8% of the carbohydrate concentration. With this, one can stabilize and maintain the levels of blood glucose.

How Long Does Bottled Water Last?

Opened Bottled Water

After opening a sealed bottled water, it can only last for 4 to 8 hours, depending on the environment and condition that you are currently in.

If you open it, the bacteria can multiply inside as time passes and alter the taste of the water. If you drink directly in the water bottle, the germs from your mouth can transfer to the bottle which can result in a different taste in the long run. Thus, if you wish to make it last longer, be sure not to drink directly from the mouth of the bottle.

If you put it in cold and dark place, then it will not spoil. However, if you put it in a harsh sunlight, be sure to drink it within 4 to 5 hours.

Indeed, the shelf life of the bottled water depends upon how you use the product. For some, the water can still be good even after a few days after opening, and for some, it only takes few hours.

There are techniques that you can try to make sure that the bottled water will last a little longer. This is especially helpful when you travel outdoors. One important tip is to see to it that the water bottles’ cap are always close tightly.

If you think that the water has algae or parasites on it, better not drink it at all. You can boil it if you need the water and you don’t have any source at all.

Unopened Bottle Water

Bottling water companies label their product with a shelf life of 1 to 2 years only. With this, bottled water is good to drink within this time period.

However, according to NSF International, water itself does not go bad or become stale. You can have a bottle of clean water and drink it indefinitely if you only store it correctly. Moreover, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emphasizes that there is no need for an expiration date on the water bottles at all.

Meanwhile, the guidelines for good water manufacturing states that processing and storage of water must be under clean conditions. It must be free of water-borne contaminants and bacteria. In addition, there must be a testing of the water for quality and safety. If the companies follow these guidelines, then they can pack the water can be without any indication of the expiration date.

But why would the companies still put an expiration date in the bottles?

They indicate the expiration date to indicate the time when it is the best to consume the product. When you drink the water after the expiration date, it is not unsafe however, it will taste different and may become unappealing to the consumers.

FDA regulates the Water Bottles

The FDA regulates the industry of water bottling just as how it does with any normal packaged foods. It scrutinizes the water, the labels, plus the packaging material used in the product.

Water bottles are from PET plastic: a polycarbonate plastic and high-density polyethylene. Its varieties are aluminum and glass although they are less common. Nowadays, the water bottles that we drink is 100% recyclable PET plastic bottle.

If the water is now beyond its expiration date, the plastic material may start leaching into the water which can alter the taste of it. Currently, the government investigates if the BPA or Bisphenol A in the bottle can be a possible cause of cardiovascular diseases and even cancer.

How to Choose the Right Bottled Water

Aside from checking the shelf life of the bottled water, there are other considerations to determine if it is safe for drinking:

Look For Water That Has Been Purified

For someone who has a weak immune system, choose water that is free of parasite or Cryptosporidium-free. For healthy people, the parasite could cause only mild disease meanwhile, it could be fatal for those who have a weak immune system.

Thus, always opt for water that gone through distillation, filtration using 1-micron filter, and reverse osmosis.

Opt for water with Certification From NSF Or IBWA

You could opt for products from manufacturers that follow best practices. Check if they have certification from the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) or National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) International. These organizations keep a routine check on the quality of the water bottles they produce in the market.

Storing the Water Bottles

The water manufacturer may deliver contaminant free bottled waters made from proper materials, store it accordingly, and ship it properly. Now, it is your duty to store it correctly to make it fresh and safe for drinking to make it last on its shelf life or longer.

The heat of the sun can make the chemicals of the bottle react to the water and make it toxic.

Store the water bottles in a clean place just like in your pantry. Do it just as how you store other types of food in your house. Make sure to avoid putting it near chemicals, cleaning detergents, paints, gasoline, or any other things with strong fumes.

You can store water bottles in the chiller after opening it. If you are out on the road, place the water bottles on the cooler or ice packs to make it last longer. Bacteria will not grow inside the bottle especially if the temperature is low. In addition, the plastic won’t leach if the bottle is cold.

Finally, see to it that the outer portion of the bottles are clean of dirt or germs because you might accidentally drink it. Thus, clean the bottles from time to time by wiping it with a clean cloth.

Conclusion: The Hype Behind Bottled Water

In sum, water is not only good for the body but it is necessary for life to survive. Nowadays, there is a great demand for bottled water that makes people believe that it is a healthy option than tap water or any other beverage.

The bottom line is, water is important no matter where it comes from, as long as it is clean, it is good for drinking, and it is safe.

According to studies such as the one done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bottled water is not immune to contamination. If you don’t store the products properly, the water is prone to contamination which can lead to digestive tract illnesses, cardiovascular and neurological disorders, and others.

However, there are techniques to do to make sure that the bottled waters you have will last safe and long. Always bear in mind to put this water in a cool, dry place at your home.


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