We often find ourselves with reusable glasses of water by our bedside, ready to quench our midnight thirst. But have you ever wondered if that glass of refreshment can go stale? Does H2O expire? Let’s unravel this mystery for you and suggest ways to ensure every drop you drink is the cleanest, safest, and tastiest it can be.
Does Water Expire?
Let’s get straight to the point: water, in its pure form, does not expire. It has no specific shelf life or expiration date like milk, juice, or other drinks. However, that doesn’t mean you can leave a glass of H2O sitting out indefinitely without consequences.
What Happens When Water Sits Out?
Water can undergo some changes when it sits out for an extended period. While these changes don’t necessarily make it “stale” in the sense that food might go bad, they can affect its taste and quality.
- Chemical Changes – A reaction with carbon dioxide in the air can start to make your slips and slurps taste a little off over time.
- Stagnation – Liquids that are left in an open glass or container can become stagnant over time, becoming a prime breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. How does it get there? Every time you take a drink, or touch the lip of your container, bacteria moves from your body to the cup, glass, or straw.
- Dust Accumulation – Dust particles and airborne contaminants settle into your open container. Dust, pet hair, bugs – anything floating or flying around in your home can penetrate your glass.
- Temperature Variation – Fluctuations in temperature can also impact taste. More alarmingly, though, is the chance of harmful chemicals and microplastics from plastic water bottles the longer they sit and stay in the heat.
- Odor Absorption – Water has the unique property of absorbing odors from its surroundings. If left uncovered in an area with strong odors (like a kitchen with spicy cooking), your drinking cup or open bottle might take on those odors.
Can You Drink Water That Has Sat Out?
In most cases, you can safely drink stale water, especially if it has been kept in a clean and covered container. However, it’s essential to use your judgment. If the liquid appears cloudy, has an unusual odor, or you suspect it has been contaminated in any way, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid drinking it.
Side Effects & Hazards Of Drinking Old Water
- It Tastes Bad: Water that’s been left out may have an off-putting taste.
- You Can Get Sick: If your drink becomes contaminated with harmful bacteria or microorganisms, drinking it can lead to gastrointestinal issues and illness.
- Bad Odor & Appearance: It can absorb odors or develop cloudiness if left out and around contaminants.
When Should You Replace Your Bedside H2O?
Many of us habitually keep a glass on our bedside table for a glass of water before bed and regular nighttime hydration. While it’s generally safe to do so, it’s a good practice to replace it daily and keep it covered. This ensures that you’re always drinking something fresh, clean, and free from any potential contaminants that may accumulate over time.
What Do The Experts Say?
- The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) – The FDA does not set a specific expiration date for bottled water. However, it does recommend that you store these bottles in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and chemicals. This helps maintain quality.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – The EPA sets standards for public drinking water systems but doesn’t regulate the shelf life of water. Its focus is on ensuring the safety and quality from its source to the tap.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – The CDC emphasizes the importance of storing water properly in emergency preparedness. While it doesn’t specify an expiration date, it encourages people to rotate their emergency supply to ensure freshness.
Start With The Cleanest Water Possible
Water may not technically “expire,” but it can undergo changes that affect its taste and quality when left out for extended periods. Who knows how long bottles sit in a warehouse and on a store shelf before getting to you? For top-notch water filtration systems that ensure your hydration is always pure and delicious from the first sip, shop with us at USA Berkey Filters. Get peace of mind with every refill.