Can bottled mineral water go bad?

It's not yogurt or eggs, so many of us don’t store it properly and also don’t check the expiration date of bottled mineral water. Even if you did check, is it worth anything at all?

water bottle 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
water bottle 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)

With warm weather and the approaching summer heat, most of us will start drinking more water daily, whether it’s bottled mineral water or tap water. Water has many health benefits. It improves the activity of the digestive system, helps people maintain weight, infuses the body with moisture and keeps skin hydrated.

Water from the faucet doesn’t have an expiration date, but a mineral water bottle actually does. Does it mean anything?

Does bottled mineral water spoil?

Mineral water is defined as water to which no component has been added in the production processes, i.e. in the collection and packaging stages, and there aren’t any chemical cleaning processes. Mineral water usually contains minerals like calcium, chlorides, nitrates, magnesium, sodium, sulfur, potassium, etc.

"Like food, with mineral water bottles, the main thing more than the expiration date is storage," says Dr. Hagit Ulanovsky, an expert in health and environmental risk management who works for SP Interface, a consulting firm. "If you store the bottles in a cool, dry and shady place, then just like pasta, a dry food, they will keep long after the date. In case bottles are exposed to the sun, the water may be unfit for drinking. So, don’t keep water in the car or as it’s stored at gas stations - outside.”

According to Ulanovsky, the expiration date is usually earlier than necessary, as it’s more economical.

A large ball depicting the earth is filled with empty water bottles at an environmental happening held by the Old City of Jerusalem on ''Save Earth Day'. April 23, 2009.  (credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)A large ball depicting the earth is filled with empty water bottles at an environmental happening held by the Old City of Jerusalem on ''Save Earth Day'. April 23, 2009. (credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)

“Many times it has nothing to do with the actual expiration date. Storage is more important than the date. The cooler and shadier the water, the longer it will keep after the date.

She adds that "specifically, when it comes to mineral water bottles made of plastic called PET,  with sun exposure it breaks down and then we actually drink water with microplastic. Although there is currently no evidence that a single exposure to microplastic can harm our health, there is no doubt that continuous exposure will.”

Tap water that fills a bottle

The case of tap water is different and also similar to mineral water. It also requires proper storage, but unlike mineral water it’s constantly in the tap.

"Tap water is healthier in Israel; the water is excellent for drinking because it’s free from pollutants in it and in terms of values. There’s supervision and control of water corporations in accordance with the law, so there’s no reason to buy mineral water. The tap water has no expiration date, because it will be in the tap tomorrow. "

Why does water taste strange?

Tap water has enough disinfectants to neutralize bacteria that accumulated in the water if you forgot that a bottle was open or water that was in a glass for several hours. If you drink the water nothing is likely to happen.

Sometimes after exposure for several hours, it absorbs carbon dioxide from the air which makes it a little more acidic and may also change the taste. This usually isn’t a problem. On the other hand it’s important to pay attention to a significant change in the taste of the water, color, or odor. Although not every change in these parameters is a health problem, get fresh water.