Distilled water might not be bought by everybody. But the ones who do are always worried about their expiration dates. Since distilled water differs from regular water, people assume it to have a limited shelf life. However, when stored properly, distilled water lasts indefinitely.
However, it must be noted that the process of packaging the distilled water and environmental factors like pollutants affect the water’s purity.
In other words, Distilled Water may not go bad but will get contaminated, making it unhealthy for drinking and other purposes. But, specific storage methods, spoilage signs, and shelf-life of distilled water can be learned to prevent such circumstances.
What is the Shelf-Life of Distilled Water?
If stored properly, Distilled Water tends to last indefinitely. But you need to ensure that it is not exposed to contaminants.
The packaged or bottled Distilled Water comes with a use-by date. If you store the Distilled Water properly as recommended, it tends to last a couple of months more past its use-by date.
Interestingly, you don’t need any special tool or the complicated process of storing the Distilled Water. It keeps well when refrigerated or stored in your pantry away from heat sources and in a clean container.
However, if you intend to use Distilled Water for drinking, it is best to consume the opened Distilled Water within 24 hours or refrigerate it after opening to use it for up to a week.
Distilled Water can be used for up to two years if you plan to use it for other purposes.
|Opened Distilled Water||Up to One Year||72 Hours to One Week|
|Unopened Distilled Water||More Than Two Years||More Than Two years|
The above table gives a quick snapshot of how long Distilled Water lasts. Remember, it is an estimated time that tells you how long it can keep its quality.
What are the Spoilage Signs of Distilled Water?
If your Distilled Water is exposed to contaminants and minerals, the tastes will bland over time. So, with a simple taste test, you can’t make out whether or not your Distilled Water has gone bad. There are other spoilage signs to look for to confirm whether your Distilled Water is still consumable or it has gone bad.
The blue-green algae indicate the formation of contaminants that grow when healthy and nutrient-rich Distilled Water is exposed to heat sources or sunlight.
Distilled Water lacks minerals and nutrients, but when exposed to sunlight for a prolonged period, contaminants penetrate and stimulate the growth of such algae, especially when exposed to sunlight.
So, if you notice any blue-green algae floating on the surface of the Distilled Water, discard it as it is no longer safe for consumption.
Clean and pure Distilled Water has a transparent appearance. But, when you see the cloudy formation in your Distilled Water, it indicates that the water has gone bad.
Fortunately, it is still safe to use the cloudy Distilled Water in your home appliances. But, it is not a good idea to consume the cloudy Distilled Water as it is a sign that chemicals and pathogens have started contaminating the water.
An unpleasant smell radiating from your Distilled Water is a sure-fire sign of spoilage. At times, the Distilled Water can pick up the off smell from the bottle, and you must not get confused in distinguishing between good and bad water.
For better judgment, you must take a whiff of the Distilled Water to notice the fishy smell, and if you notice any, discard the water.
Taste Like Chemicals
If the water radiates off smell, the taste may get unpleasant. Distilled Water in its purest form doesn’t have a distinct taste. Distilled Water usually has a bland taste due to the minerals stripped away.
So, if the water gives off a chemical taste, it indicates that it is no longer pure. It tends to pick up smells from surroundings and air contaminants. Besides, exposure to oxygen and sunlight also breaks down the impurities, causing the water to develop a unique chemical taste.
What Happens if You Drink Contaminated Distilled Water?
Distilled Water is widely used by people in their home appliances and automobiles to prevent corrosion in the metal parts.
There is no harm in drinking Distilled Water, but it must not be consumed for a prolonged duration, as per webmd.com. Distilled Water lacks crucial minerals like sodium, calcium, and magnesium. Plus, the water’s taste is bland and won’t supply the essential nutrients and minerals to your body.
Consuming contaminated or bad Distilled Water can cause serious health issues. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Drinking Distilled Water with a higher amount of chemical contaminants can cause problems with the nervous system and skin discoloration. Plus, consuming Distilled Water with a lower dose of chemical contamination for a prolonged period heightens cancer risk.
Pathogens contaminated with Distilled Water cause serious symptoms, including stomach pain, headache, diarrhea, and high fever. In serious cases, people may also experience kidney failure.
If you notice spoilage signs, like sedimentation, cloudiness, algae growth, or unpleasant taste, be on the safer side and throw away the contaminated water.
Can You Freeze Distilled Water? Refrigerated Vs. Shelf-Stable
Distilled Water can be frozen, and it is the best way to preserve your Distilled Water longer. The unopened bottle of Distilled Water can last for years when stored in a freezer. The cold temperature is extremely good for the bottle of Distilled Water as it delays the deterioration process.
The freezing process for Distilled Water is the same as freezing normal water. Some people think that Distilled Water freezes faster. But, Distilled Water doesn’t freeze slower or faster than normal purified water.
How fast the Distilled Water will freeze depends on multiple factors like impurities as it delays the freezing, the freezer’s temperature, the amount of water in the container, and the water’s temperature.
Here are some simple tips for freezing your Distilled Water for prolonged use.
- Pour the Distilled Water into an airtight plastic bottle
- Put the bottle flat into your freezer
- Allow it to freeze for several hours
Remember to place the frozen Distilled Water in a fridge or kitchen countertop to de-freeze.
Distilled Water keeps its quality for long-duration when continuously refrigerated. But, there are certain things you need to keep in mind when refrigerating your Distilled Water.
After opening the sealed Distilled Water, the chances of bacterial growth increase. The chances of bacterial growth are higher when an opened bottle of Distilled Water is stored at room temperature. It is because bacterial growth increases in a warmer environment.
So, refrigerating the opened bottle of Distilled Water is important to delay microbial growth. Plus, you must ensure to refrigerate the bottle well sealed as it prevents odors from the fridge from leaking inside the bottle.
Distilled Water can also be stored in your pantry at room temperature. However, it is only good to store an unopened bottle of Distilled Water in your pantry. Once it is open, you must transfer it to a fridge to prolong its shelf-life.
Moreover, the bottle of Distilled Water must be stored in places away from heat sources and sunlight. Direct sunlight on the bottle of Distilled Water can cause the bottle to heat up quickly, leading to the release of harmful toxic chemicals into the water.
So, you must ensure to store the Distilled Water bottle in locations away from heat sources and direct sunlight.
What are the Best Ways to Store Distilled Water?
According to The Distilled Water Company, Distilled Water is best stored in any glass container or bottle. But, there are certain storage guidelines that you have to keep in mind to extend the shelf-life of your Distilled Water.
Store it Away from Direct Sunlight
As mentioned, you must always store your Distilled Water in places away from direct sunlight. It is the strict guidelines for Distilled Water that comes in plastic bottles.
Direct sunlight can crumble the plastic bottle and increase the chance of chemical leakage into the water, making the Distilled Water unsafe and unhealthy for consumption.
Use Proper Storage Container
The selection of storage containers makes a huge difference in preserving the quality and taste of the Distilled Water.
You are urged to use high-density polyethylene drums or tanks to store Distilled Water in large quantities. But, ensure that the drums are food-grade to ensure your Distilled Water lasts fresh and pure for an extended time.
For small quantities, it is best to store them in glass containers. Unlike plastic, the glass container won’t disintegrate or release any harmful toxins into the water.
Keep Secured and Tightly Sealed
Regardless of the bottle, you choose to store the Distilled Water, you must always keep the cap secure and tightly sealed. It helps keep the contaminants at bay and ensures that the water remains pure and fresh to use.
Store Distilled Water Away from Odor Releasing Materials
As mentioned, Distilled Water quickly picks up odor from surroundings and is placed close to it. However, it won’t affect the purity of the water or make it unsafe, but you surely don’t want to deal with some unpleasant smell when drinking it.
So, if you want to keep your Distilled Water smelling and tasting fresh always, store it in places that are away from odorous materials, like cleaning products, paints, and gasoline.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Safe to Drink Distilled Water If The Seal Is Broken?
The safety seal is there in each bottle of Distilled Water, and it ensures the purity and quality of the water. So, if the seal is broken or tampered with, you must not drink the water from that particular bottle. There is a high chance of contamination in bottles with broken seals, which is unsafe to drink.
Is It Necessary to Refrigerate Distilled Water After Opening?
Yes, it is important to refrigerate the Distilled Water after opening. As long as the Distilled Water is not contaminated, it is safe to refrigerate the bottle after opening. Refrigerating the opened bottle of Distilled Water extends the shelf life up to five days from two days. Refrigeration delays bacterial growth in the water, increasing shelf-life a bit more.
How to Preserve Distilled Water Longer?
The best way to preserve the Distilled Water is by storing it in a glass container instead of plastic bottles. It helps prevent contamination of water and also reduces the chance of disintegration. Plus, it won’t release any harmful toxic chemicals into the water.
The Bottom Line
Distilled Water is different from the normal purifier and tap water because it lacks minerals and other impurities.
Distilled Water won’t go bad, but if it is not stored or packaged properly, it will get contaminated and unhealthy to drink. Distilled Water must be stored in the pantry until it is sealed, and after opening, you must put it into a fridge.
Distilled Water must be stored away from direct sunlight and heat sources to make it last longer. Besides, don’t forget to check the spoilage signs before drinking the old Distilled Water.
Gina P. Shudnow is the brain behind all our scientific research. She is a Registered Dietitian who has been in the field for over ten years. Her nutrition tips have helped several people overcome health issues in the past. She strives to make everybody healthier without compromising on their food diet.