Yes, it can. Unopened distilled water can last anywhere from 3 to 5 years. If you’ve opened the bottle for drinking, then you should drink it within 4 to 7 days. If you’re going to be using distilled water for appliances, an opened bottle with a lid will last for over 2 years before it expires. But most likely it will be finished by that time anyway.
Let’s dig in deeper to cover a few additional points about distilled water. Keep in mind that this article is discussing the uses of distilled water for household purposes mostly. If you’re using distilled water for motor industry or medical work-related purposes – you should follow your field guidelines.
How long does distilled water last
Well, it mostly depends on the way you use and store it. Shelf life of distilled water will be on the label. But averages can be summed up in the following table.
|Commercially bottled distilled water (unopened)||5+ years|
|Commercially bottled distilled water (opened, for appliance use)||2+ years|
|Commercially bottled water (opened, for drinking)||4 – 7 days|
|Home-distilled water||4 – 7 days|
As with any drinking water, these things will affect its properties:
• The storage temperature
• Exposure to light
• Type of the Container its kept
• Exposure to with air and surfaces
• Contamination with mouth bacteria
We’ll address these more in a minute, but let’s sum up how long you should keep distilled water and how it can expire.
Commercially bottled distilled water has a shelf life that can last pretty much indefinitely because it was poured and sealed in a clean environment. With a condition that it remains unopened and stays in an airtight environment where contamination is impossible. Although store-bought bottled water may indeed last for years before the expire date, ideally you should consume it at some point and replace it with a fresh batch. Prolonged storing most likely will affect the taste. As for other properties, like the overall quality, the water will be water and will be good to drink, unless it becomes contaminated.
The same goes for home distilled water. If you managed to produce and bottle it in a highly sterile environment, it should be good to store for a long time. But that takes a lot of effort and is not really worth it. Simply distill water and use it in the following week.
How to tell if distilled water has gone bad
• Bad smell
• Floating particles
The unpleasant smell is the most likely result of water that’s gone bad. When drinking, especially in warmer climates, make sure to use a glass or something meant to pour water into. When you sip directly from the bottleneck, a tiny fraction of natural mouth bacteria gets inside the bottle and they start multiplying. The warmer temperature is what mostly affects how fast the microorganisms will start to multiply by large numbers.
If unopened, the water stays clear of air and stays freshly sealed inside the container so it can last for quite a while. In general, distilled water is really pure. Meaning that even slight intrusions like air and various microparticles can enter it and alter the smell ever so slightly. If you don’t work in a lab environment, this is nothing to worry about. Unless you have a clear suspicion that the water is contaminated and it smells wrong. Then just simply get rid of it.
How to store distilled water
• Low and stable temperature
• No or minimal exposure to sunlight
• Glass containers with tight lids
The storage method for store-bought distilled water is pretty much the same as to that of other types of bottled water. If you own a water distiller and are distilling water at home for drinking, then reusable glass containers are the best idea. Glass is a very robust and hard to alter material that does not react with water. Although it can break so it might not be ideal for an everyday drinking canteen. A plastic BPA-free food-grade bottle is your second best choice.
If you’re storing homemade or store-bought, distilled water long term, then simply follow these guidelines.
An unopened bottle should be kept in a cool, dry, and dark place away from direct sunlight and heat. Keep the same guidelines as you would for any other packaged food and beverage. Meaning that kitchen pantry or cabinet is ideal. Also a dry and clean garage or basement might be a good place.
Just don’t leave bottles in your car for too long, especially during the hot days.
When it comes to distilled or purified water meant for home appliances, as mentioned, it will last indefinitely if unopened. If opened, not contaminated, and stored properly it can last for over two years. Afterall all, there’s no point in getting stressed that the water for your steam iron will get worse and damage the appliance in some way.
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