Bottled Water Storage

Emergency preparedness guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommend that all households maintain an emergency supply of water -- at least one gallon per person per day for three days -- for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene.

IBWA advises consumers to store bottled water at room temperature or cooler, out of direct sunlight and away from solvents and chemicals such as gasoline, paint thinners, household cleaners, and dry cleaning chemicals.


Why these conditions are best for bottled water storage.

  • When water (bottled water or tap water) is exposed to extended periods of direct sunlight or heat sources, algae or mold may infrequently develop. Although this is not a general concern for public health, the bottled water industry wants you to enjoy the freshest, cleanest water possible, and storing water in a cool place out of direct sunlight helps assure that.
  • Bottled water and other beverages are packaged in sanitary and highly protective, sealed plastic containers that maintain the quality and freshness of the product. However, plastic containers – whether used for bottled water or other beverages – are slightly permeable, which may allow ambient air gases such as vapors from household solvents, petroleum-based fuels and other chemicals, to affect the taste and odor of your beverage. Your bottled water company takes great care to store and transport its products carefully so you can enjoy the fresh, clean taste you expect from bottled water. Proper storage will help ensure product quality.

What about stock rotation dates printed on some bottles? Does bottled water have a shelf life?

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates bottled water as a packaged food has determined that there is no limit to the shelf life of bottled water. The FDA does not require an expiration date for bottled water products.
  • Because it is packaged under sanitary, good manufacturing practices; is in a sanitary sealed container; and does not contain substances (such as sugars and proteins) typically associated with food spoilage, bottled water can be stored for extended periods of time without concerns.
  • Only one state (New Jersey) has ever required expiration dating for bottled water. However, the New Jersey state legislature repealed the 2-year expiration date law several years ago, noting that there was no scientific evidence to support such a requirement. Some companies still place date-based lot codes on bottled water containers, which are typically used to assist in managing stock rotation at distribution and retails points.

Bottled water is an excellent choice for emergency water storage and, of course, daily refreshment. FDA Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) mandate that bottled water be produced in a sanitary environment and bottled in sanitary, safety-sealed containers. These and other extensive FDA, state and industry standards help ensure that bottled water delivers consistent safety, quality and good taste to consumers.