Distilled Water

Distilled Water Shelf Life: Can It Go Bad?

When it comes to drinking water, there are a lot of options to choose from – tap water, spring water, distilled water, etc. Whichever water you choose, if you see it fits best to your need, it’s your call.

If you happen to drink distilled water from time to time, you may have a pack of distilled water sitting in the cabinet. At some point, you might wonder – how long does distilled water actually last? Does distilled water go bad? How to tell if distilled water has gone bad?

If you have the same questions, let’s go through this article to find useful information and answers to the most common questions about distilled water shelf life.

What is Distilled Water?

When you need to buy a bottle of drinking water in a supermarket, you might be daunted with a wide array of bottled water choices, from spring water, purified water, spring water, artesian water, distilled water, etc.

So, what’s the difference among those bottled water? Let’s discuss further distilled water and we save the rest for our next articles.

Distillation is one of the oldest and popular methods for water purification. Other methods include reverse osmosis, deionization, etc. Distilled water is produced by boiling water into vapor and then condensing the vapor back into liquid in another container.

The distillation process can effectively remove the microbial contaminants, unwanted impurities (such as chlorine), and minerals. This whole process results in water in its purest form, that is H2O.

Besides being sold as drinking water, distilled water is also widely used at laboratories, medical facilities, the motor industry, and also for small household appliances like a steam iron.

How to Store Distilled Water

The storage method for storing distilled water is pretty much straightforward and similar to that of other types of bottled water.

An unopened bottle of distilled water should be kept in a cool, dry, and dark place away from sources of heat and sunlight. Just like any other packaged food and beverage, kitchen pantry or cabinet is an ideal place for the storage. Don’t leave it in your car especially during the day.

After opening, always remember to close the cap tightly. It can be stored both at room temperature or in the fridge. This is important to prevent any impurities such as dust, or small animals to get their way into the bottle.

If you have a water distiller and decide to make your own distilled water, store it in a BPA-free food-grade plastic container or glass container.

How Long Does Distilled Water Last?

Commercially bottled water, including distilled water, has a stable shelf life and can easily last for years, or in other words, it lasts indefinitely. Typically, it can reach up to 3 -5 years after the production date. You may also see the date on the label.

After opening, try to finish the water within the next few days or a week maximum when it’s still freshest.

Although bottled water may last for years, it should be noted that storage conditions may impact the taste. Older distilled water may not taste as fresh as the newer one, for example, due to long-term exposure to sunlight during storage.

If you make distilled water at home, the quality of the distiller also has a role in determining the quality of your homemade distilled water. If it starts to smell bad, it may be better to make a new batch.

How to Tell if Distilled Water has Gone Bad

Commercially distilled water does not go bad very easily since it has undergone a rigorous purification process and does not contain any nutrients for microbial growth. The occurrence of microbial contamination in distilled water is lower compared to other plain water.

It can happen that a few days after opening, it might start to smell and doesn’t taste really well. If you notice a change in color or any impurities (such as dust, or small animals) that may get into the bottle, it is best to discard the water.

If you happen to have an opened bottle for a long time, you might see green algae starting to grow in the bottle. It is certainly time to throw the bottle away. It is not worth risking your health over a bottle of water, right?


Does distilled water need to be refrigerated after opening?

No. After opening, distilled water does not need to be refrigerated. But, of course, you can do it, just treat it the same way as any other bottled water. By the end of the day, it’s so refreshing to have a glass of cold water right from the fridge.

Does distilled water contain chlorine?

It is not likely that distilled water contains chlorine. The distillation process is effective in removing bacterial contamination and chemical contaminants, including chlorine. Moreover, a manufacturer often uses more than one purification way to remove contaminants as much as possible.

Can you freeze distilled water?

Definitely yes. Fun fact, ice cubes from distilled water look clearer due to their high purity level.


Commercially distilled water has a very stable shelf life of up to 3 to 5 years after the production process. However, storage conditions may impact the taste after years of storage.

After opening, it is suggested to finish the bottle within the next few days. However, if the smell and taste are off, or any impurities (like dust, small animals) get into the bottle, it is better to discard the water.

distilled water shelf life

*Photo by Fotofabrika/depositphotos

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