Does Distilled Water Go Bad? How to Store Properly

by Jay | Last Updated:  Last updated on July 25th, 2022,

There is a lot of excitement surrounding distilled water. But, if you’re one of those who’s taken an interest, you might be wondering, ‘Does distilled water go bad?’


If you’ve had a bottle or two of distilled water for a while, you might wonder about its shelf life. Finally, you’ve come to the right place—we’ll tell you everything you need to know, from how to check for quality to how to store your distilled water.

What is distilled water?

Distilled water is the purest water.

Distilled water is made by boiling the original water, causing vapors to form, and then condensing these vapors.

The condensation process is carried out in a new container. As a result, two kinds of impurities can be found in a substance.

These are classified as volatile and non-volatile. Volatile impurities evaporate when a substance (in this case, water) is heated.

Non-volatile substances are those that do not evaporate when heated. Because non-volatile impurities remain in the first container, condensation occurs in a new container.

As a result, the water is condensed in a container free of impurities.

Is it possible for distilled water to spoil?

Distilled water, like all other types of water, does not spoil or go bad. However, environmental factors such as air pollution and packaging can significantly impact water purity.

While your water will not spoil, it may become contaminated and unsafe to drink. So even if you intend to use distilled water for purposes other than drinking, we doubt you’d want to use contaminated water.

Proper storage goes a long way toward preserving the purity of distilled water.

How long is distilled water good for?

If stored properly and no contaminants come into contact with the water, distilled water will last indefinitely.

Bottled distilled water usually has a best-by date. However, as long as you have properly stored the water, it should be safe to use even after this date.

The good news is that no special equipment or complicated water storage methods are required. Instead, place it in the fridge or pantry, away from direct sunlight, and in a clean container.

So, how long will stilled water last? We’d give it about 24 months if you’re looking to use it in your home appliances, but if you’re drinking it, it’s best to finish an opened bottle in a day or at most a week for a larger bottle.

Of course, the purest form of distilled water is best, and you can keep it that way by following a few simple but important storage procedures.

The table below provides a quick snapshot of how long your distilled water will last.

Shelf life of distilled water chart

 Pantry
Bottled distilled water (unopened)5+ years
Bottled distilled water (opened for appliance use)1+ years
Bottled distilled water (opened for drinking)4 – 7 days
Home-distilled water4 – 7 days

Now, let’s go over how to tell if distilled water has gone bad.

4 Ways to Tell if distilled water is bad

Distilled water is devoid of minerals and contaminants and has a bland taste. So, simply tasting the water may not be enough to determine whether it has gone bad.

Still, the best way to test the quality of your water is with your senses. Use these guidelines to determine whether your distilled water is safe to drink or should be discarded.

1. Algae (Green)

When nutrient-rich water is exposed to direct sunlight, a blue-green alga forms as a contaminant.

Although distilled water lacks nutrients and minerals, if the bottle is left open, contaminants can enter and create ideal conditions for algae, especially if the water is stored in direct sunlight.

If you notice blue-green floating scums or sediments in the water, this indicates an algae infestation, and the water should be discarded.

2. Haziness

The appearance of clean water should be clear. You can use cloudy distilled water in your home appliances without concern.

However, consuming cloudy water is not a good idea if you have switched to drinking distilled water. Cloudiness in water usually indicates that pathogens or chemicals have contaminated it.

3. Disgusting smell

An off-odor on any food or drink is never a good sign, and distilled water is no exception. Water can sometimes pick up the smell of the bottle, leading you to believe that the water is unsafe to drink.

Pour some distilled water into a glass and take a whiff for a more accurate assessment. If the water smells fishy, it’s time to throw it out and replace it with fresh water.

4. Chemical flavor

If the water smells bad, it probably tastes bad as well. Pure distilled water has no distinct taste; this type of water has a bland taste because all of the minerals have been removed.

As a result, if your water has a chemical taste, it is most likely no longer pure. The water could have picked up on odors and contaminants in the air. When exposed to sunlight and oxygen, these impurities degrade, resulting in a strange chemical taste in the water.

Is it necessary to refrigerate distilled water after it has been opened?

No. Distilled water does not need to be refrigerated after it has been opened. But, of course, you can do it; treat it like any other bottled water. By the end of the day, nothing beats a glass of cold water straight from the fridge.

Distilled water storage for drinking

If you’re distilling water at home for drinking, a glass container is the best option, as many home water distillers include a glass tank. However, a BPA-free plastic food-grade bottle will suffice.

If you need to store some water in an emergency, one large or two smaller containers will suffice. But, again, ensure they’re designed to come into contact with food. The theory is that distilled water will remain safe indefinitely if tightly sealed, but I’d still change that water every few months, particularly if it is in a plastic container.

Distilled water storage for home appliances

Let’s discuss the storage of water for purposes other than drinking. If this is the case, keep the product away from solvents and chemicals such as gasoline, paint thinners, household cleaners, and dry cleaning chemicals. As an added precaution.

A high-density polyethylene container is the best choice for long-term distilled water storage. But, of course, buying one is pointless if you’re only storing a few ounces at a time for ironing.

Distilled water storage suggestions

What does it take to properly store your distilled water now that you know how to check its quality?

1. Stay away from direct sunlight.

It’s best to keep distilled water from direct sunlight, especially in plastic containers. Sunlight will cause the plastic to disintegrate and chemicals to leak into the water, making it unsafe to consume or use.

2. Make use of the proper storage container

The storage container you use makes a big difference when preserving the quality of distilled water.

We recommend storing larger quantities in high-density polyethylene (HDPE) drums or tanks. Check that these containers are of food-grade quality to ensure that your water remains pure for longer.

HDPE tanks have the advantage of not rusting, being impact resistant, keeping water cool, and protecting water from light exposure.

If you only have a small amount of distilled water, keep it in glass bottles. Glass, unlike plastic bottles, will not degrade and release chemicals into the water.

3. Maintain tight container sealing

The container should always be tightly sealed when you store distilled water in tanks or small bottles. This keeps contaminants at bay and ensures the water is safe to drink.

4. Keep odorous materials away from odorous materials

Like other types of water, distilled water absorbs odors from its surroundings. This will not affect the purity of the water or make it unsafe to use in your appliances, but you do not want to deal with water that smells like gasoline or paint.

To keep your distilled water tasting and smelling fresh, keep it in a pantry away from strong-smelling items like paint or cleaning products.

5. After opening, refrigerate

Distilled water should be stored in a cool, dark place. The refrigerator or pantry are excellent options. To be sure, refrigeration will not extend the shelf life of the water, but keeping it away from direct sunlight is a sure way to keep it pure for longer.

The dangers of drinking contaminated distilled water

Most people use distilled water in household appliances and automobiles.

To prevent metal parts from rusting. There is nothing wrong with drinking distilled water, but it is probably not a good idea in the long run. This water is deficient in essential minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and sodium. So not only does the water taste bad, but it also lacks the minerals your body requires.

Drinking contaminated distilled water, like drinking contaminated other types of water, can have serious health consequences.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), drinking water with high chemical contaminants can cause skin discoloration and nervous system problems. In addition, long-term exposure to low doses of chemically contaminated water can increase cancer risk.

Drinking pathogen-contaminated distilled water can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, headache, stomach pain, and fever. Kidney failure may occur in severe cases.

Disc discard the water if you notice any spoilage, such as algae, cloudiness, sedimentation, or an off-taste or odor.

Is it possible to freeze distilled water?

Yes, distilled water can be frozen. Freezing distilled water is the same as freezing regular tap or purified water.

Some people are also curious as to whether distilled water freezes faster. Pure distilled water freezes at the same rate as pure tap water. The presence of impurities, which slow down the freezing process, the temperature of the freezer, the temperature of the water, and the amount of water in the container all influence how quickly water freezes.

Freezing distilled water is simple and identical to freezing ‘regular’ tap or bottled water. What you must do is as follows:

  • First, fill plastic bottles halfway with distilled water.
  • Next, place the bottles in the freezer flat.
  • Allow several hours for the water to freeze.

Then, remove it from the freezer and place it in the fridge or countertop to defrost if you need warmer water.

Summary 

Distilled water differs from regular water in that it lacks minerals and other impurities, but that is where the similarities end.

The water will not go bad in and of itself, but distilled water will become contaminated and dangerous to handle if not properly packaged or stored. To keep distilled water fresher for longer, freeze, refrigerate, or store it in a pantry away from direct sunlight.

Jay

Self assessed Germaphobe, specializing in everything water, water filters, health and nutrition. Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, I've acquired immense amount of knowledge when it comes to natural, biology, and everything about human anatomy.