How long can you keep tap water in the fridge?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long can you keep tap water in the fridge?”, and how to tell if the water has gone bad?

How long can you keep tap water in the fridge?

The life of tap water depends on the storage practice and methods you are adopting. Depending on this, the shelf-life could be one year or indefinite. 

It also depends on the purity and temperature at which the tap water is stored. If clean water is placed outside at room temperature on a hot summer day, it will go bad in only 1 to 3 days.

But when you take water from the tap, put it in the sealed airtight container and then store it. It will not go bad for nearly months. 

Chlorine might be required after a few months to retain the quality and purity of water.

If water is not from the tap and is treated and purified by the water treatment plants, then storing this water in a sealed container will preserve it for over 2 years. 

Storage typeTime before it goes bad
In a cup at room temp1-3 days approximately
A sealed container of tap water6-12 months
A sealed container of treated water2 years or more

Can the water in storage go bad?

If you are working with pure water, and follow every precaution and storage practice strictly and precisely then the stored water will never go bad. It goes bad only when it is contaminated by bacteria, spores, fungus, molds, etc. 

In theory, water could store indefinitely, if properly stored, sealed, and kept safe from any kind of contamination. 

The main contaminant that can spoil water readily are algae, bacteria, and pathogens. Algae is notorious in this case as it can grow readily at a wide range of temperatures.

Can water be stored indefinitely?

Water could store indefinitely if it is food graded. Plus the storage conditions depend on the water purity level.

Sometimes, the water is chemically treated to kill the bacteria and increase its shelf life. 

Chemically treated water can be kept in storage for up to a month or a year but the best practice is to remove the water after one year, clean the container and store the new potable water.

There is a piece of evidence that the plastic containers leach chemicals into the stored water but they pose no serious chemical hazard to health.

But if placed in direct sunlight or high temperature, the taste of water changes considerably and it could go bad within a few days. 

Instructions to save water from going bad

  • Take clean potable water from the tap
  • Store in clean, sealed, and airtight containers like plastic, glass fiberglass, etc
  • Keep away from the direct sunlight and store in a dark cool place
  • Store away from the chemical as they can leach into the water and contaminate it. 

How to tell if water has gone bad?

The water will have a strange pungent smell, it will become murky or green if it is algae.

Algae growth will give it a strange color and will float on top of the water. 

The best way to determine is by sight and smell. You will inspect by yourself that there is something wrong with the water and for sure you will reject it.

If stored, it is best to check the water every 6 months to prevent spoilage.

Can drinking old water make you sick?

You get sick from drinking old water, not because of water but the contaminants present in it like algae, bacteria, and pathogens. 

The health issues depend on the extent of water spoilage, the temperature of storage, and many other factors. 

For example, let us make a comparison. You are more likely to get sick from the water placed at room temperature openly in a cup than from the water sealed in a container and stored in the refrigerator. 

The main reason is that the open water is easy to get contaminated by the surrounding environment where different types of contaminants reside while the opposite is the case with sealed and properly stored water.

There are three ways to tell if the water is contaminated:

  1. Bacteria or Algae were already present in the water before it was stored in a container 
  2. Contaminants leaching out of the container into the water storage


In this article, we answered the question “How long can you keep tap water in the fridge?”, and how to tell if the water has gone bad?


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