How to tell if coconut water is bad?

In this brief article, we are going to answer the question “how to tell if coconut water is bad?”. We will also discuss the health consequences of eating spoiled coconut water, and how to properly store coconut water to avoid spoilage. We will also discuss the shelf life of coconut water and if it is possible to freeze coconut water.

How to tell if coconut water is bad?

To determine if coconut water has gone bad, you can follow the next recommendations:

Important: You should not consume spoiled coconut water as this can make you very sick due to the presence of harmful microorganisms and toxins on it (1-5)

  1. You should always check the expiration date: Start by looking at the expiration date on the packaging. If the coconut water is past its expiration date, it is best to discard it.
  1. You must inspect the packaging: Examine the container for any signs of damage, such as bulging, dents, or leakage. Damaged packaging could indicate that the coconut water has been compromised or contaminated.
  1. You should always check the appearance: Fresh coconut water is typically clear or slightly cloudy, with a pale or light yellow color. If you notice any significant changes in color, such as a darkening or discoloration, it may indicate spoilage.
  1. You should always check for mold or particles: Inspect the liquid for any unusual substances like mold, floating particles, or sediment. These could be signs of bacterial growth or spoilage. 

Be aware that molds produce harmful mycotoxins that can make you very sick (6).

  1. It is always recommended to smell the coconut water: Give the coconut water a sniff. It should have a fresh, mild, and slightly sweet aroma. If you detect any sour, fermented, or unpleasant odors, it is likely spoiled.

You should remember that it is very important to note that coconut water, like any natural product, can spoil over time, especially if it is not stored properly. 

If you have any doubts about the quality or freshness, it is always safer to err on the side of caution and dispose of it. Your safety comes first!

Can you get sick from eating spoiled coconut water?

Yes, consuming spoiled coconut water can pose several health risks due to the presence of harmful pathogens and toxins (1-5). 

Here, we summarize some of the most common health dangers associated with the consumption of spoiled coconut water:

  • Vibrio Infections: In coastal regions, coconut water may be exposed to Vibrio species, including Vibrio cholerae or Vibrio parahaemolyticus. These bacteria can cause severe gastrointestinal infections, resulting in diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and fever (5,7).
  • Fungal Infections: If coconut water becomes contaminated with molds or fungi, it may lead to fungal infections. Aspergillus and Penicillium are common examples of molds that can grow in spoiled coconut water (3-4). 

Symptoms can vary depending on the type of infection but may include respiratory issues, allergic reactions, or mycotoxicosis (illness caused by toxins produced by certain molds) (6).

  • Food Poisoning: Certain bacteria, like Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus, can multiply in spoiled coconut water and produce toxins that cause food poisoning (1-2, 8). Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Spoiled coconut water can contain bacteria such as Salmonella, Escherichia coli, or Campylobacter, which may cause gastrointestinal infections (1). 

Symptoms can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and in severe cases, dehydration.

  • Botulism: In rare cases, the anaerobic bacteria Clostridium botulinum may grow in improperly stored coconut water, leading to botulism, especially in canned coconut water (2). 

Botulism toxin affects the nervous system and can cause symptoms such as blurred vision, difficulty speaking and swallowing, muscle weakness, and even paralysis (9).

You should know that the likelihood of encountering harmful pathogens in coconut water is relatively low, especially if the product is properly stored and within its expiration date. 

However, if you suspect that you have consumed spoiled coconut water and experience persistent or severe symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical attention promptly.

What should you do if you suspect you have eaten spoiled coconut water?

If you have consumed spoiled coconut water and suspect foodborne illness, monitor your symptoms, especially gastrointestinal discomfort and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of clean water or oral rehydration solutions. 

If your symptoms are severe, persistent, or worsen, seek medical advice immediately. 

You should also save the product and packaging as evidence if possible and consider reporting the incident to the appropriate authorities. 

Finally, remember that you should always take preventive measures to ensure proper food storage and check expiration dates in the future.

How should you store coconut water?

Coconut water is not technically a sports drink, but it may be stored in the same way as other drinks. That indicates that you need to store it in a location that is both cold and dry. The pantry is ideal for this, but a kitchen cabinet will be safer.

Typically, the product is made up of water plus a little amount of sugar that is obtained from coconuts, or else it is just pure coconut water. In addition to that, it does not go bad quickly.

As long as it is not opened, there is not much in it that may go bad before it is consumed. Keep the bottles away from sunlight and heat sources to extend the life of the coconut water.

Coconut water that has been packaged in metal cans is already shielded from the effects of sunlight. To keep it in excellent condition, you should put it in a cool, dark place away from any sources of heat.

After you’ve opened the coconut water bottle, store any leftovers carefully sealed in the refrigerator. The same is true of water obtained straight from a coconut.

If you don’t intend to consume the whole drink on the same day, pour the remaining coconut water into a container that can shut off the air. Cans cannot be sealed back up again.

Coconut water may be enjoyed at room temperature by simply removing it from the refrigerator and letting it sit out for half an hour.

Is it possible to freeze coconut water?

Unopened coconut water shouldn’t be frozen. Since its shelf life is rather lengthy, you should have plenty of time to drink it all before it goes bad.

If you don’t plan on finishing the bottle within a few days, freezing it is a good choice. You probably won’t like the flavor when it melts, since it wasn’t meant to be drunk cold. Coconut water expands when frozen, so provide some space. 

What is the shelf life of coconut water?

Coconut water will often have a “best-by” date printed on the bottle of the product. This date tells you how long the coconut water should keep its highest possible quality for consumption.

Unfortunately, there is no way to accurately predict for how much longer it will continue. After the bottle has been opened, the beverage may typically still be consumed safely. 

However, if you have kept it for more than a couple of months, the flavor may not be as pleasant. Coconut water loses its freshness and flavor rapidly after being opened.

Various manufacturers list different shelf lives for their coconut drinks after they’ve been opened. This time frame typically ranges from three to five days, although it may sometimes be longer.


In this brief article, we answered the question “how to tell if coconut water is bad?”. We also discussed the health consequences of eating spoiled coconut water, and how to properly store coconut water to avoid spoilage. We also discussed the shelf life of coconut water and if it is possible to freeze coconut water.


1. Donsingha S, Assatarakul K. Kinetics model of microbial degradation by UV radiation and shelf life of coconut water. Food Control [Internet]. 2018 Oct 1 [cited 2023 May 27];92:162–8. Available from: 

2. Pendyala B, Patras A, Gopisetty VVS, Sasges M, Balamurugan S. Inactivation of Bacillus and Clostridium Spores in Coconut Water by Ultraviolet Light. [Internet]. 2019 Oct 4 [cited 2023 May 27];16(10):704–11. Available from: 

3. Chowdhury MGF, Rahman MM, Islam AFMT, Islam MS. PROCESSING AND PRESERVATION OF GREEN COCONUT WATER. j [Internet]. 2009 [cited 2023 May 27];3(1). Available from: 

4. Resende JM, Rita De Queiroz M, Soares AG, Silva OF, José O, Júnior S. Microbiological Quality of Water of Green Coconut With Different Coatings . Proc 6 th CIGR Sect VI Int Symp “Towards a Sustain Food Chain Food Process Bioprocess Food Qual Manag Nantes, Fr [Internet]. [cited 2023 May 27]; Available from: 

5. Walter EHM, Kuaye AY, Hoorfar J. Case study on the safety and sustainability of fresh bottled coconut water. Glob Saf Fresh Prod A Handb Best Pract Innov Commer Solut Case Stud [Internet]. 2014 Jan 1 [cited 2023 May 27];367–82. Available from: 

6. Pleadin J, Frece J, Markov K. Mycotoxins in food and feed. In: Advances in Food and Nutrition Research [Internet]. Academic Press Inc.; 2019 [cited 2020 Apr 27]. p. 297–345. Available from: 

7. Baker-Austin C, Oliver JD, Alam M, Ali A, Waldor MK, Qadri F, et al. Vibrio spp. infections. Nat Rev Dis Prim 2018 41 [Internet]. 2018 Jun 21 [cited 2023 May 27];4(1):1–19. Available from: 

8. Milaciu M V, Ciumărnean L, Orășan OH, Para I, Alexescu T, Negrean V. Semiology of food poisoning. Int J Bioflux Soc [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2023 May 10];8(2):108–13. Available from: 

9. Ting PT, Freiman A. The story of Clostridium botulinum: from food poisoning to Botox. Clin Med (Northfield Il) [Internet]. 2004 May 5 [cited 2023 May 3];4(3):258. Available from: 

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!