Does Rice Water Go Bad or Expire? (Full Analysis)

image of rice water shelf life, expiration date and storage tips,

Are you planning to make a large batch of rice water and you’re wondering if it’s a clever idea? One of the questions that must have popped into your mind is—does rice water go bad?

Sad Fact:

Rice water goes bad. Worse is, it has a short shelf life. 

But wait, there’s more. The consumption and use of expired rice water have disastrous effects on your skin, hair, and health.

Because of this, you must learn how to tell if it has gone bad and how you can make it last longer.

Don’t worry because we have you covered! Everything you need to know about rice water shelf life, storage, and signs of spoilage is in this article, so keep on reading!

image of rice water

Does Rice Water Go Bad?

Yes, rice water goes bad because it’s a natural product that has no added preservatives. Its lack of preservatives also limits its shelf life to a minimum. 

While it’s a highly beneficial product, it’s also prone to bacterial contamination and mold growth, especially when it’s not stored the right way.  

What happens if you use expired rice water?

As mentioned, rice water can be a breeding ground for both bacteria and mold. Because of this, it’s no longer recommended to be used once it has gone bad. (*)

Some of the potential complications that you might experience when you use expired rice water are:

  • Brittle hair,
  • Hair breakage (which may lead to hair loss),
  • Scalp and skin irritation, 
  • Skin issues,
  • Upset stomach (when ingested),
  • Allergies, 
  • And so much more.

Warning: If you ingested bad rice water, you should consult medical attention immediately. 

How Long Does Rice Water Last? (Table Included)

The shelf life of rice water depends on these two factors:

Type (fermented or plain)

Since fermented rice water produces natural alcohol, it will last longer than plain rice water.

Storage method 

Rice water will get bad faster when left at room temperature. You can extend its shelf life to a few more days to weeks on the refrigerator while it will have the longest shelf life when placed in the freezer.

Now, without further ado, here’s the expected shelf life of rice water:

TypePantry(Room Temperature)RefrigeratorFreezer
Plain Rice Water1 to 2 days5 to 7 daysFew months
Fermented Rice Water1 to 2 days2 to 3 weeksFew months

Did you notice that we don’t have a straightforward answer for rice water shelf life? That’s because there’s no specific shelf life for it.

As long as it doesn’t show any signs of spoilage, it’s still good for use. 

What Are the Signs that Rice Water Has Gone Bad?

Once the rice water has shown signs of spoilage, you should discard it right away. But how to tell if it has already gone bad?

These are the signs you should look out for:

Foul Odor

Fresh rice water has a subtle pleasant smell. If you opened your jar of rice water and you encountered a strong foul odor, it means that your rice water has already spoiled. 

This off smell varies depending on the bacteria that has grown in the water, but some of the most common weird scents to look out for include a strong chemical-like smell or a sour and rancid scent.


Fresh rice water is clear or a bit opaque, but it doesn’t have any turbidity. If the water already looks cloudy or it contains floating particles, it means it has already been contaminated.

If this is the case, throw it out right away. 

Discoloration of Mold Growth

Rice water has a light and pale color. If it becomes darker or you saw dark or brightly-colored spots at the surface, it means that bacteria or mold has already grown in it, so discard it as soon as possible. 

Change in Texture

From its name, rice water has a water-like consistency. Any change in texture indicates that it’s no longer safe for consumption.

Some of the texture changes to look out for are slimy, sticky, or sludgy consistency. Once it has become thicker than water, it’s a sign that you should throw it out. 

Sour Taste

Tasting rice water should be your last resort. But if you haven’t seen any of the abovementioned signs and you’re still in doubt, take a small sip of the water. If it tastes rancid or sour, it’s already spoiled.  

How To Store Rice Water (And Tips to Make It Last Longer)?

The two best ways to store rice water are to refrigerate or freeze them. But before you do so, here are some ways how to prepare rice water for storage.

  • Strain the rice to separate the water.
  • If you’re using boiled rice water, let it cool down first before transferring it to the storage container.
  • Keep rice water in an airtight container like a mason jar when putting it in the refrigerator.
  • If you plan on freezing rice water, pour water into ice cube trays first. Cover then freeze.
  • Once frozen, you can transfer the frozen rice water cubes to a freezer-safe bag or container. (or you can leave them in the ice cube trays—whatever works best for you).

Here are some other tricks to make your rice water last longer:

  • If you’re not going to drink the rice water, you can add a few drops of your choice of antimicrobial essential oils. Some of your best options are:

– Tea Tree oil,

– Eucalyptus oil,

– Peppermint oil,

– Lemongrass oil,

– And Rosemary oil.

  • Use distilled or purified water when making rice water.
  • Clean and sterilize all tools and containers you’ll use in making and storing rice water.
  • Rinse the rice well before using it in making the rice water.
  • While making the rice water, keep it away from heat and light. 

The Bottom Line 

Does rice water go bad? Yes, it can and it will go bad fast. The worst thing is, expired rice water can do more harm than good. 

So make sure to keep all the tips we’ve shared in mind when preparing, handling, and storing rice water so you can make the most out of its benefits. 

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