Quick answer: Vitamin water does not need to be refrigerated unless it has been opened.
- Unopened vitamin water can be stored at room temperature for at least 6-9 months, preferably in a cool, dark place.
- Once opened, refrigeration can extend its shelf life by preventing staleness and bacterial growth, but it’s not strictly necessary.
- What’s In Vitamin Water?
- How Long Can I Store Vitamin Water at Room Temperature?
- What Happens If You Store It in Direct Sunlight?
- Does opened vitamin water need refrigeration?
- Why should you refrigerate an opened bottle of vitamin water?
- Do I Need To Discard It After The Expiration Date?
- Can I freeze vitamin water in a plastic bottle?
There’s nothing quite so refreshing as a cold vitamin water post-workout! When you’re trying to reach your exercise goal, it’s such a treat to reward yourself with a drink that tastes good! Knowing that it’s good for you, too, makes it even more rewarding.
I know, personally, in those last few minutes of working out, I start daydreaming about my ice-cold vitamin water. There are such great flavors available these days. It’s hard to believe most of them are low or zero calories.
But suppose you don’t finish that bottle in one go? Do you need to refrigerate it?
Does vitamin water go bad if left at room temperature?
The answer is no, as long as you keep a few facts in mind.
What’s In Vitamin Water?
The real reason you don’t need to refrigerate vitamin water is the content. The ingredients are basically water, salt, sugar (or sugar substitute), and liquid vitamins. None of these are perishable, like dairy.
Some vitamin water contains a small percentage of fruit juice. But it’s so low in content, often 10% or less. This does not alter the composition enough to warrant refrigeration.
How Long Can I Store Vitamin Water at Room Temperature?
You may store vitamin water at room temperature for at least 6 – 9 months, when unopened.
To preserve the freshness, store it in a cool, dark place such as a pantry or cabinet. On the counter is fine but keep it away from heat sources and sunlight.
What Happens If You Store It in Direct Sunlight?
- Degradation of vitamin content
- Harmful chemicals can leach from plastic bottles at high temperatures
- Sunlight can discolor vitamin water, making it less appealing
Does opened vitamin water need refrigeration?
It is not strictly necessary to refrigerate open vitamin water immediately. If left at room temperature, you should consume an open bottle within a few days. Refrigeration will extend the shelf life.
Why should you refrigerate an opened bottle of vitamin water?
It’s not the ingredients that warrant refrigeration after a few days of opening. The ingredients have no fresh components that will spoil.
It really comes down to two reasons:
- Air – By consuming part of the bottle, you’ve now allowed more air space. The more air that surrounds the liquid, the faster it will become stale. The vitamins will also begin to lose their potency.
- Bacteria – Most of us drink directly from the bottle. Your saliva contains bacteria, which may transfer to the opening. At room temperature, the bacteria will grow quickly. Refrigeration slows down this process.
Do I Need To Discard It After The Expiration Date?
Not necessarily. The expiration date on vitamin water is really a “best if consumed by” date. Expired vitamin water will not make you sick, but the taste will start to degrade. For the best flavor, consume your vitamin water within a few months of the expiration date.
If your vitamin water smells or tastes off, it’s best not to drink it.
How long will refrigerated vitamin water keep?
If unopened, refrigerated vitamin water will last several months – even past the “best by” date. This is true whether it’s kept at room temperature or refrigerated, as long as the bottle is still sealed.
How long will unrefrigerated vitamin water keep?
- Opened bottle – Consume the vitamin water within 3 – 5 days. This will reduce the chances of bacterial growth from saliva. Drinking unrefrigerated vitamin water after this period most likely won’t make you sick. The taste may be stale and unappealing.
- Sealed bottle – Unrefrigerated vitamin water will last at least 9 months. In most cases, it will last well past a year. Check the “best by” date. This is when the quality will be highest, but the water is safe to drink for several more months if sealed.
If I’ve left an opened bottle of vitamin water out for 2 days, can I refrigerate it?
If the water doesn’t smell or taste off, you should get several more days of storage if placed in the refrigerator.
Can I drink the vitamin water that I left in my car in the summer?
Whether opened or sealed, you should not drink anything that’s gotten hot inside a plastic bottle. When surrounding temperatures rise above 90 degrees F, plastic may leach harmful chemicals into your drink. Storing water in a hot car or closed garage is unwise.
The theory that dioxide (cancer-causing chemicals) will be released in the process was debunked.
The new concern is over antimony. Antimony is a toxic chemical that may transfer from plastic to liquid in extreme heat.
In 2014, a study confirmed that plastic may leach chemicals when stored in a hot environment.
Another reason not to is because bacteria will thrive in a hot environment. Bacteria may be present in an opened bottle.
Can I freeze vitamin water in a plastic bottle?
It was once thought that dioxide is released when plastic freezes and thaws, but experts have now concluded that is not the case.
Freezing and thawing your vitamin water should have no adverse health risks. But be sure to pour out some water first, as water expands when frozen. If not, your bottle may burst.
- Vitamin water does not have to be refrigerated immediately after opening.
- You should only store opened vitamin water at room temperature for 3 – 5 days.
- Unopened vitamin water can be stored at room temperature for at least 9 months.
- Vitamin water is safe to drink even a few months after the “best by” date, if unopened.
- The presence of bacteria is the main reason for storing opened vitamin water in the fridge.
- Never drink vitamin water that has been stored in a hot environment, whether open or unopened.
What’s your personal experience with storing vitamin water? Do you keep it in the refrigerator? On the countertop? Have you ever frozen it?
We’d love to hear your opinions and experiences in the comment section!
As always, thanks for reading!