What Happens If Bottled Water Freezes?

The easiest way to have a stash of cold water is by freezing. Drinking a bottle of cold water can quench your thirst in the scorching heat of the summer. With a cold bottle ready, you can enjoy staying outdoors longer. Although water has no expiration, some factors can shorten its use. We have researched from reliable sources what happens if a bottled water freezes.

Water starts expanding at 39° Fahrenheit until it reaches the freezing point at 32° Fahrenheit. As a result, the expansion of water in the bottle creates ice. Ice will take the whole volume of the bottle, making the water pressurized inside. Yet, not all kinds of water bottles are safe for freezing. In most cases, frozen water in disposable plastic will not burst. To prevent any bursting, leave enough space for water expansion. When defrosted, bottled water will not change its taste, and no chemicals can leach in the water.

Even though water generally has no expiration, commercially sold bottled water has an expiration date. Most people have concerns if water bottles are free from chemicals that can cause health problems. Additionally, you need to consider the type of water container to avoid rust and other contamination. Read along to find out more about freezing bottled water.


A bottle of water placed on ice, What Happens If Bottled Water Freezes?

Will Bottled Water Burst If Frozen?

Water expands when it freezes. Hence, the ice will take up all the space inside the bottle. Due to the composition of plastic water bottles, these can withstand expansion when freezing. Frozen bottled water might still burst. This happens if the water bottle is fully filled, without any space in it. Make sure to always leave some space for expansion. For other types of water bottles, just fill the bottle half full.

An opened bottled water placed on top of ice cubes

How Long Will Bottled Water Stay Frozen?

The shelf-life of frozen bottled water varies. Some water bottlers print the best by dates in the bottles, while some do not. There might be changes in the taste and odor, especially when the water bottle is in the freezer for a longer time. As a general rule, unopened water bottles can last up to two years, while an opened one can only stay three to five days in the freezer. It is best to use a frozen water bottle as soon as possible to avoid any health issues.

Is It Okay To Drink Defrosted Water?

It is okay to use defrosted water. Defrosted water helps alleviate problems in the body like headaches and hypertension. Defrosted water also normalizes the function of the thyroid glands. After all, drinking cold water has health benefits for the whole body. These include the following:

  • Improves metabolism
  • Supports weight loss
  • Increase alertness and energy
  • Best for rehydration after work-outs
  • Removes toxins in the body
  • Helps the immune system

Fresh bottled water being poured into a glass

Safe drinking water all boils down to the quality of water. Frequently drinking defrosted water from plastic bottles might cause health problems. If you want to be safe, you could opt to boil defrosted water before drinking it.

Is Freezing Bottled Water Bad For You?

There were issues in the early 2000s about chemicals called "dioxins" that are present in plastic bottles, claiming that these chemicals leach into the water when exposed to extreme temperatures, like freezing or heat. These chemicals in plastic bottles reportedly can cause illness, such as cancer. But research debunks these claims.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), chemicals like phthalates and dioxins will not leach in the water when freezing. The research shows that the quality of water is the first thing to consider. The containers where you store water are just secondary. It was also found out that freezing will not allow the chemicals to diffuse with the water.

Tips For Freezing Water In Bottles

Proper preparation is key in freezing water in bottles. Always start with the kind of water you wish to freeze. Make sure that the source of the water is safe to drink. Aside from the water itself, also consider other factors like the freezer temperature and containers.

A bottle of water placed on ice, What Happens If Bottled Water Freezes?

Water Quality

Boiled, filtered, and bottled water are the best kinds of water for freezing. For bottled waters, you need to thoroughly check the manufacturers who adhere to the Food and Drug Administration. Only buy bottled water from manufacturers who strictly comply with the best industry practices. You can also check legitimate certifications from the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) or NSF International.

Water Bottle

There are a variety of water bottles used for freezing. Plastic bottles are handy to carry around, which can easily fit in the freezer. Aside from disposable plastic bottles, there are reusable insulated or plastic bottles you can use.

Some advocacies encourage the use of reusable water bottles. Even though this helps reduce carbon footprint, there are chances that microplastics can mix with the water. Aside from this, the bottles may not be thoroughly cleaned. This can create a breeding place for bacteria.

How To Clean Water Bottles

If you love using your water bottle, never forget to clean it. An unclean water bottle diminishes the quality of water. You do not want any bacteria that can make you sick. Here are the easy steps you can follow when cleaning your bottles:

  1. Fill the bottle with warm and soapy water.
  2. Close tightly with the cap and shake the bottle.
  3. Open the bottle and discard the water. If you have a bottle brush, use it to clean parts of the bottle that are hard to reach (ex. the bottom of the bottle, curved sides)
  4. Wash with warm water to remove all excess soap.
  5. Wash the water bottle exterior.
  6. Let the bottle dry completely.

If your water bottle is stainless steel, it is best to deep-clean once in a while. Follow these steps to deep-clean your water bottles:

  1. Make a scrubbing paste with a small amount of warm water mixed with 2 to 3 tablespoons of baking soda.
  2. Dip the bottle brush into the paste. Scrub the parts of the bottle where there are stains. Repeat until there are no more stains.
  3. Rinse with warm soapy water. Let the bottle dry completely.


The suitable temperature of the freezer for freezing water bottles is at -11°Fahrenheit. Also, refrain from always opening the freezer to maintain the temperature. Before freezing, let the water bottle stay in the refrigerator for exactly two hours and forty-five minutes. It will still be in a liquid state, but the actual temperature of the water is already below freezing.

Another trick is to boil the water before freezing. This follows the theory of the Mpemba effect. Boiling also removes impurities from the water, which affects freezing time. Impurities in the water, like bacteria or salts, will slow down the freezing time. Also, do not forget to cool down the water before freezing.

How Much Does A Gallon Of Water Expand When Frozen?

You can also use gallons for freezing water. When water freezes, it starts expanding at 39.2° Fahrenheit. Water expands at more or less nine to ten percent. If you plan to freeze water for future use, make sure that the water gallon is clean. To prevent any damage to the containers when freezing, leave at least one cup of space in the gallon.

Final Thoughts

It is generally safe to freeze bottled water. You can even freeze a gallon or a jug if you plan to store it in bulk. First, you must check the quality of the water and any expiry dates if indicated. To avoid any health issues, it is better to drink the water as soon as possible. Always leave enough space for water to expand to avoid any damage to your container. Freezing water bottles are a convenient way to have a supply of cold water during hot days. Frozen water refreshes you after a workout or after staying long in the outdoors. Start freezing water now to keep hydrated!

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