There’s a big party coming tonight, and you haven’t even started with preparations. But the good thing is you’ve found two unopened packs of sodas you bought that one time on sale.
Oops! The sodas are months past the best-by-date. But are they still safe for drinking, or do you need to take a trip to the grocery store trip? Do sodas go bad?
We all know sodas are not the healthiest beverage choice, but they’re certainly the most delicious and refreshing ones! So we decided to take our time and find out whether sodas go bad, recognize spoilage, and store them, so read on!
Does Soda Go Bad?
Yes, sodas do go bad. However, it will take much longer than you think, and it depends on multiple factors such as storage places, temperature, the materials used for packaging, etc.
So How Long Do Sodas Last?
It’s tricky to determine sodas’ shelf life because soft drinks don’t have the exact expiration time. Although they come with a best-before-date, it is just a rough estimate.
On the other hand, you can stumble upon a can of soda two months past the expiration date that lost its fuzz. There are no strict rules here. The shelf life is the same for every brand, and so it doesn’t matter whether it is Coca Cola, Pepsi, or 7-Up.
The shelf life of unopened sodas is 9-12 months and can be used 3-9 months after the expiration date as long as they are correctly stored. However, carbonation and flavor will eventually decrease, and discarding the soda after the expiration date is probably the best idea.
The shelf life of soda packaged in a plastic bottle is shorter, and it usually has a use-by date of 3 months because the carbonation leaks quickly through the plastic seal. Plastic is overall not the best material option, because chemicals in the packaging may be seeping into the beverage.
As for opened cans, they can last 1-3 days upon opening as they are easily sealable, but need to be adequately stored in the fridge. However, they will lose some of their quality and fizz but will remain drinkable.
How To Tell If Soda Is Bad?
Sometimes tiny air holes will appear in the top seal of the unopened cans if they are handled roughly. Moreover, bacteria can enter through these openings and feed off the liquid’s sugars and contaminate the drink.
The worst thing is you have no idea how these products are stored; often in bulk, without great storage conditions, and some are even exposed to exhaust or dust. Contaminated cans can make you sick, so pay attention to the first appearance when you open your drink. If there is no fuzz, discard it.
So, if an unopened can is damaged, leaks, or has traces of rust all over, throw it away immediately. Also, if you notice damage on the airtight seal, it is better not to consume it.
Once you open the soda, it is exposed to air and will begin to deteriorate in quality quickly. That’s because the can is sealed with carbon dioxide dissolved in the liquid.
By opening the can, you release the sealing pressure, which further converts the CO2 to gas, and the bubbles escape. The CO2 (the carbon dioxide that makes liquid fizzy) within the soda will diminish and eventually disappear, and the soda will taste flat. That also results in changes in the flavor.
The other thing you should worry about is artificial sweeteners that are used for making diet sodas. They begin to break down over time chemically and taste much worse the further away you get from best-by-date.
Moreover, if the soda looks fine, you can pour the liquid in the glass and give it a good sniff. If it has an unpleasant, stale smell, it is probably gone bad. If you decide to taste it after all and it’s stale or sour, throw it away.
The proper storage can help soft drinks go a long way. Yet, there are some temperature, humidity, and location factors that you should consider to exceed its shelf life.
First and foremost, unopened cans or bottles of soda can be kept at room temperature. Make sure they are not hitting the direct sunlight. Moreover, don’t keep them near the stove or other electric appliances and avoid humid areas. Pantry or the kitchen cabinet are great places to store your soft drinks, as long as it is cool and dry.
The main reason sodas go bad is the prolonged heat and light exposure. When you leave the can of soda at room temperature, it enables some small amounts of gas transfer through the can. That means that the oxygen goes into the can and C02 out of the can. After a more extended period, the can will start to leak due to gas pressure inside and variations in the temperature. So it’s for the best you keep sodas refrigerated, and it will certainly prolong their shelf life because the temperature doesn’t fluctuate.
However, don’t ever freeze soda! That is not a good idea as sodas are mostly water. Water freezes at 32°F and expands. A combination of the freezing water and pressure from the carbonation within the soda will cause the can to deform and may even burst!
But you can place the soda in the freezer for 15-20 minutes, just long enough to cool it off. Further, even if you forget to take it out and the can has not exploded, always put it in the fridge for a couple of hours to thaw it before opening.
Opened soda must be kept in the refrigerator to retain its quality for a few more days. If we’re talking about the bottle, make sure it is sealed tightly before storing it. You can transfer the drink from the opened can into a container (glass, avoid plastic), or cover it with a rubber, plastic, or aluminum foil to preserve the bubbles and flavor.
Healthy Sugar-Free Sodas
Perhaps you never thought you would see ‘healthy’ and ‘soda’ in the same sentence, but this is the real thing! As you’ve probably heard, sodas aren’t very healthy and can increase the risks of many diseases, including heart attack. Don’t get us even started on diet sodas as they include artificial sweeteners that are equally harmful to your health.
But don’t fall into despair just yet as there is some good news! Healthy sodas do exist, and you can treat yourself with versions that have far less sugar and calories.
Let’s take a look at our best picks:
|Zevia||0 calories||0 mg sodium||0 g carbs||Uses stevia instead of sugar and citric acid; comes in 14 flavors.|
|Reed’s Real Ginger Ale||0 calories||0 mg sodium||12 g carbs (0 g sugar)||Uses real ginger juice, erythritol, stevia, and monk fruit extract|
|Bubly Sparkling Water||0 calories||0 mg sodium||0 g carbs||13 Different fruity flavors, no sugars added|
|Perrier||0 calories||0 mg sodium||0 g carbs||No sugar added, all-natural flavors|
|Spindrift Lemon Sparkling Water||3 calories||0 mg sodium||1 g carbs||No sugar added, made with real fruit|
As you can see, all of these are made from natural ingredients and don’t contain harmful stuff such as artificial sweeteners, sugar, calories, or sodium. Give it a try, and we promise you won’t regret it!
Do Sodas Go Bad – Conclusion
All in all, sodas have a long shelf life and can even last past their best-before-date and still taste good. However, we recommend using it within that date and no later than three months after it expires for the best quality.
You can store your unopened soda at room temperature, and a pantry or cupboard is the best option. As for opened ones, always store them in the refrigerator and seal the package tightly.
In general, cool, dry, and dark places are the best environments for soft drinks. However, avoid freezing them for a more extended period as the package can explode.
If you notice any signs of spoilage or a package is damaged, leaks, or has started rusting, throw it away. The signs of bad soda are usually loss of carbonation, unpleasant smell and bad, sour taste.
Lastly, if the liquid looks good, you can take a sip to determine whether it is good to drink. If it is flat and doesn’t taste great or is opened more than a week, consider tossing it away. It makes no sense to risk your health or drink tasteless and flat soda, which is supposed to be refreshing and delicious.