You’ve just finished a sweaty workout, and you’re craving a high-energy sports drink when you suddenly remember you have that one bottle of Gatorade sitting in your pantry for God knows how long. Naturally, you start questioning should you drink it or throw it out. Can Gatorade even go bad?
Whether you’re an athlete, a student pulling all night studying marathons, or just a tired mom who enjoys Gatorade, you’ve probably asked yourself the famous question – Does Gatorade expire? Or is it like wine – better with time?
Well, it depends. There is one important thing to consider – is the bottle open or unopened? Because the answer to the question above is different for both cases. Technically, yes, Gatorade can go bad, like most other drinks. However, this happens rarely, and in most cases, an unopened bottle of Gatorade that’s been collecting dust in your pantry is a safe play.
Nevertheless, there are crucial things you should know before you gulp it down. You ought to familiarize yourself with Gatorade’s shelf life, how to properly store it, etc., so you can be sure it’s perfectly safe to drink it.
To find out all this and more, keep reading our article about everyone’s favorite sports drink and see the answer to the question, “Does Gatorade expire?”
How To Store Gatorade?
When it comes to opened Gatorade bottles, the best thing to do is put it in the fridge. If you’re not a fan of refrigerated Gatorade, you should still keep the opened bottle in the fridge and take it out about half an hour before you plan to drink it.
An opened bottle of Gatorade will be good at room temperature for maybe a day tops, so if you’re going to drink it within a few hours of opening, there’s no need to put it in the fridge. One thing you should always do is make sure that the bottle is sealed tightly, so less air can enter. Once you open the bottle and air starts entering it, the process of quality degradation is slowly occurring.
As far as unopened bottles go, they’re good in a pantry or any dry place that has room temperature. You can put them in the fridge too, but this won’t dramatically increase their shelf life, so they’re just as good in the pantry or a cellar.
Whether you have opened or unopened bottles of Gatorade, one thing is clear – always keep them in a dry, cool place away from heat, moisture, and light. Heat is amongst the biggest enemies of plastic bottles, so it’s crucial that you avoid storing them anywhere that’s hot.
And one more thing, don’t put Gatorade in the freezer. There’s a myth that storing Gatorade in the freezer will prolong its shelf life, but this is not true. In fact, the process of freezing could actually burst the bottle, so just avoid it altogether.
Does Gatorade Expire?
Like all bottled drinks, Gatorade also has a best by date. This doesn’t necessarily mean it will be safe to consume only until then. In fact, many sports drinks, including Gatorade, have a more extended expiration date than indicated on the bottle, but only if you store them as intended.
The thing about Gatorade is that its ingredients don’t tend to spoil. It contains stuff like dextrose, sucrose, water, sodium chloride, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, flavoring agents, and citric acid, that don’t really spoil, but they have a date after which their effect is reduced.
Gatorade doesn’t actually expire that quickly, which means you could drink it even if it’s been sitting in your pantry (unopened, of course) for two or three years. By this time, its effect will deteriorate, so don’t expect it to be as good as new, but it’s still fine to consume.
Although it’s unlikely Gatorade will expire, it can go bad if not stored in a proper way. Especially an opened bottle.
So, yes, Gatorade can go bad, but if you store it properly, it will be good for quite some time. On the other hand, if not stored in the right way, it could go bad way before its time.
How Long Does Gatorade Last?
The answer to this question is only a matter of storage. Over a certain period of time, Gatorade is safe to consume. With unopened bottles, that period is anywhere from six months to two or three years, depending on how you store it. However, once you open the bottle, you have about five days or so to get the most out of this sports drink (if you keep it in the fridge).
You should also keep in mind that just because it doesn’t expire quickly, it doesn’t mean the quality and effectiveness of Gatorade will remain the same over time. If you drink Gatorade only for the taste, then you’ll probably enjoy it even if it’s been sitting unopened for a while, but if you want the energy you get from electrolytes and carbohydrates in the form of sugar, you should get a new bottle.
The electrolytes are an important part of many sports drinks, and the main reason many people drink them in the first place. They provide the needed fluid balance after a tiring, sweaty physical activity, while the carbohydrates provide you with enough energy to keep going.
These ingredients tend to lose their effect over time, so the longer your Gatorade is sitting in the pantry, the likely it is that it’s no longer effective as it was when you first bought it. It’s still perfectly safe to drink, though.
Should You Buy Gatorade In Bulk?
A lot of people like to buy stuff in bulk because it usually saves them money in the long run, especially things that don’t go bad easily or quickly.
If you’re a frequent consumer of Gatorade, it’s a better idea to buy it in bulk, then to go to the store every other day. If you have a dry and cool place to store it, by buying it in a large amount, you can always have it at hand, and you don’t have to worry it’ll go bad any time soon.
How To Tell If Gatorade Has Gone Bad
If you happen to leave an opened bottle of Gatorade at room temperature for more than a day, you can expect it to go bad. But, how can you tell whether it’s gone bad or not?
There are a few ways to do this. The first thing to do is to just take a look at it because the main indicators of spoiled Gatorade are color and texture. If the color is getting darker, or there are clumps in the bottle, it’s definitely gone bad. Furthermore, if you notice a crust near the opening of the bottle, it’s just another sign you should throw it away.
Besides the visuals, you’ll be able to tell by the taste and smell. If you try a couple of drops, and it tastes flavorless and sour, don’t keep drinking it. The smell is always the best (and often the strongest) indicator something’s gone bad. If you open the bottle and you’re hit in the face with a sour or putrid smell, don’t bother tasting the Gatorade, it’s definitely gone bad.
It’s one thing to drink Gatorade that’s past its expiration date, but it’s been stored unopened, and another thing to drink Gatorade that’s gone bad, even though it may not have expired. If the latter is the case, just throw it away.
Does Gatorade Expire – Final Word
For all the Gatorade aficionados out there, we have some good news! Gatorade has a very long and stable shelf life, so if you store it correctly, you don’t have to worry about it going bad, even after a year or two. Just keep in mind that the quality may not be at the same level as it was when you first bought it.
On the other hand, if you’re going to drink it within a few hours, there’s no need to put it in the fridge, but if you open a bottle and don’t drink it right away, make sure to keep it in the fridge and drink it in the next five days or so.
The fact that it has such a long shelf life means you can also buy it in bulk and save some money. Plus, this way you always have your favorite thirst quencher whenever you’re craving it.
When it comes to Gatorade, just remember one thing – in order for Gatorade not to expire, it has to be stored the right way!