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How to Properly Store Bottled Water or Water Containers

Updated on March 22, 2014

Keeping Bottled Water On Hand

Published on January 30, 2014. Mary McShane, All Rights Reserved

When shopping for cases of bottled water, consumers often buy three or more cases of bottled water a time because they only make one trip to the store every few weeks.

Many consumers think they are safely storing bottled water in their homes and in their vehicles (cars, SUV's and motor homes) including the water they stockpile for use should a State of Emergency be called in their region.

While many families don't store water for emergencies and only buy what they will consume per week, our family does buy it in quantity because we often have a need for it due to where we live. My sisters and I are spread all over the East coast where we seem to get hit with more State of Emergency events than most places. It is not unusual for any of us to have six or more cases of water on hand.

The reason I mention this is to point out that the place you store your water is just as important as the containers in which it is sold.

If you refill containers with water, only recycling codes #3 and #7 contain harmful BPA.

Check the recycling codes on your containers before filling them with water for storage in the event of an emergency.
Check the recycling codes on your containers before filling them with water for storage in the event of an emergency. | Source

Bottled Water On Display In Stores

Water on display at stores like your local supermarket, Walmart supercenters, and membership stores like Sam's Club, BJ's Warehouse, and Costco, where it sits on skids in the hot sun or in greenhouse type buildings is exposing it to changes in the temperature throughout the day. These stores typically do not bring the water indoors overnight, so that at nightfall the temperature has changed yet again inside the bottles.

If bottled water goes through temperature changes while in transport to the store, while on display in stores or in your storage area, the water becomes contaminated in the bottles depending on the type of water container.

When you thought you were putting healthy water in your body, you were in fact drinking contaminated water in many instances.

Just as there are warnings to not cook food in plasticware in the microwave, consumers need to be aware that BPA (bisphenol-A) can leach out of any plastics when exposed to temperature changes, mainly heat.

The following video points out the appearance of water on display at a store in less than desirable conditions.

Would you buy HOT water?

Urban Legend (False Information)

Not all information on websites is current, so that outdated information can also be false. But visitors don't know that when they arrive at a website looking for answers to their questions. Here is an example.

WebMD addresses the question whether bottled water which has gone through temperature changes is contaminated or not.

Many people who visit their website consider WebMD their "go to" authority for up to date medical information. I know I consult the website at least once a week for various topics.

What many people do not know is how to tell if the website's information is current.

On the following link, here's what to look for:

Their page addressing bottled water is dated November 7, 2008 as seen in the URL. The date appears after the word "news" and the slash. Also the copyright date on the page is not updated; it states 2008.

The EPA has since updated their standing on temperature changes in bottled water to refute the following statement as not truthful. This "recent news release" from an associate professor at Johns Hopkins Center for Water and Health is on WebMD 's website in response to bottled water rumors circulating on the internet that freezing bottled water leads to contamination with carcinogenic dioxins.

I include it for your information to consider it as part of the whole picture. With emphasis added, this "recent news release" reads in part:

"Rolf Halden, PhD, PE, who is an adjunct associate professor with the Johns Hopkins Center for Water and Health, said that freezing bottled water leads to contamination with carcinogenic dioxins is nothing more than "urban legend." He notes that there are no dioxins in plastics and that freezing actually slows or prevents the release of chemicals. The industry group representing single-use beverage bottle manufacturers, known as NAPCOR also used the term "urban legend" to describe claims that it is unsafe to drink water that has been left in a hot car. 'The idea that (these) bottles 'leach' chemicals when heated in hot cars is not based on any science, and is unsubstantiated by any credible evidence,' the group noted in a recent news release. "This allegation has been perpetuated by emails until it has become an urban legend, but it just isn't so." - end of quote.

As you can see, it is not a "recent news release."

We have since learned more about the safety of bottling containers when the bottling industry was been brought more into compliance because of the implementation of the recycling codes on containers as shown in the following photo.

Safe recycling codes to look for on containers

Guide to codes
Guide to codes | Source

Whenever possible, cook in glass or corningware

Reverse Osmosis & Long Term Water Storage

In Florida, our water is so highly treated that in many cities even everyday water has to be purified before use. Water is also more expensive here than, for example, in northeast states. For a state bordered on 3 sides by water, we pay very high rates for residential water that many agree doesn't even taste good.

A good number of people who have homes in Florida are residents of other states and only live here part time for the winter months. Florida residents affectionately referred to them as "snowbirds."

Because they only live here from November to around March, they store water so it will be on hand when they arrive for the winter season. Therefore it sits all spring, summer and fall when the temperatures vary greatly.

For the most part, each home has an outdoor shed or garage attached to the home and because of space constraints, it is where items are stored that are not needed for everyday use. Water stored in these outdoor areas is not the optimal place because of temperature changes.

Because the tap water is not pleasant, many residents have installed water purification systems in their homes, which uses a variety of chemicals to make the water palatable to drink and softens it so shampooing and showering are not so harsh. The Culligan Water Softening Company does a heck of a business here because they offer consumers contracts for convenience so the water is always treated. The company services the home units twice a year so it is always pure. This is a boon to snowbirds who are only residents four to five months out of the year.

Since we don't care for chemical use in our water, we use a reverse osmosis system because it purifies the water without using chemicals, unlike commercial water softening systems like Culligan. We think it is the most cost effective over time. We keep filled water containers in refrigerator and pantry because we never know when the water will suddenly not be available from the faucet or become contaminated after rainfall or storms.

Water obtained through reverse osmosis systems stores the water without the added chemicals of water softening systems like Culligan. Therefore it can be stored for longer periods of time.

The next video explains how much water is ideal to have on hand for emergency use.

The second video explains how to treat and store large quantities of water. We use this method to treat and store our reverse osmosis water for emergency use.

© Mary McShane

How To Properly Store Bottle Water & Containers

If you find the advertisements on the videos annoying, click the X on the advertisement only, not on the video.

Important Directions - How To Treat Water: 1 teaspoon bleach to 5 gallons of water

Opinion Poll

Do you store your bottled water in safe environments, away from temperature changes?

See results

© 2014 Mary McShane


Submit a Comment

  • Mary McShane profile image

    Mary McShane 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Thank you for your comment. This is what my research has found.

    If you must use the water in your car after it has gotten hot, it can still be usable if you filter it. It's the bottle plastic that breaks down and if you squeeze the bottle, you've added oxygen to it and made the chemicals circulate, thus contaminating the water.

    So if you filter it, experts say that you can still use it.

    You can use Vario or Katadyn Purifier for bottled water.

    OR you can use a bottle that you pour water through which will filter it thru a microfilter

    It is $39.95 one time purchase. Removable mouthpiece for easy cleaning. Carbon filter - reduces chemicals, eliminates odors and improves taste of water. Pleated Cartridge - extra large surface requires no cleaning and provides superior flow rate. Cartridge Life Counter - integrated mechanism indicates when to replace your filter.

    Best: Store water in a cooler

    Second best: use water pouches and only place how many you'll use per day in your car - preferably in a cooler = here's a link to 64 four ounce pouches for $22.95


    Store water in glass bottles.

    Buy canned water, then pour thru filter before usage with Katadyn or similar product

    Least preferable: adding bleach to water because the ratios can be messed up and make people sick. Should be used only in extreme emergency.

    I hope this is of some help to you.

  • profile image

    The Rascal 3 years ago

    Hi Mary!

    This looks like a very informative page! Do you have any links to an authoritative source for storing water in cars? I live in Las Vegas and the heat inside the car in the summer can be as high as 300 f. I'd like to store emergency water but I've always heard the heat cycles will make it undrinkable, aside from the BPA issues. Is there a method that you know of that will allow this? Thanks!

  • Mary McShane profile image

    Mary McShane 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Thank you DDE

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    A well-advised hub and thoroughly researched an interesting and helpful hub.

  • Mary McShane profile image

    Mary McShane 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Thank you Vellur for visiting my hubs and for your support :)

  • Vellur profile image

    Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

    Great hub, with vital information about water storage, thank you for sharing.

  • Mary McShane profile image

    Mary McShane 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    @The Examiner-1

    Hi Kevin, The OJ containers (hard plastic) are considered safe, as referred to in the videos and on my other hubs on this subject. Keeping them near the stove is not a good idea. LOL.

    As for the numbers on the containers, they are not numbered in hierarchy of safety.

    The info about the safety container numbers I mentioned is current here and on this hub:

    Here is a website that explains each number:

    About bleach added to water, bleach is a disinfectant used by every city who purifies or treats their water.

    For "emergency" home use, the ratio of bleach to water is so minuscule that it is not harmful. If you can still smell the bleach several hours after treating it, you have added too much and need to refer to the directions again. The videos explain how to do this and the amounts to use.

    Please keep in mind that this is for storing "Emergency water" only. It needs to be discarded and new water treated and stored as stated in the timetable.

    Here is a website that explains it in with more detailed bleach measurements.

    CD's, it is old school "speak" so it also includes DVD's. LOL. I'm an old lady. CD's were around before DVD's and it is a tough habit to break when I mention them.

    Thank you for your questions and comment.

  • The Examiner-1 profile image

    The Examiner-1 4 years ago

    This was interesting Mary. I filled 5-6 one gallon OJ containers with tap water and forgot about them (since I have never used them) nor read anything like this. I do not remember when I filled them. They sit on my kitchen counter between the outside wall and my stove so I figure the temp. changes.

    When I read about the safe/unsafe containers, I knew that #1, maybe #2, were safe - but I thought that #5 was unsafe. in fact, I thought it was all containers above #2 which were unsafe. I also thought that purifiers were like coffee makers, etc. They just added BPA to the water. Plus I saw the CD's mentioned. What about DVDs?

    I also do not like the idea of putting bleach in the water. I never heard that it was safe to drink.


  • Mary McShane profile image

    Mary McShane 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida


    Hi Eddy, Thank you - I'm passionate about so many things, I hope something strikes your fancy. Thank you for following me and for your comment :)

  • Mary McShane profile image

    Mary McShane 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    @sujaya yenkatesh - Thank you for reading and leaving a comment :)

  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

    Interesting and very useful;I now look forward to so many more by you.


  • sujaya venkatesh profile image

    sujaya venkatesh 4 years ago

    so thoughtful of you to share