With electrolytes and quick-burning carbohydrates, Gatorade and other sports drinks have become pretty standard hydration for workouts.
Of course, if you buy too much on sale, the question always arises: can Gatorade go bad? How long should you store those bottles of sports drinks, or even the powdered mix?
If you’re not sure if your past-its-date Gatorade is still fine to drink or not, this article is for you. In it, we talk about:
- storing Gatorade
- the shelf life of bottled Gatorade and the powdered mix
- when to discard either
How Long Does Gatorade Last?
Unopened Gatorade can keep for up to about nine months past the written date. Once you open the bottle, the shelf life reduces to about five days in the refrigerator.
If the container of powdered Gatorade mix is unopened, its shelf life is about two years past the date on the label. Once you open it up, the product will begin to degrade in quality, and you should use it within six months for best quality.
Like an open bottle of Gatorade, once you combine the powder with water to make a drink, you should store the beverage in a sealed container in the refrigerator, and drink it within five days.
The mentioned storage periods are only estimates. It’s impossible to say how long Gatorade will last past its date. Plus, storage conditions play a role as well.
How To Tell If Gatorade Is Bad
Throw out bottled Gatorade when:
- It smells or tastes off-putting, sour, or funny. Either is a good sign it’s no longer safe to drink it.
- Anything else is wrong, like the drink has started to darken, clump, grow mold, or form a crust near the opening.
- It sits for more than a week open in the fridge. Once it sits there for that long, it’s better to pour it down the drain for safety reasons.
Neither of the above is a common occurrence. Open Gatorade usually keeps well, provided that you refrigerate it.
If the sports drink looks okay but tastes so-so, it’s up to you if you consume or discard it.
Discard powdered Gatorade if:
- The powdered has formed a solid mass. Some clumping is fine, but if there are huge clumps all over the place, don’t risk it.
- There are insects or mold in the container. Either is a sure sign the product is not safe for use anymore.
Either of the above is quite unlikely to happen.
What’s much more probable is that the powder will stay safe for months, and only the quality of the drink after mixing will degrade gradually.
When you get to a point that you’re not quite fond of the taste, discard the powder and buy a new container.
How To Store Gatorade
Bottled Gatorade, and other sports drinks, should be stored in a cool, dark place away from moisture or heat. The best place to store unopened bottles of Gatorade is actually your pantry or cellar.
Storing unopened bottles of Gatorade in the refrigerator will not dramatically increase their shelf life. Similarly, freezing bottled Gatorade will not really increase the shelf life, and the process of freezing could burst the bottle.
Once the bottle has been opened, keep it in the refrigerator and tightly sealed.
Store powdered Gatorade that has not been opened in a cool, dark place away from light, heat or moisture.
Once you open the container, the product will start to slowly degrade. While the plastic container has a lid to keep out insects, some moisture in the air might still seep inside.
To extend the shelf life of powdered Gatorade, you could transfer the powder to an airtight container, like a glass jar. Oxygen absorbers or food-grade desiccant packets will help to keep the drink powder from clumping up.
Heavy-duty zip-top freezer bags with an oxygen absorber will also help to keep the powder fresh, and can come in handy on long camping trips. For home storage, that’s overkill.
- Both bottled Gatorade and the powdered mix last for at least a couple of months past their dates, assuming they’re unopened.
- An open bottle of Gatorade tastes best for about 3 to 5 days, but should stay safe for a week, or even more.
- Discard Gatorade that’s open for more than a week, or smells or tastes off. The powdered mix is spoiled if it’s clumped up, moldy, or there are pantry bugs inside.
- Store unopened bottled Gatorade at room temperature, and transfer any leftovers to the fridge.
- Gatorade powdered mix should sit in a cool and dark place, away from any moisture. An airtight container helps keep the product safe for longer.