Does Powerade Expire or Go Bad?

by Charlie
Powerade sports drink

Powerade is a popular sports drink used to replenish electrolytes like potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium after high-intensity exercises, like playing sports. Given that sports drinks like Powerade are made primarily of water and sugar (or artificial sweetener) it’s easy to assume that Powerade has a long shelf life, or would never go bad at all – but that’s not the case. 

Does Powerade expire? Yes, Powerade can expire. While the shelf-life of Powerade depends heavily on how it is stored, Powerade stored properly can typically last about 9 months past its printed expiration date, meaning it will have a total shelf-life of about 12-18 months in most cases. 

How Long Does Unopened Powerade Last?

When Powerade is unopened and stored properly it is very shelf-stable, meaning that it would technically remain safe to consume for 9 months or even up to a few years after its printed expiration date. This can put its total shelf-life at anywhere from 12-18 months in many cases but even up to 24 months.

However, the longer it sits on your shelf, the more the quality of the product degrades so that 2 ½-year-old Powerade at the back of your pantry may not taste as good as one that only a few months past expiry. 

How Long Does Powerade Last When Open?

Once opened, make sure the cap is back on your bottle, closed tightly, and then stored in the fridge. When closed tightly, and refrigerated Powerade can last about 3-5 days once opened.

How to Tell if Powerade Has Gone Bad?

Much like Gatorade, the salt content in Powerade can make it difficult to note certain changes that may typically indicate to you that your drink has gone bad as salt is a natural preservative. However, you should discard your Powerade if you see any of the following signs:

  • Changes in Smell: If you open your bottle of Powerade and notice a distinct change in smell such as something sour or off-putting.
  • Change in Taste: If your Powerade shows no other obvious signs of having gone bad and you taste it but notice it tastes different from how it should, err on the side of caution and throw it away.
  • Change in Appearance: If you notice the color of your Powerade has changed or there is visible sediment in the drink either when you pour it in a glass or at the bottom of the bottle. 
  • You Know its Been Opened a Long Time: If you’re cleaning out your fridge and find an unopened bottle of Powerade that you know has been there for a few weeks, just to be safe it’s best to throw it out. 
  • It’s Solidified or Turned to Gel: In rare cases, when not stored properly you can find that your Powerade has turned to gel or solidified. If that happens, it’s best not to take any chances whether or not your drink is past its expiration date.

What Happens When You Drink Expired Powerade?

Like with any spoiled food or beverage, there are health risks that come from consuming Powerade that has gone bad. However, consuming Powerade that is expired but is still within the 9-18 month range of its expiration date should pose no ill effects. Of course, you should always make sure you examine your drinks for any changes in taste, smell or appearance before consuming. 

How Do You Store Powerade?

To properly store Powerade, keep it in a cool, dark place. Once opened or the seal is broken, close the lid tightly and refrigerate. 

Powerade should never be stored in a place that is exposed to heat or direct sunlight as this can cause chemicals in the bottle to break down and leach into the drink and can also affect the overall shelf-life of the drink.

It typically takes a few days for chemicals to leach from the bottle into the drink, but any extended amount of time exposed to heat and direct sunlight can impact the quality of the drink.

Once opened, Powerade needs to be refrigerated and tightly re-sealed. An open bottle of Powerade is recommended to be consumed within 3 to 5 days, but it’s possible that it will last beyond that recommendation. If your Powerade has been in your fridge for longer than this recommended time frame, check the drink for signs of having gone bad before choosing to consume it. 

Can You Freeze Powerade?

Technically, yes, you can freeze Powerade however it is not recommended. Freezing and thawing can result in separation, as well as sensory changes to the drink. In some cases, Powerade has been shown not to freeze at all when the seal remains intact but will freeze instantly once the cap is removed.

So, while it is possible to freeze Powerade, especially if placed in another container such as an ice cube tray, most sport drink manufacturers will advise against freezing due to possible changes to the taste or texture of the drink. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, there’s no need to worry if you bought a bit too much Powerade when it was on sale. You’ll safely be able to store and consume it for at least a year or two! 

Your Powerade will have a clearly printed expiration date on the bottle, while it’s best to consume your drink before this date for the best quality product, Powerade is safe to consume 9 months and potentially up to 12 months or more after the printed expiration date. 

Once opened, your Powerade should be tightly resealed, refrigerated and consumed within 3 to 5 days.

To preserve the quality of your Powerade, ensure that you keep it out of direct sunlight and heat. Storing it in a cool, dark place is best, as heat and sunlight can cause chemicals to leach from the bottle into the drink and impact the overall shelf-life of your Powerade. 

Powerade may not show typical signs of having gone off due to the natural preservative, salt, but if you notice a change in taste, smell or appearance it’s best to throw it out.

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