Does Gatorade Go Bad? How Long Does Gatorade Last?

Gatorade is a flavored drink that replaces carbohydrates and sodium lost during exercise. If you are especially active and you frequently drink Gatorade, you probably stock up to quench your thirst. Well, what about that 8 pack of cool blue that you’ve had sitting in your pantry that is 6 months past the “best by date”? Let’s explore if Gatorade can spoil, if it can be frozen, and how long it lasts once it is opened.

Quick Answer

Gatorade can spoil, once it is opened it should be consumed with in three days if left at room temperature. If the beverage is opened, consumed, then left in the fridge then it should be finished in 5 days per PepsiCo’s suggestion. This 3 to 5 day mark guarantees the freshness of the flavor. Moreover, you’ll likely know if your Gatorade is spoiled by the color change, change in texture, and odor. Also, if you’re feeling brave, the taste will be very different.


Gatorade is great for kids, adults, and athletes. It has been the thirst satisfying go-to drink for many, on a hot summer’s day.  Whether it is opened or unopened, to enjoy Gatorade there is a proper way to store it and once opened there is a suggested time frame to consume it.

Does Gatorade Go Bad? How Long Does Gatorade Last?

Gatorade in general can spoil if not properly stored. While it is a shelf stable product, meaning it is not perishable, high temperatures, sunlight, and humidity can be factors in reducing the shelf life.

Once a bottle is left open, that is when the beverage can go sour. If you leave the bottle to sit for more than 7 days, you should toss it to be safe. It also depends on how it’s stored. For instance, if it has been opened and you take a sip you leave saliva behind. Then the opened bottle is left it in the car, Gatorade will quickly degrade and any heat that is present will cause microbes to multiply. Even though the lid keeps dust and other junk out, moisture from the air can seep inside the bottle. This introduces bacteria and fungi.

If you open it, take a sip, then sit it in the fridge, you will be persevering the flavor freshness. The flavor should still be there between 3 to 5 days, but you should still drink it all within 5 days. After the 5 days, you’ll notice a loss in the taste, the texture may change as well as the smell due to growth of organic material.

There is a “best by date” on the packaging neck. This indicates to drink it by this date to have the best tasting product. This date usually does not mean it will become non-consumable after this date.

Unopened bottled Gatorade can last for 9 months after the “best by date”. Yet, due to its non-perishable ingredients, it can probably still safely be drunk given that it has been stored in a dry and cool place.

Gatorade pods have a shelf life of 6 months to consume after the “best by date”. Again, this is to ensure that you would be getting the best flavor if consumed at the suggested date.

A container of powdered Gatorade mix has a shelf life of about 2 years when the container is still sealed. Once opened, the contents should be drunk within 6 months from the date it was opened.

How Long Does Gatorade Last Outside

Once bottled Gatorade is opened and is left outside of the refrigerator, it will last between 1 to 3 days. Gatorade pods are a one-time use, once you squeeze the pod into your water bottle, it should be consumed within 1 to 2 days. This time frame depends on the water that is used in the bottle. Powder Gatorade mix will last for 6 months if left unrefrigerated.

After 3 days, you’ll notice a loss or change in the taste, clumps, or the smell due to growth of organic matter. This is due to the introduction of moisture and other organic microbes from your mouth.

However, if the Gatorade product remains unopened and it is stored properly then it will last through the best recommended by date and probably longer than that.

How Long Does Gatorade Last in the Fridge

Once you have opened your bottled Gatorade or Gatorade pod, refrigerate it. If you are using the Gatorade powder mix, you can store it in an airtight container. The flavor quality and freshness should last between 3 to 5 days if in liquid form and 6 months if in powder form. Plus, Gatorade products are best tasting when cold!

Make sure the cap is closed and the beverage is in the fridge within 24 hours after opening. The suggested temperature should be around 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

After the 5-day mark, it is probably best that it is thrown out. However, if you feel compelled to drink it, check the smell and the texture. Drink at your own risk!

How Long Does Gatorade Last in the Freezer

Per PepsiCo, freezing Gatorade is not recommended, because under 40 degrees Fahrenheit the drink’s emulsion can separate. Also, as the beverage is not completely water, it will not freeze completely though the water will.  As the water freezes, the other contents in the bottle begin to push against the plastic seal.

Though, bringing the temperature close to freezing will not change the efficacy of the product. You will still receive benefits the Gatorade beverage has to offer.

However, if you plan to store it in the freezer, no more than 2 hours is recommended. This way you do not have to clean up an exploded Gatorade slurry. Attempting to freeze a Gatorade will not extend the shelf life of an opened or unopened product.


Gatorade is a shelf stable drink that athletes, adults, and children consume. If it’s unopened, just store it in a cool and dry place like your pantry or cabinet. Once it is opened, be sure to refrigerate it within 24 hours after opening and finish it within 3 to 5 days to ensure you get the best tasting safe beverage! If you cannot get to a fridge, be sure to store the unopened drink in a cool and dry place and finish it within 1 to 2 days

How To Tell If Gatorade Has Gone Bad / How To Know Gatorade is Fresh

Smell: Usually Gatorade has a salty sweet smell when it’s fresh. Once it’s opened and it is past the 5 days that is should be consumed, Gatorade begins to smell sour, the sweet smell fades, or it begins to smell moldy.

Texture: Fresh bottled Gatorade and Gatorade pods have a low viscosity; the fruity flavor is evident when opened. Fresh Gatorade powder mix flows freely with poured and the particles do not stick together. Once a Gatorade product is no longer safe to consume, you’ll see that there are clumps in the liquid and powder mixes. Also, you may notice the viscosity is more syrup like in the liquid forms of Gatorade.

Best by date: Gatorade has a best by date, not an expiration date. This is because the ingredients in Gatorade are shelf stable. Yet, if you find a bottle that is a year or 3 years past the “best by date”, proceed with caution.

Appearance of container: Gatorade products come in a sealed, clean, blemish free packaging. You will usually find this product sitting on a store’s shelf in a cool and dry area. If the packaging is damaged, the seal is broken, or the container is warped; it is best to assume that product is not safe for consumption.

How to Store Gatorade?

Pantry: To ensure the fresh quality is maintained, Gatorade should be stored in a cool, dry, and dark place. This goes for bottled Gatorade, Gatorade pods, and powdered Gatorade mix. The pantry would be suitable and convenient.

Refrigerator: It is best to store any opened Gatorade liquid product in the refrigerator. A few unopened bottles can be stored in the fringe as the drink it best cold, though storing unopened bottles does not prolong its shelf life.

Cellar: If you decide to stock up on Gatorade and believe you’ll finish it by the “best by date”, then the cellar would be a perfect place permitting that it is dry, dark, and cool.

Can You Freeze Gatorade? How?

Freezing temperatures: Particular contents in Gatorade can be frozen and others cannot. The water in Gatorade will freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, sugar in water usually freezes around 29 to 26 degrees Fahrenheit. Gatorade contains salt and for this reason, it will not freeze into a solid.

Gatorade ingredients: Gatorade will turn into a syrup slurry like product. When the salt, sugar, and other ingredients are thawed, they can become separated from the water in Gatorade. What would be left is a syrup like product on top of ice. If you were to let it thaw completely, the emulsion still may not blend as Gatorade was not made freeze.

Freezing Gatorade: When attempting to freeze Gatorade, pour out some of the contents of the bottle. If you do not, the water freezes then expands and it pushes the unfrozen liquids to toward the seal of the bottle. This can cause an explosion in the freezer. Make sure your freezer temperature is around 26 to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. The water will freeze in about 3 to 4 hours, the other contents will slush up at around the 8-hour mark.

How to Thaw Gatorade?

Remove the bottle from the freezer and let sit at room temperature. If you poured out some of the contents, you do not have to worry about spillage. If you did not, make sure to open over a sink.

Another way to thaw Gatorade is by either running the bottle under room temperature water or leaving it in a bowl of water for an hour or two to defrost.

Frequently Asked Questions About Gatorade’s Shelf Life

Gatorade is a drink that replenishes the body of calories, salt, and hydration. Often people purchase Gatorade in bulk and as a result there are consistent questions asked regarding the shelf life. Here are a two questions and responses to them:

Why is Gatorade a shelf stable product? Gatorade contains water, sugar, dextrose, citric acid, table salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, and added flavoring and dye agents. These ingredients do not require refrigeration and are non-perishable when stored properly.

Can expired Gatorade be consumed? It is best to drink Gatorade by the “best by date”. If the product is unopened and it is a few months after the best by date, you can still drink it.  If Gatorade is unopened, stored properly, and is consumed 9 months to 2 years after the “best by date”, it should still be fine. You may notice a change in the color or taste.

Wrap Up

Gatorade is a fascinating drink that many people enjoy. Its shelf stable life allows it to be stored for an ample amount of time. However, once opened be sure set it in the refrigerator to enjoy a refreshing fresh beverage.

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