Does Gatorade Go Bad?

Athletes and sports-lovers alike know just what this sports drink is. Gatorade is a hydration beverage made out of water, sugar, dextrose, citric acid, sodium citrate, and more, with each bottle providing delicious flavors that’ll make you want to keep drinking. 

Gatorade is mostly known for fueling athletes’ thirst and refueling their energy. This is because the drink is designed to prevent and/or treat dehydration. They have such a high electrolyte content that it’s more effective than water for rehydrating. I can vouch for this, as I drank a lot of this during the days when I was athletic. Even now I’ll crave Gatorade if I feel dehydrated.

The Gatorade brand was founded in 1965 by a team of scientists inside of a University of Florida lab. They took the name from the nickname of the university’s sports teams (the Florida Gators).

There are now many types of Gatorade, each with similar benefits. There is also a plethora of different flavors to choose from.

Gatorade G and G2 are two of the most popular, with G2 being a light-tasting version containing all the same electrolytes but fewer calories than G. Other types include Low Sugar, Fierce, Flow, Zero, and Gatorade Frost.

Not only is Gatorade used as a hydration drink for athletes, but it’s also great for those who are sick with something like a stomach bug. Whenever you’re in need of electrolytes, have a Gatorade.

So, as useful as it is, you may be wondering how long a single Gatorade bottle lasts. Does it go bad? The truth is, unopened Gatorade can last a pretty long time, but once opened, its shelf-life decreases. 

Read on to learn more!

Does Gatorade Go Bad?

When unopened, Gatorade is shelf-stable, which means you can store it for a couple of months or even years past its date. But of course, it’s better to drink it sooner rather than later.

However, if you left that Gatorade bottle in the back of the fridge and forgot about it for 3 years, it should still be perfectly safe to drink. It just may not taste as good!

It’s also important to note that Gatorade can spoil if it’s left open and not refrigerated. 

How Long Does Gatorade Last?

Unopened Gatorade has the ability to keep in its best condition for up to about 9 months past the written date.

When the bottle is opened, the shelf life reduces to about 5 days in the refrigerator, but as we said before, it’s still safe to drink! Just make sure the unopened bottle is stored in the refrigerator and kept cool.

To find the date on the container, look at the first line of the neck of the bottle. 

Gatorade Powder

If you take an unopened packet of powdered Gatorade mix (which is also an option), its shelf life lasts about 2 years past the date on the label.

What Happens When Gatorade Goes Bad?

The biggest problem when Gatorade passes its expiration date is that it loses the quality of its flavor the longer it remains open in the fridge.

Just make sure you reseal the bottle tightly.  If you didn’t put it back in the fridge after opening and left the cap off, you run the risk of bacteria or food particles getting inside. 

However, in rare circumstances, bacteria can grow in the drink itself. This is because you left the cap open in an unrefrigerated area. But it’s also because the drink contains sugar. The reason you would see bacteria growth due to sugar is that you’re putting it in a plastic water bottle and don’t wash it in between uses (or at least not as often as you should).

Can Expired Gatorade Make You Sick?

Gatorade can be safely consumed past it’s expiry date (and beyond) if the seal is intact and the product has been stored in a clean, dry, cool environment.

You’re unlikely to get sick from drinking old gatorade. However, you can get food poisoning if bacterial formation has started. So, to be on the safe side, throw out that bottle if it looks like it has started to go bad.

How to Tell if Gatorade Has Gone Bad

Gatorade is easy to chug out of the bottle. However, if you’re questioning whether or not to drink it, there are tell-tale signs on if the sports drink actually went bad. Pour it into a glass and look for these signs:

Change of Color

If your blue sports drink is looking off, or if you don’t remember buying that shade of red, something is wrong. Always check to see if your original color still pops. If not, odds are it’s going bad.

There’s Sediment

Pouring your Gatorade into a glass isn’t just going to help see a color difference. It’s also good to see if any sediment has made its way into your drink. It usually appears at the bottom of your glass or at the bottom of your bottle.

It Smells Funny or Off

Gatorade also has a nice aroma to it to go along with the flavor. If you take a sniff and it smells not like what you’re used to, it’s probably time to discard it.

If none of these things have happened and you’re still unsure, give it a little taste. It’s essentially up to you whether or not you can survive the quality.

However, we think it’s best that when in doubt, discard bad Gatorade. You can always pick up another bottle and drink it quicker this time!

How to Store Gatorade

When you purchase Gatorade at the stores, you can usually find them on the shelves, meaning non-refrigerated. So it’s safe to say it can last for a bit in the pantry at your home. If you’re not keeping them in the fridge, make sure to store an unopened bottle at room temperature until it’s ready to be placed in the refrigerator. It’s best to put it in a dark, dry place. Any pantry or cupboard will do.

Once opened, it’s a good (if not great) idea to keep it in the refrigerator. If you prefer drinking Gatorade at room temperature, you can take it out of the fridge and wait about 30 minutes before you drink it.

Gatorade powder mix, on the other hand, should sit in a cool and dark place, away from any moisture. An airtight container helps keep the product safe for longer. To keep it from clumping, there are a few ways to ensure a smooth consistency:

  • Pour off any loose powder into another container, then put the lid back on the original container and shake it repeatedly in order to pulverize the clump into powder. 
  • If there’s no loose powder and just clumps, you can dig at the clump with a steel-tined fork in order to break it down into powder.

Stuff like this rarely happens, unless the powder is really old, but these are just precautions.

Is Gatorade Good For You?

Gatorade can help revive you, but it’s also important to note that if consumed often, the sugar in the drink can cause enamel damage and tooth decay, especially in children.

If you’re less active and drinking it consistently, having the extra sugar and sodium through the day isn’t necessary or recommended.

And, if you’re not very active, the extra calories from a sports drink could contribute to weight gain. Overall, as long as you’re consuming in moderation or are reviving yourself from athletics, Gatorade is good to have as a beverage.

It’s also safe to drink Gatorade during pregnancy and is even recommended by many doctors to drink it during the later stages of pregnancy as it replaces electrolytes lost caused by sweating from contractions. And, the 6% carbohydrate solution gives a reasonable amount of carbohydrates for energy.