Does Gatorade Go Bad?

If you just found a bottle of Gatorade sitting in the pantry for who knows how long, “does Gatorade go bad?” is probably your first question.

Gatorade, like any other energy drink, can go bad, but it happens very rarely.

In this article, we will go through what Gatorade producers tell us about storage, shelf life, and spoilage of their sports drink. We will also discuss what people who drink Gatorade have to say about those topics.

If you’d like to read what Gatorade says about that, check out the FAQ on their website.

Gatorade bottle in hand
Gatorade bottle in hand

How To Store Gatorade

As long as the bottle of Gatorade is unopened, you can store it at room temperature.

Once you open the bottle, you should keep it in the fridge. That’s what the manufacturer recommends, at least.

But many people don’t keep opened bottles of Gatorade in the refrigerator because they don’t like to drink it cold.


If you prefer Gatorade at room temperature, try storing it in the fridge and taking it out about 30 minutes before you need it.

The tip above works well if you use Gatorade to power through your workouts, but doesn’t help much if you drink it to rehydrate throughout the day.

Gatorade in glass
Gatorade in a glass

Either way, you need to worry about refrigerating Gatorade only if you plan on keeping it for longer than a day.

If you use the whole bottle the day you open it, keeping it on the counter probably won’t make any difference.

Last but not least, make sure you seal the bottle tightly when not in use. This way any bacteria or food particles won’t get inside and (possibly) cause the sports drink to spoil.

Gatorade bottle opening
Gatorade bottle opening

How Long Does Gatorade Last

Gatorade comes with a best by date. That date informs you how long, at the very least, the product should be at peak quality.

Since Gatorade is shelf-stable, as long as it is unopened, you can store it for a couple of months or even years past its date.

Of course, the taste of Gatorade that’s 3 years past its date will likely be worse than that of a brand new bottle. But it should still be perfectly safe to drink.

Gatorade: best-by-date
Gatorade: best-by-date clearly visibly on the label

Once you open the bottle, the producer recommends finishing it within a few days if you keep it chilled.

Truth be told, many people have stored Gatorade for days and weeks, and the drink was okay. This is quite common for sports drinks.

If you’ve opened a bottle of Gatorade 2 weeks ago, consumed half of it and put the rest into the fridge, it should be fine.


Gatorade usually stays okay for longer than what the producer states, but remember that the quality deteriorates over time.

When it comes to an opened bottle of Gatorade that chills in the fridge for a few days already, give it a quick exam before drinking.

Gatorade (Unopened)Best By + 2 – 3 years 
Gatorade (Opened)1 – 3 days7 – 10 days

Please note that the periods above are approximate. When it comes to open Gatorade, always check if it’s safe to drink before chugging the rest of the bottle.

Gatorade closeup
Gatorade closeup

How To Tell If Gatorade Is Bad

Before drinking old Gatorade, pour some into a glass and look for:

  • Changed color. If the color isn’t what it was when you’ve bought the bottle, something is clearly off.
  • Sediment. Either in the glass or, what’s more likely, on the bottom of the bottle.
  • Funny or off smell. It’s no good if it doesn’t pass the sniff test.

If either is the case, pour it down the drain.

Given that everything up to this point seems to be okay, drink a little.

If it tastes okay, which is the most probable outcome, feel free to drink the rest.

If the taste isn’t that great, you can discard it for quality purposes. Or decide to drink it anyway, if you don’t mind some self-inflicted torture.

Raspberry gatorade bottle
Bottle of Gatora: raspberry flavor

One general piece of advice when it comes to spoilage is that the first signs of it are usually difficult to spot

Because of that, in certain situations, it’s better to assume the product is bad and discard it without even examining it.

For sports drinks, if you left the bottle unsealed for more than a few hours, it’s better to throw it out. It might be perfectly fine, but if it’s not, you wouldn’t know about it.

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  1. I’m currently (2/19/2015) drinking a bottle of G Series Lemon Lime Gatorade that shows a Mar 28 2012 sell by date and it is just fine.  I was stored in a cool dry place out of the sun with seal unbroken.  Hey, with all that salt and sugar and stored properly I don’t think it ever goes bad.  But perhaps some scientist could comment further.  I’m just a regular Joe.  And of course the manufacturer will want it consumed way sooner and fresher no matter what to avoid any liability.

  2. I leave a Gatorade in my bag just in case I get thirsty throughout the day and sometimes I’ll accidentally leave it in there for awhile. Well the other day I was about to drink some of my Gatorade that has been in there for probably 1-2 months and I looked at it and there were little green balls floating around, there was a bunch of them!! I immediately threw it away. I’m pretty sure it was mold but I didn’t inspect it too much.

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