Can Expired Iced Tea Make You Sick?

We all love a refreshing glass of iced tea every now and then, especially on a hot day and not only does Iced tea taste delicious, but is very healthy for the body. You can make all different types of iced tea yourself at home. But how long does iced tea last? and can you be sick if you consume iced tea that’s expired?

If you have a weak stomach then YES! Iced tea can make you sick, but this really depends on the type of ingredients in your tea, and how strong your stomach is. However! It’s not recommended that you drink iced tea if you think it has expired. It’s always safer just to throw your old tea away and make a fresh batch.

Now according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Iced tea should only be stored for a maximum of eight hours, after this time the taste can start to deteriorate. But there are ways to extend the lifetime of your iced tea if you store it correctly.

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If you’ve been using ingredients like fresh fruit in your iced tea, and it’s already starting to expire, then Yes! this can make you sick, especially if you have a weak stomach.

Once fruit expires it contains harmful bacteria that can cause things like vomiting and diarrhea. Most iced teas contain sugar and again once expired, this will contain harmful bacteria.

If you consume any tea that contains expired fruit then this can give you an upset stomach that could eventually lead to vomiting or diarrhea.

When Iced Tea Expires

When iced tea expires the sugars start to breakdown, this is when harmful bacteria can build up in the tea. Now there are some clear signs when your iced tea starts to expire. For example…

  • Strange smell and taste
  • Start to crystallized
  • Turns into a thick syrup 
  • Starts to go cloudy

If your iced tea is showing any of these signs, then its a very good chance your iced tea has expired, at this point, your tea won’t taste very good, and all health benefits you get from fresh iced tea will no longer be present in the tea.

Smell And Taste

Now usually the first sign of iced tea that’s gone bad is the tea will give off a strange pungent smell, your notice this smell soon as you open the container or jug.

This goes for the taste as well, your notice that the tea has an almost moldy like taste to it, your also notice that the tea has gone slightly darker as well.


Not only does some iced tea smell and taste bad when expired, but it also starts to crystallize, this is when the sugars in the tea start to breakdown and harmful bacteria build-up.

If you’re using a jug you can clearly see a line where some of the tea has evaporated and crystallized on the edge. The tea will also be slightly discolored and cloudy at the bottom of the jug, this is a clear sign that your tea has gone bad.

Thick Syrup

Another sign for when your iced tea has expired is if you’ve noticed that the tea has turned into a thick syrup, and is slightly cloudy at the bottom.

If your tea has been in the fridge for a while and has a syrup-like texture, then there’s a good chance drinking this expired iced tea can make you sick.

Using Fresh Tea leaves

If your using fresh tea leaves in your iced tea and there showing signs of mold then the tea has expired. They also give off a slightly bitter taste depending on what type of tea your using.

Because of the mold that can generate on fresh tea leaves, which is bacteria, if you consume this tea, it is possible you can get sick.

If you making a fresh batch of tea always check before using your leaves that they are not discolored in any way, and still have a nice deep green look.

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Stored Correctly

So can expired iced tea make you sick? Yes, of course, it can! BUT.. did you know there are ways to prolong the lifespan of your iced tea if you store it correctly.

By storing your iced in a suitable container it can last up to 3 to 4 days before going bad. Always keep your iced tea at a cool temperature and not directly in sunlight where it can start to get warm and deteriorate. 

If you’re enjoying your iced tea with friends or family outside or in the garden, it’s always best to return the tea to the fridge each time you pour a glass.

Iced tea can heat up very quickly outside, especially if its summertime and the temperature outside is high. When iced tea goes warm it can lose flavor and in the end, it just doesn’t have the same refreshing taste when cold.

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Drinking Expired Iced Tea

It’s never recommended that you drink iced tea that has expired. But there are times when your tea hasn’t been stored correctly and as a result goes bad without you realizing.

You see… Because of the build-up of bacteria in expired iced tea, if you consume this tea, it can cause a variety of health problems and side effects, for example, you may experience the following…

  • Vomiting
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Diarrhea

If you experience any of these symptoms above after drinking iced tea then it’s most likely gone bad and expired, you should throw any remaining tea away if this happens.

Iced Tea Expiration Dates

If your someone you prefers to buy their iced tea already made from a shop, like the kind you get in a bottle from the fridge, well, these types of iced tea usually have an expiration date.

Now, unlike homemade iced tea the bottle type tea can still be consumed after its expiration date. The reason is iced tea that been kept in an airtight bottle can last longer than the homemade type.

However, the taste of the tea might not be as good or as favorable once it’s past the expiry date. So it’s still recommended to just buy a fresh bottle of tea to get the best possible taste from your tea


So if you think your iced tea is going bad or expired, do avoid drinking it, as you can suffer the side effects mentioned in this article.

During the peak of summer, there’s nothing better than relaxing in the garden or summer chair with a glass of refreshing iced cold tea with the best possible flavor.

The last thing you want is expired tea in the glass, which can have a good chance of making you sick. So if you think your tea has expired, it’s always better and safer just to start again and make a fresh batch, which will be more refreshing, enjoyable, and full of flavor.

Remember if your buying any iced tea from a shop always check the expiration date. As mentioned this won’t necessarily make you sick if out of date, but it won’t taste as good.

If you are making any homemade iced tea and you want to know how to make your tea last long? Then check out this article below.

Simmering Tea
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