When Does Orange Juice Go Bad? Tips for Keeping Juice Fresh

Orange juice is a popular, refreshing and healthy drink enjoyed by many all over the world. It is rich in vitamin C, antioxidants and other vital nutrients that help keep the body healthy. Like most fruit juices, orange juice has a shelf life and can go bad if not stored properly. This article will explore the factors that contribute to the spoilage of orange juice and provide tips for keeping juice fresh.

Factors that contribute to the spoilage of orange juice

Orange juice can turn bad due to various factors. Here are some of the factors that contribute to the spoilage of orange juice.

Exposure to sunlight

Exposure to sunlight can cause the breakdown of certain nutrients in orange juice, leading to spoilage. Sunlight also increases the risk of microbial contamination which can cause spoilage.

Air exposure

Exposure to air can cause the oxidation of certain micronutrients in orange juice leading to spoilage. Oxygen in the air can also facilitate the growth of bacteria, yeast and moulds which can cause spoilage.


Temperature plays a critical role in the freshness of orange juice. High temperatures cause the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms which can cause spoilage. Temperatures below freezing can cause the juice to expand and break the container leading to contamination.


Contamination from other sources is one of the major contributors to spoilage of orange juice. It is essential to note that once the juice has been contaminated, bacterial growth can result in spoilage within a short time.

Tips for keeping juice fresh

Keeping your orange juice fresh will require proper storage and handling. Here are some tips that will help you keep your juice fresh for longer.

Keep it in a cool, dry place

Orange juice should be stored in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight. Sunlight can cause oxidation and spoilage of the juice. This can be achieved by keeping the juice inside a cupboard or a pantry away from any high-temperature sources.

Keep it in the refrigerator

The most effective method of keeping orange juice fresh is by storing it in the refrigerator. The low temperatures slow down bacterial growth and oxidation, extending the shelf life of the juice.

Use airtight containers

Airtight containers prevent air exposure, therefore, inhibiting the oxidation of micronutrients and the growth of microorganisms that can lead to spoilage.

Check the use-by date

It is essential to look out for the use-by date of the orange juice before buying it. This will ensure that it is fresh and of good quality. Once the juice has been opened, the use-by date becomes irrelevant. The juice should be consumed within three to five days after opening, even if the use-by date is longer.

Keep the container clean

It is essential to ensure that the container used to store the orange juice is clean. Cleaning the container after every use and drying it well before storage can reduce microbial contamination, removing one of the major causes of spoilage.

How to tell if orange juice has gone bad

Unlike solid food, it is not easy to tell if orange juice has gone bad by the smell or visual observation. However, here are some signs that can indicate spoilage.


If the orange juice appears to be cloudy or has a darker colour than usual, it might have gone bad. It is also essential to look out for any visible signs of mould on the surface of the juice.

Smell and taste

If the orange juice has a sour or rancid smell or tastes odd, it is a clear indication that it has gone bad. Fresh orange juice should have a clean, fresh taste and smell.


Orange juice is an excellent source of vital nutrients and a refreshing drink. However, it has a shelf life and can go bad if not stored properly. Keeping the juice in a cool, dry place, using airtight containers, checking the use-by date, and keeping the container clean can help extend the shelf life of orange juice.

Common questions and answers

  • Q: How long does orange juice last refrigerated?
  • A: Orange juice will last refrigerated for three to five days after it has been opened.
  • Q: Can orange juice make you sick?
  • A: Yes, orange juice can make you sick if it has gone bad or contaminated.
  • Q: How can I tell if my orange juice has gone bad?
  • A: Appearance, smell, and taste can indicate spoilage. If the juice appears cloudy, has visible mould or has a sour smell, then it may be bad.
  • Q: Can bacteria grow in orange juice?
  • A: Yes, bacteria, mould and yeast can grow in orange juice if it is not stored properly.


  • Barringer, S. (2019). Does Orange Juice Go Bad? Shelf Life and Storage Information. Retrieved from https://www.stilltasty.com/Fooditems/index/18483
  • Gould, G. (2019). Orangy zest. New Scientist. 244(3254), 46-49
  • Panda, K. and Swain, S. K. (2013). Studies on the microbiological quality and shelf life of orange juice blend stored under different conditions. Journal of Food Science and Technology. 50(6), 1266-1272.
  • Rahayu, W. P. and Wijana, S. (2018). Effect of sunlight exposure on vitamin C and total soluble solid of orange, orange juice, and orange squash. Open Agriculture. 3(1), 52-57.

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