Do Brita Filters Expire? (What to Know Before Replacing)

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Wondering how long unused water filters for Brita systems can last? Or keen to know the expiration date of an opened, used Brita water filter?

In this guide, we’ve shared everything you should know about whether or not Brita filters can expire.

πŸ“Œ Key Takeaways:

  • Brita water filters do expire once they’re opened, but unused Brita filters don’t have an expiration date.
  • Depending on the filter, a Brita filtering cartridge will usually expire within 2-6 months of its first contact with unfiltered drinking water.
  • Make sure to store your unused, unopened filter in a cool, dark location to preserve its long shelf life.

πŸ“‰ Do Unopened Brita Filters Expire?

No, Brita filters don’t expire. Brita says that a sealed, unused water filter has an indefinite lifespan. As long as you store your filter in a sealed bag in a cool, dry place, it shouldn’t ever expire. This applies to all Brita water filters, including Brita’s Standard and Elite pitcher filters, Brita Stream filters, and Brita faucet mount filters.

This is great news if you like to buy a big batch of replacement filters to save money per filter – you can store your unused filters for years and not have to worry about them expiring.

Can unused water filters expire? It depends on the filter media used, but very rarely. Brita filter cartridges are activated carbon-based, and other sources online all agree that this type of filtration media lasts forever without losing effectiveness, as long as it’s stored properly in a sealed, airtight bag.

Brita elite and standard

πŸ“† Do Opened Brita Filters Expire?

Yes, opened Brita filters do expire.

The moment the filter first comes into contact with water, the clock starts counting down until its expiry date.

There are two popular filters used in the Brita pitchers: the Brita Standard filter and the Brita Elite filter (previously called the Brita LongLast filter).

The Standard filter expires after 40 gallons (or about 2 months) of use, and the Elite filter expires after about 120 gallons (or about 6 months). Many Brita pitchers have a timer-based filter change indicator that tells you when you should replace the filter.

You should replace the filters within the timeframe to prevent problems associated with old, expired water filters.

Important note: Brita water filters expire and should be replaced within 2-6 months of use (depending on the filter), regardless of how often you use them. So, even if you use a Brita filter to filter a single batch of water, then don’t use it again, it’ll still expire within 2-6 months because of its initial contact with water. It doesn’t matter how brief the contact – once the filter has been used, it will need to be replaced within the allotted time frame for sanitation reasons.

πŸ”Ž What Is The Shelf Life Of A Brita Filter?

The shelf life of a Brita filter is indefinite – meaning that there is no specific best-before or use-by date – as long as the filter is sealed and stored properly away from heat and moisture.

With that said, an older filter might not work as well without pre-soaking. Brita recommends soaking an old Standard filter for 15 minutes before using it to filter your tap water. We’re not sure what Brita classes as “old”, but we’d say that this is worth doing if you’re using a filter that you bought more than 1 year ago.

The shelf life of a used Brita water filter is between 2 and 6 months, depending on the filter type. The activated carbon filter media will lose efficiency within this time frame, and will eventually be unable to effectively remove harmful contaminants from your water.

Separating brita water pitcher components
source: How to Change the Filter on Your Brita Everyday Pitcher, Youtube, Uploaded by Brita USA

πŸ€” What Happens If You Use A Brita Filter Beyond Its Expiry Date?

As we mentioned, unused, unopened Brita filters don’t have an expiry date. However, used filters do expire.

If you continue to use a Brita filter beyond the recommended filter replacement date, you’ll increase the risk of the following issues:

Very Slow Filtration Speed

Slow filtration speed is a performance issue that may occur due to using an expired filter in your Brita pitcher.

Water filter pitchers filter water slowly and steadily, and when you use an old filter past its expiration date, the filter will gradually become more and more clogged with contaminants until the flow reduces to a small trickle.

You can resolve this issue by replacing the expired filter cartridge with a new filter.

Bacteria Growth On The Filter

Perhaps the most dangerous outcome of continuing to use an expired water filter in your Brita filter is the risk of bacteria growth.

This is also the reason why we said that you should only use the filter as long as advised by Brita, regardless of how much water you filter. Even if you don’t notice a change to the filter flow rate, invisible bacteria may still begin to grow in the filter media once so much time has passed between replacements.

Bacteria thrive in moist conditions, and your risk of exposure to bacteria in your Brita water filter pitcher is higher if you continue to use expired filters.

Bacteria build up inside brita filter cartridge

Recontamination Of Water

Recontamination of water is another dangerous risk of using an expired filter in your Brita pitcher.

If the filter degrades significantly, the media may develop holes, allowing contaminants and unfiltered water to bypass straight through.

As a result, you may end up with more chlorine in your filtered water than you started out with.

🚰 How Long Do Brita Filters Last?

Brita filters last between 2 and 6 months, depending on the filter in question.

We’ve shared the lifespans of all the popular Brita filters, including the Brita Standard and Elite filters, the Brita Stream filter, and the Brita bottle and faucet filters, in this guide: How Long do Brita Filters Last?

πŸ“₯ How Should You Store A Brita Water Filter?

To help sustain your unused Brita filter’s indefinite lifespan, make sure to store the filter correctly.

The ideal storage location for a Brita water filter is a cool, dark cupboard, away from any sources of heat or moisture.

A pantry or a basement is a great place to store Brita filters, as long as this location isn’t at risk of leaks or flooding and the storage spot has no access to direct sunlight.

If you want to store your filter in the kitchen, just make sure the kitchen doesn’t get very hot and humid, as can sometimes be the case when you’re cooking.

πŸ“‘ Final Word

Brita filters have very long shelf lives, which Brita calls “indefinite”. So, you’ve got the green light if you want to bulk-buy filters and store them for a few years before you get round to using them.

Just make sure to store unopened filters in a suitable location, and be aware that used filters are much quicker to expire – usually within 2-6 months of their first contact with unfiltered drinking water.

  • Laura Shallcross
    Senior Editor

    Laura is a passionate residential water treatment journalist who holds an undergraduate degree in Print Journalism and a master’s degree in Creative Writing. Over a span of 5 years she's written on a range of topics including water softening, well water treatment, and purification processes.

2 thoughts on “Do Brita Filters Expire? (What to Know Before Replacing)”

  1. Avatar for Laura Shallcross

    i bought some britta filters at a yard sale. they were sealed but in the sun. i dont know how long, how can i tell if they are safe

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