Checking/refilling my 5-gallon jugs

Hey all. About ten months ago, I filled up a handful of 5-gallon Sceptor water jugs. This was my first foray into long-term water storage. 

I was advised at the time that I should periodically empty and refill these jugs with fresh water. How often do you y’all do this? 6 months? A year? 

Also, for the first time today, I tasted some of the water I’ve been storing. It has a very mild plastic-y flavor to it. Very drinkable otherwise. Is this normal? What should I be checking for to make sure that my first efforts to store water were “proper”? I’m trying to avoid a situation where the worst-case scenario happens and I only find out then that my preparations were bad. 

If it’s helpful, here are the high-level steps I followed when I originally filled these last year: 

– Rinsed them thoroughly inside with warm water and dish soap
– Filled each 5-gallon jug with water and about 1.5-2ml of bleach. Let sit for 15 minutes. Flip, let sit for 15 more. 
– Dumped out the bleach water, rinsed it really good
– Filled with tap water
– Screwed on caps tightly. Stored in a cool, dark place

Would you recommend that when I empty the jugs to fill them fresh, I repeat all of the steps above? Or is a simpler process ok after the first time? 


  • Comments (4)

    • 2

      Just responding because no one else did. I just keep purified water jugs from grocery store. But I found some links that may help you.

      This guide has some basic tips on water storage. Stored water should be good for at least a year. Soap and water is adequate for cleaning – no bleach needed. I wouldn’t worry about that plastic flavor.


      ThePrepared also has a paid course that goes into more depth. I have not taken that course myself, but was very happy with TP’s first aid course.


      • 1

        Thanks. I’ve considered the water safety course and may go ahead and sign up. 

    • 3

      You are ahead of me here!  I did the same as you – except three years ago at the beginning of the pandemic, and despite my best intentions I haven’t gotten around to refilling them.  I’ve sort of told myself that I could run the water through my LifeStraw or Berkey, or even boil them, if push came to shove.  

      But when I do get motivated, I intend to redo all the steps. I did have to use the emergency water in my car once, and it was only one year old, and the taste was just – awful.  Clearly perfectly safe because I’m still alive but I’d rather not have to go through that with multiple gallons!

      • 1

        Got it. Thanks for your reply! It’s hard to get motivated to refill them but I’m going to try and push through.