The consecration of water is not one of the seven most important church sacraments, but it undoubtedly has a sacramental, mysterious character. In other words, during the recitation of the prayer and the liturgical action, the grace of the Holy Spirit invisibly but absolutely really descends on the water. Water becomes a kind of shrine that should be properly used and stored.
In the Orthodox Church, there are three rites for the consecration of water: consecration in the rite of the sacrament of holy baptism, on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and also small consecration, which takes place throughout the year.
How to use holy water
Permanent storage of water in reserve is unacceptable. Many bring it once a year from the church, as a rule, for Epiphany and keep it according to the principle "so that it stands in the house, because it is like that for everyone." This is fundamentally wrong! Thus, a kind of confinement of the shrine takes place. The grace of consecrated water will not diminish, no matter how much it is stored, but those believers who do not turn to the shrine, that is, do not use it, rob themselves. Holy water must be drunk regularly.
In addition to being consumed internally, it can be sprinkled on a home. However, you should not rinse a sick person or child with it while bathing, as holy water can enter the sewer. Water can only be sprinkled. Also, do not give it to pets to drink.
How to store holy water
There is no need to keep consecrated water in the closet among the food. Moreover, you should not put it in the refrigerator - holy water does not deteriorate. The container with it should be stored on a separate shelf in a place closed from the penetration of light, or in the immediate vicinity of icons and other consecrated objects.
There are cases of damage with holy water. If you stored it correctly, but it still deteriorated, in particular, turbidity, an unpleasant odor appeared in it, or it acquired a bad taste, you should definitely tell the priest about this. It is better to do this in confession with repentance for the disrespectful attitude towards the holy thing. The church allows to pour out spoiled holy water into a river or other natural source. Just don't flush it down the toilet or pour it down the sink!