Congrats on purchasing a reusable water bottle! We are all one step closer to saving the earth and the oceans, and reusable water bottles can also protect our health. To keep your water bottle in a healthy, ready-to-drink condition, you should know how to clean water bottles the right way.
There are hazards if you don’t clean your water bottle in the right way or regularly. We recommend cleaning it once a day, especially if you use your water bottle for anything other than water such as coffee, tea or soda. These flavored drinks can create bacteria and residue. Over time, this can turn into mold or leave your water bottle with an unpleasant odor. As long as you know how to clean water bottles and you do it regularly, you wont have to worry about these potential issues.
According to one study, a water bottle that hasn’t been cleaned contains over 300,000 colony-forming units (CFUs) per square centimeter. A dog’s toy, for comparison, has less than 3,000 CFUs. A toilet bowl has 27,000 CFUs. This means that your water bottle could potentially have more bacteria than both a dogs toy and a toilet bowl.
If your reusable water bottle has mold, then it’s easy to see. Unfortunately, CFUs are so small that they are invisible to the human eye. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. Clean your water bottle daily and understand how to clean water bottles the right way so you don’t have to worry about these germs.
You may wonder if cleaning your water bottle so much makes it worth it. However, using a reusable water bottle is the eco-friendly choice. If you practice good water bottle hygiene, you’ll save so much plastic from entering the planet’s ecosystem (specifically the ocean) that the effort needed to clean your water bottle daily is worth it. The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) now recommends a daily water intake of 3.7 liters (15 cups) for men and 2.7 liters (11 cups) for women. That’s a lot of water. If your primary source of water came from plastic bottles, you would have been consuming a lot of single-use plastic.
How to Clean Water Bottles the Right Way
All cleaning methods below will feature everyday household items to keep it as simple as possible. If you’re using your water bottle for anything other than water, such as juice tea or coffee, then take extra care to remove bacteria and odors.
5.) The White Vinegar Method
Materials needed: white vinegar, water, bottle brush, cloth
- Pour two tablespoons of white vinegar into the bottle.
- Put the cap of the water bottle back on. Shake the bottle like it’s a Shake Weight (or just shake it like it’s a stainless steel bottle that you’re trying to clean). This will ensure that the white vinegar covers the entire surface area of the inside of the bottle.
- Leave the white vinegar inside the bottle. Remove the cap and fill the bottle up halfway with warm water.
- Clean the inside of the bottle for at least 30 seconds with the bottle brush.
- Remove the bottle brush, and replace the cap. Leave the vinegar and water mixture inside the bottle.
- Shake the bottle again for another several seconds.
- Pour everything out. Rinse the bottle with water to remove the contents.
- Put one tablespoon of vinegar on the clean cloth.
- Wipe the mouth of the bottle and the outside of the bottle.
- Wash the bottle cap with your vinegar-soaked cloth. If your cap smells, you can let it soak in vinegar for up to 15 minutes (this should remove all odors).
Congratulations! You have a clean water bottle ready for use. If you’re wondering how to clean water bottles in a thorough way that gets rid of smells, you won’t be disappointed by the white vinegar option. Vinegar tends to be an excellent cleaning solution, and this method is no exception.
4.) The Soap and Water Method
Materials needed: water, dish soap, bottle brush, sponge, dish rack
If you’ve ever cleaned dishes in a sink before, this method will be familiar to you. When looking at how to wash water bottles, this is perhaps one of the most common options.
- First, remove the cap. Fill your bottle up halfway with warm or hot water.
- Squirt a few drops of dish soap into the bottle.
- Replace the cap. Vigorously shake the bottle for at least 10 seconds.
- Remove the cap and pour the soapy water out.
- Refill the bottle up with water and rinse it a few times to remove all of the soapy residues.
- Use a bottle brush to clean the inside of your reusable water bottle with additional cleaning power. Scrub the entire surface area inside of the bottle. If you’ve used your water bottle for anything other than water, this additional cleaning is very important.
- Rinse your bottle with warm water, and place it upside down on a dish rack to dry.
If your reusable water bottle has a screw-on cap, you’ll also want to clean the treading of the cap as well. For this part, use a wet sponge with a little dish soap on it. Clean the cap and focus on getting in between the treading.
Voila! You can now use your water bottle.
3.) The Baking Soda and Bleach Method
Materials needed: baking soda, bleach, water, dish rack
For this method, you’ll be combining two of the most powerful household cleaning ingredients: baking soda and bleach. This method is particularly useful if you’ve used your water bottle for anything other than water. If you’re looking for how to clean water bottles in a way that removes odor, try this method.
Note: this method works best when you do it overnight, so plan accordingly.
- Add one teaspoon of bleach and one teaspoon of baking powder into your reusable water bottle. Fill the entire bottle up with warm or hot water. Replace the cap.
- Gently shake the water bottle to make sure that the bleach and baking powder mixes with the water and covers the entire surface area inside the bottle.
- Leave the bottle as is on the counter overnight.
- When you wake up, open the bottle and pour the contents out.
- Rinse the bottle a few times with water to make sure you removed all residue.
- Dry your bottle on a dish rack.
Boom! Your reusable water bottle is clean.
2). The Dishwasher
Materials needed: dishwasher, dishwasher soap
This is arguably the easiest method of how to clean water bottles.
- Make sure that your reusable water bottle is dishwasher safe. You can do this simply by reading the packaging on the water bottle, but if you no longer have that, check the bottle itself. It should say the words “dishwasher safe” on it if it is.
- Open the dishwasher, and place the bottle and cap on the top shelf of the dishwasher. If your bottle is too tall, you might have to use the bottom shelf.
- Run your dishwasher on the hottest water settings and use the heated dry cycle option. This will kill germs.
- Make sure your bottle is completely dry after the cycle is complete. Any moisture that’s left in the bottle acts as an ideal breeding ground for future bacteria.
Hooray! You have a clean water bottle ready for use.
1.) The 3% Hydrogen Peroxide Method
Materials needed: 3% hydrogen peroxide, soap, sponge, water, dish rack
If your reusable water bottle has residue or an odor, then this is a great method to neutralize both.
- Clean the cap using a sponge with some dish soap and warm water. As mentioned before, if your bottle has a screw-on cap, make sure to clean between the treading. Rinse the cap with hot water.
- Fill your empty bottle up with 1/4 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide.
- Replace the cap and shake the bottle as if you’re making your favorite cocktail for at least 15 seconds to make sure the entire surface area inside the bottle is covered.
- Pour the hydrogen peroxide out and rinse the bottle a few times with water.
- Place the clean bottle on a dish rack to dry.
Yippee! Your bottle is sparkling clean.
So there you have it. Those are the top 5 ways to clean your reusable water bottle, all using simple household cleaning items. Take the time to clean your water bottle daily, especially if you use it for anything other than water like juice, coffee, tea or protein shakes. Each day that you do this, you’ll be protecting your health as well as our planet which is being overburdened with plastic. A little effort makes a big difference.