Reusable water bottles are better for the environment than disposables, and stainless steel bottles are better for your health than plastics, as long as you keep them clean! Once you buy a reusable water bottle, you'll want to use it every day. At work, at the gym, on your travels, it's easy to forget about washing it. Most people don't clean a water bottle as often as they should.
Perhaps you're wondering, what is the best way to clean a reusable water bottle?
Well, in this post I'll answer that question for you.
How does your reusable water bottle get dirty?
The warm and moist conditions inside a water bottle are perfect for bacteria to thrive. But how does it get there in the first place?
When you're out and about you pick up bacteria from everything you touch. The bacteria on your hands get transferred to your bottle when you unscrew the cap to drink or refill. Bacteria can also enter the bottle from your mouth. Stainless steel bottles don't tend to develop bad odours unless drinks residue is left inside; however, bacteria can still lurk in a bottle that looks clean. Although forgetting to wash your bottle won't create more germs; it will allow any existing bacteria to grow.
The best way to clean a water bottle
Just use regular dish soap with hot water. If your bottle or tumbler cup has a wide opening, you can use a clean sponge. A bottle brush will let you clean a bottle with a narrower top. If you're using a stainless steel bottle, then you can also fill your bottle with boiling water and let it sit for 10 minutes, this should kill any bacteria. Don't forget to wash the cap thoroughly too as this is where most of the germs will be.
After cleaning, let the bottle dry and store it in a dry place with the top open.
How often should you clean your water bottle?
It would be best if you washed your reusable water bottle with soap and hot water at the end of each day. This applies to both plastic and stainless steel bottles, even if you've only filled it with water. Bacteria is more likely to develop if you use your water bottle, or a stainless steel tumbler or coffee mug, for non-water beverages, such as coffee, smoothies, alcohol, or homemade iced tea. In which case, a deep clean will keep your stainless steel flask good as new.
How do I deep clean a water bottle?
(Or a coffee mug or travel tumbler)
If it's been a while since you last cleaned your water bottle, you've filled it with a beverage other than water, or you've noticed stains and bad odours, then it's a good idea to deep clean your water bottle. Here are some easy deep-cleaning techniques:
Vinegar & Hot Water: after washing your bottle with soap and water, fill one-quarter of the bottle with vinegar then fill to the top with hot water, mix, and leave it to sit overnight. Empty and rinse in the morning.
Baking Soda & Hot Water: wash your bottle with soap and water, add a couple of tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda (baking powder) and fill to the top with hot water. Put the cap on and shake to mix. Remove the cap and let it sit for a few hours. Then empty and rinse again with soap and water.
Bleach & Cool Water: if your water bottle has a particularly funky smell, then bleach is an effective disinfectant. Add one teaspoon to your bottle, fill with cool water, mix, and let it sit overnight. Empty in the morning, clean with dish soap and rinse thoroughly.
Clean the Cap
You can also soak the cap overnight in a part vinegar/bicarbonate of soda/bleach and water solution. Separate parts than can be separated for better cleaning, scrub with soap and rinse thoroughly with water before using it again.
The Rice Trick
If you don't have a bottle brush available or your reusable water bottle is an irregular size, you can use rice to clean the inside. Add half a cup of water, a tablespoon of uncooked rice, and a tiny squirt of washing up liquid. Put the cap on and shake the bottle, the rice will take off most residue. After, rinse the bottle with hot water, making sure that all the rice comes out.
How often should you deep clean your water bottle?
If you wash your reusable metal bottle with soap and hot water every day, or at least on alternate days, then you might not need to do a deep clean at all. If you're a bit more forgetful, then I recommend doing a deep clean once a week. It's also a good idea to deep clean your bottle regularly if you fill it with beverages that contain dairy, plant-based milk, or fruits.