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Cleaning Your Reusable Water Bottle

Stephanie Tuba

Posted on November 23 2018

Cleaning Your Reusable Water Bottle

By: Paige Fowler

The title of this article might seem strange, but I promise: keep reading and you’ll learn something.

Reusable plastic and stainless-steel water bottles have—rightfully so—become a trend over the past few years. With more and more Americans growing environmentally conscious, many of us are ditching the 24-pack of Aquafina for the more earth- and wallet-friendly reusable water bottle. Some people, however, often miss the convenience of single-use plastic and complain that reusable water bottles are annoying to hand clean*; and honestly, I used to agree until I got the hang of it. Listed below are just a few tips on cleaning your canteen with ease.

General Cleaning
Personally, I don’t put additives like mint leaves, lemon wedges, flavoring packets, etc. in my water bottle, so I don’t need to deep clean it more than once every two weeks. However, I still need sanitize it every few days. Here are the two ways I do that:

  1. Hot water cleanse. This might seem silly (or lazy), but I find simply filling my canteen with hot water and giving it a good hard shake often eliminates any stale odors that have accumulated inside. Just run your tap, let the water get hot, and fill your water bottle about a third of the way. Then, shake the water around—and I mean really shake it. Repeat if desired, then simply dump the water and run a clean towel around the rim of the bottle and inside its cap.
  2. Denture cleaning tablets. My dad taught me this trick and I swear, I live by it! If you want a slightly better clean, pick up a pack of antibacterial denture cleansing tablets. These tablets are dirt cheap (you can buy an 84-pack for less than $3.00) and are excellent for disinfecting overnight. Simply stick a tablet in your water bottle with some warm water and shake it around. Let the tablet dissolve, and if desired, let it sit overnight. Dump the water after the tablet has dissolved, rinse the bottle, and run a clean towel around the rim of the bottle and inside its cap.

Deep Cleaning
I deep-clean my water bottle twice a month with soap and hot water in order to flush out any griminess that has accumulated inside. I’d encourage you to use a natural, unscented dish soap—i.e., a cleaner that was literally designed to break down grime—but vinegar and baking soda are also disinfectant options.

I personally do not use sponges when cleaning my water bottle as sponges, unless they’re brand new, aren’t exactly the most sanitary cleaning tools. I use a clean rag instead. In order to get down inside the bottle and really sweep its walls, I grab a wooden spoon or other long cooking utensil, wrap the rag around the handle end, and scrub the walls of the canteen. This might look silly, but the extra length helps you to reach down to the very bottom of the water bottle and get a nice, thorough clean.

And that’s it! Every night (and after any form of cleaning), always make sure to leave your canteen open so it can dry out for the next use. This, along with regular cleaning, will prevent that infamous “mildewy” smell that reusable water bottles notoriously build up.

Thanks for reading! Now it’s your turn: What do you do to clean your reusable water bottle? What brand of canteen do you use? Let me know in the comments.

*You might be thinking, “Uh, does this girl not own a dishwasher?!” I do, but significantly more often I find myself washing my reusable bottles by hand. My dishwashing schedule doesn’t usually align with when I need my water bottle (which is, um, always).

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