6 Simple Ways to Clean a Reusable Water Bottle …

6 Simple Ways to Clean a Reusable Water Bottle



When I think of cleaning jobs that are sometimes overlooked or neglected, the humble water bottle comes to mind. If you’re lucky, you and your family will carry one everywhere you go. It’s guaranteed to keep you well hydrated, help reduce landfill and you’ll also save a stack of cash by not buying a bottle of water every time you’re thirsty.


The only downfall is they are often refilled countless times and not washed in between uses. It’s easy to be complacent because it’s only water, right … so it should be ok! In reality, however, if not given regular care and attention, our trusty water bottles can harbour a whole host of germs, bacteria, mould and nasties, all of which could potentially make you sick. Germs love a dark, warm, moist environment so a daily clean is ideal (or at the very least, every other day if you can manage it). So, let’s tackle some of the most popular and effective methods for keeping your water bottle squeaky clean and odour free:


  • Use the dishwasher – As long as you’re confident that the water gets right up inside the bottle, this is probably the quickest and easiest method. Place the water bottle upside down over a prong on the top rack of the dishwasher (remembering that the bottom rack of the dishwasher is generally hotter and may warp the plastic). Before washing for the first time though, double check on the manufacturer or brand website to be certain your bottle is dishwasher safe. Sometimes washing instructions or the “dishwasher safe” symbol can also be found on the bottom of the bottle. If your water bottles have a painted surface on the outside, the heat could spell disaster causing that to peel, so do be careful!


  • Warm soapy water in the sink – if the dishwasher doesn’t give you the result you’re after, wash your bottle by hand instead. Empty the bottle, fill the kitchen sink with warm, soapy water and allow the bottle to soak. Leaving some water in the bottle put the lid on and give it a good shake, then use a bottle brush to get right to the bottom and give the inside of the bottle a good scrub. Rinse and dry. I found the brush in the photo above at Kmart. It has proved to be better than a standard baby’s bottle brush as the handle is quite long making it easier to use.


  • Bi-carb Soda – add one heaped tablespoon of bi-carb to the water bottle, fill with water, shake and leave to soak for an hour or so. Empty, rinse thoroughly and air-dry upside down.


  • Vinegar – It’s a great disinfectant and the perfect way to give your water bottle a more intensive clean. It won’t kill every germ but it will kill most, making it a great product to help sanitize your water bottle. Wash your water bottle with warm, soapy water and rinse well. Add half a cup of white vinegar and fill the rest of the water bottle with water. Allow to stand overnight, empty, rinse thoroughly and air dry.


  • Bleach V Antibacterial Solution/Tablets – I’m very reluctant personally to use household bleach or any other strong chemical cleaner on water bottles, or anything else I was going to eat or drink from. I would, however, be quite comfortable using a product like Milton Antibacterial Solution or tablets. Milton liquid or tablets have been produced with human consumption in mind, after all, and it’s commonly used to sterilize and disinfect baby bottles, dummies and other products. To use, simply follow the instructions on the packaging.


  • Denture Tablets – And for those occasions when you find a water bottle in the bottom of a school bag or that’s slipped under the car seat and is a bit slimy on the inside, denture tablets are perfect to bring them back to life. To get rid of any nasties, simply follow the instructions on the packaging given by the manufacturer.


Clever Tricks, Hints and Tips:


  • After cleaning my water bottles, I put them in the freezer empty (without the lid on) overnight. The freezing temperature does 2 things: it helps kill any bacteria or germs and makes the bottles nice and cold which helps to keep any water cold when refilled. Any plastic water bottles I will half fill and then top up in the morning once frozen. I don’t do this with stainless steel water bottles, as I’ve had a couple warp on the base in the freezer.


  • Don’t forget to clean the lids, either place them in the cutlery tray in the dishwasher or use a toothbrush (or other small brush) to get into any small spaces using warm, soapy water. They also benefit from a good soak to loosen any build-up.


  • Remember also to clean around the outside of the screw lid at the top of the water bottle. Remove the screw top and use a toothbrush to get into all the crevices to tackle gunk and germs.


  • If your water bottle has a straw permanently attached as part of the lid, a pipe cleaner is an excellent way to clean the inside of the straw.


  • Plastic bottles tend to retain odours or smells so, it wouldn’t hurt to replace them maybe once a year.


Things to Avoid:


  • Don’t leave you water bottle in a hot, locked car. Not only will the water no longer be cold and refreshing but it will create a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.


  • Try to keep your reusable bottle for just water. I once made the mistake of adding some protein powder to my water bottle when I was at work. I didn’t rinse it out straight away and was left with an odour that took ages to get rid of.


  • If your water bottle is made from aluminium or steel and has a painted/coloured surface, avoid harsh, abrasive cleaning products that might scratch the surface or remove any paint. Gumption works well to remove any oily residue left from fingers on the outside of non-coloured aluminium/steel water bottles.


  • Once cleaned and completely dried, if you’re planning on storing your water bottle in the cupboard, leave the lid off. If you store it with the lid on and there’s any moisture still inside, it will promote mould and odours.


So tell me, do you have any other great types for cleaning reusable water bottles?


Here are some other great posts about cleaning that you might enjoy:





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Tips for Cleaning a Dishwasher 001




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