4 Tips For Keeping Your Reusable Bottle Clean, Because Bacteria Is Everywhere

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After getting a stainless steel water bottle which promises to keep liquids cold for 24 hours, I decided this summer that it would be a genius idea to fill it with ice-cold wine for Notting Hill Carnival. And yes, I did have deliciously cold pinot all day long, but what I was left with was rank wine tasting water for the next couple of weeks. And my feeble attempts of rinsing it out just didn’t seem to take the taste away. Knowing how to clean reusable water bottles, will not only keep your water tasting fresh and the germs at bay, it will also prevent you from chucking it away and getting a new one.

Outside of keeping your wine cold, reusable water bottles are one of the answers to fight plastic pollution. According to Forbes, globally, a million plastic bottles are bought every minute and 91% of them are not recyclable. In the UK, 38.5 million plastic bottles are used daily but 15 million don't get recycled, the Independent reports. When you're on the go, it's convenient to just grab a bottle or water here and there but not only do reusable water bottles help the environment, but they also save you lots more money in the long run.

Maintenance is key for water bottles. Speaking to, Robert Glatter, an assistant professor at Northwell Health and a physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in the U.S., explained: “Since it's a moist environment, it's possible for bacteria to set up shop and thrive, potentially leading to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea." He continued by saying that “bacteria such as E. coli that lead to gastroenteritis and food poisoning and even molds could colonize" in the cap of the bottle. Yikes.


With this in mind, you should be aiming to empty and clean out your water bottle often. Don't wait for them to start smelling funky before you decide to clean them.

While LARQ, a luxury water bottle that retails for an eye-watering £95, promises to self-clean through UV light, your average reusable bottle isn’t that high tech and will need some hands-on TLC to keep germs and funny smells at bay.

The type of water bottle you have, be it stainless steel, infusion bottles, or something else, will affect how it needs to be cleaned, and with what products.

So here is how to clean your reusable water bottle:

Hot Soapy Water

Hot water with dishwasher soap it an easy and effective way to wash out your resusable bottle. Donna Smallin Kuper, a IICRC-certified house cleaning technician and the author of Cleaning Plain & Simple told that that users should "swish the soapy water through the entire bottle, same way as you'd wash out a coffee cup or other used glass or mug, and make sure you get rid of any gunky buildup on the bottom or by the cap area. Then rinse with water to remove any soap residue before drying."

Chilly’s, one of the leaders of stainless steel water bottles, also recommend regularly washing your bottle "with hot soapy water" and "rinsing the bottle after each use."

However, Kuper warned that you should dry off the bottle properly "to avoid reintroducing any bacteria or other harmful bugs."

Hot, soapy water is especially good for the outside of your bottle if it's used for cycling, for example, and might get a bit muddy.


Bicarbonate Of Soda

"For a very thorough clean," Chilly's writes on their website, "please use water with a teaspoon of bicarbonate soda."

Bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda) is a "gentle abrasive cleaner and natural deodoriser," according to home improvement site Real Homes. "Although tons of us keep it in our cupboard to use as a leavening agent in cooking, it’s a form of salt that causes dirt and grease to dissolve in water, as well as being brilliant at absorbing odours."


Vinegar is another natural disinfectant and great for cleaning, as Real Homes points out.

Glatter told that vinegar "helps to kill most bacteria (not viruses though), while also serving as a drying agent." He gave the following instructions in terms of reusable bottles: "Fill half of the bottle with white vinegar, the other half with water," making sure that you use around a quarter of a cup of vinegar. Then you swish around the liquid and leave it to soak overnight. In the morning, rinse it out.

Long Scrubbing Brush

Long, thin brushes are perfect for getting into the corners of your bottles and into all those tricky bits where you are more likely to experience dirt and build up. It's worth investing in one or two if you want to do a deep clean.