While reusable water bottles are convenient and healthy for us and for the environment, they still may endanger your health if they’re not used properly. For instance, if you reuse your water bottle without rewashing it. If that’s your concern, you might be wondering: how often should I wash my water bottle?
How Often Should I Wash My Water Bottle?
You should wash your water bottle at least once a day. Ideally, you should wash your water bottle before using it every time. Sanitizing is another story. You should sanitize your water bottle at least once a week. Sanitize it more if you’re sick or if you use the water bottle outside more often than usual.
Your water bottle may look like there’s no dirt on it. However, there may be bacteria hiding inside the dark insides of your water bottle. Hence, it’s important that your water bottle stays clean.
It’s even more important to keep your water bottle always cleaned and sanitized in times of pandemic or viral outbreaks like COVID-19. You don’t know if your water bottle can get contaminated when exposed outside. There are also other harmful contaminants in the air that you have to watch out for.
Washing Your Water Bottle
Washing your water bottle is easy. The general way to do it is to mix soap and warm water. Soak it all over, and scrub the inside. Rinse with fresh water afterward.
To prevent bacterial growth after washing, leave the water bottle overnight in the sink to dry. Make sure to include washing the mouth cap and straws if your water bottle has one.
Sanitizing Your Water Bottle
You can easily sanitize your water bottle by running it through a dishwasher. However, most water bottles aren’t great under dishwashers. Therefore, make sure that your water bottle is dishwasher-safe.
If your water bottle is not dishwasher-safe, you can use a sanitizing solution. Most sanitizing solutions have instructions on how to use them so it should be simple enough. Generally, you just mix the solution with water and pour it inside the water bottle, shake and rinse afterwards.
Removing Odor From Your Water Bottle
To remove odor from your water bottle, combine a solution by mixing equal amounts of baking soda and water. Pour it inside your water bottle or mouth cap (if it’s the cause of odor). Let it soak for 10 minutes. After soaking, scrub the inside using a water bottle brush.
These methods mentioned above generally work with most water bottles available on the market. However, it is always better to consult with your water bottle manufacturer just to be sure.
Potential Dirt in Reusable Water Bottles
Water bottles in general are not the cause of dirt. In fact, they’re mostly clean, especially ones made of stainless steel. Studies show 83 percent of plastic reusable water bottles have bacteria. However, that doesn’t mean your stainless steel water bottle can go uncleaned for days.
Water bottles that aren’t cleaned for a week contain around 300,000 bacteria cells per square centimeter. To put it in common comparison, it contains more bacteria than the water bowl of a dog.
People often get complacent because they have a water bottle that has a lot of features and they use clean and sterile water. However, the main cause of bacteria buildup in your water bottle is your mouth. Consider that your mouth might contain bacteria that may thrive on your water bottle.
Tips to Keep Your Water Bottle Clean
- Use a stainless steel water bottle instead of a plastic water bottle. Plastic bottles are known to contain more bacteria than stainless steel bottles. Plastic is also more prone to cracking which can house bacteria buildup. Whereas stainless steel repels bacteria because it’s naturally antiseptic.
- Always use soap and water and not water only. Many people think that water is all they need for cleaning their water bottles. Use soap that is antibacterial preferably and even use a water bottle brush for thorough cleaning. If your soap is not anti-bacterial consider other cleaning agents such as vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, cleaning tablets, and antibacterial mouthwash.
- Dry your water bottle before using it. This is a common mistake that most people will make. Water that is left to sit inside your water bottle can contribute to moisture and promote bacterial growth. Hence, make sure your water bottle is fully dried before storing.
- Choose a water bottle that can be easily cleaned. Some water bottles have been designed that make it hard for you to clean some specific areas particularly the insides. A great water bottle is one that can have all parts easily accessed.
Is It Bad To Leave Water in a Water Bottle?
If stored properly, it should not be bad to leave water in a water bottle. In fact, it is even safe to drink even if you drank from it as long as it’s stored properly.
Water left in a water bottle in unsuitable conditions and left for too long will be bad. For example, a water bottle left in the car overnight or throughout a hot day can house bacteria.
The water inside a water bottle that has its bottle cap opened and left overtime is also bad and may contain bacteria. Hence, if you're going to leave water in a water bottle, make sure it is stored and sealed properly.
Can You Get Ill From Drinking Old Water?
If the drinking water was left untouched and in a clean glass, and the environment is not dusty, then the water is safe to drink for a day or two. Most tap water in the U.S. contains chlorine additives. These additives can kill small microorganisms.
The water may taste odd after left for a few hours. This is due to the lowering of pH because of the interaction of carbon dioxide from the environment and water (H2O) in your water bottle.
In short, it is best that you wash your water bottle daily especially if you use it on a daily basis. Make sure to sanitize it once every week or more just for good measure. Even the best water bottles need to be cleaned regularly.