Reusable water bottles are big business now. People use them for all sorts of reasons including to save money, to save the planet or just to keep hydrated when stuck at their desk or as part of their regular gym kit. They are rapidly part of everyday life. But are you cleaning and taking care of your water bottle properly or does it get randomly left in your bag, on your desk or in your car?
Not cleaning your water bottle regularly is essentially a little bit gross! A famous research piece by Treadmill Reviews stated that “drinking from the average refillable bottle can be many times worse than licking your dog’s toy” in term of germs and bacteria. But don’t panic you don’t need to go back to disposal bottles but a little bit of care when choosing your bottle can make cleaning and maintain you bottle a breeze.
- Choose your container wisely
Choosing the right container is key to this both in terms of preventing the creation of germ-friendly environments but also making things easier to clean –
- Stainless steel rather than plastic – Not only does this make for a stronger or my more hard wearing bottle it’s also naturally anti-bacterial. Plus it’s much easier toclean. Plastic can crack, get scratched and harbour bacteria in those nicks. But notice I said specifically stainless steel. Aluminium bottles aren’t as good as often they have a plastic lining to their inside which means you can still get cracks and germy homes within them!
- Shape and style – Unsurprising the fewer nooks and crannies a bottle has then the easier it is to clean and the fewer bacteria it harbours. Retractable sippers or straws retain more moisture and are more difficult to clean – so extra care is needed. But something with a large mouth/opening is easier to clean.
- Keeping it clean
Basic cleaning is not exactly rocket science soap and warm water, you can also use baby sanitiser, buy a specialist product or use more natural alternatives such as vinegar and water or bicarbonate of soda and baking soda. You can also use your dishwasher (but check its dishwasher safe first). However, it is worth investing in a scrubbing/bottle brush to help clean the bottom and any edges inside.
- Good Habits
Cleaning is, of course, a good habit but there are other things you can do to prevent lurgie and nasty things growing. Washing your hands after using the loo and not taking your bottle into the loo (some people do!) are two quick wins – When you flush the toilet, the toilet water will get aerosolised and a fraction of the water droplets can land on and in your water bottle. This is the most likely way for E. coli to get there (2) Similar be conscious of just throwing your bottle into your gym bag – sweaty gi soup isn’t a tasty accompaniment to anything! Stick it a side pocket or separate compartment.
Whether you’re just drinking purified water, squash or smoothie always try and dump what you don’t drink and wash your bottle after each use. It’s tempting to leave things festering and sort them out in the morning especially after a hard session but everything contains some degree of bacteria in it.
Once you’ve done the cleaning try to let your bottle air dry rather than just sealing it back up and sticking it a cupboard. Just shake out any excess water and leave it unscrewed upright to dry or pop it upside down onto a drying rack.
Never cleaning your water bottle is a little bit gross considering the amount we value hygiene as grapplers. But this article isn’t really about scaring people into buying a new bottle or panicking about potential lurgie. The reality is the main problem with dirty water bottles the possibility of a case of diarrhoea (1) or similar stomach linked illness. Nothing that will necessarily kill you but potentially a fate worse than death – time off the mats!
(1) How Gross is it never to wash my water bottle – Vice
(2) Why it’s important to clean your reusable water bottle – Huffington Post
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