woman smelling stinky nalgene

An Easy Guide To Cleaning Your Water Bottle

Quality water bottles are great for a variety of activities. An eco-friendly alternative to disposable plastic water bottles, they are durable and leakproof and should last you a long time as long as you care for them properly. Washing them immediately after use and letting them dry is the best method, but that doesn’t always happen. I’ve outlined a few ways to clean your water bottle below to keep it fresh and ready to go!

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Why Should You Clean You Water Bottle?

Like any household dishware, keeping your eating surfaces, utensils and plateware helps reduce bacteria buildup and funk. Plus, it’s just downright gross not to wash your dishes, so get with it dude. I used to live with a guy who only rinsed his dishes with water after using them. That’s gross – the rest of us had no idea, and we were using the same nasty dishes for years.

On a larger scale, having a dedicated water bottle to keep with you will help reduce single-use plastics such as disposable water bottles. It goes a long way. I have a few water bottles of different sizes and materials that serve their purpose for certain things such as airplane travel, hiking, running errands, etc. This mean I use them, wash them, and then they sit. This brings us to the next question:

How Often Should You Clean Your Water Bottle?

The “correct” answer that I should give here, and the one that won’t get any backlash in the comment section, is that you should wash your water bottle after each use. If that’s your jam, then have at it. I don’t think it is necessary unless you are using powdered or sugary mixes in your water bottle. These will build up bacteria much more quickly then plain water, so they will need to be cleaned more often.

After each use, I rinse with hot water and let air dry upside down. I give it the sniff test before or after each use. This is my gauge and it works for me. Now, again, this is for when I am only using water in my water bottle and when I am the only one using it. Who shares water bottles anyway? #couplegoals. Gross.

The Baking Soda Shake:

Our preferred method. It’s the quickest, cheapest, and most effective method. Say hello to your new best friend, Baking Soda. Give you water bottle a good rinse, maybe wash it down with dish soap if you would like, and then let’s get to the good stuff. Drop 1/4 cup of baking soda in. Fill the Nalgene 3/4 full with HOT water. Close the Lid and shake your heart out. Really get that thing shook up, and make sure you get the underside of the cap as well. Rinse it out real good and dry.

This is the ultimate cleaning method to get all of the funk out of your water bottle. I used to be very hesitant to put any kind of powdered drink, such as Ultima or any other electrolyte, in my water bottles, even though I love having something other then water to sip on when I’m adventuring. I don’t need to stress it anymore. Using baking soda gets all that and then some out of my bottle. Give it a try.

Oh, and check out this web story we made to break it down.

An Easy Guide To Cleaning Your Water Bottle
An Easy Guide To Cleaning Your Water Bottle
How to keep your stinky Nalgene bottle clean using only baking soda and hot water.

Now let’s get to the more straightforward methods.

Dishwasher:

Putting your water bottle in the dishwasher is the easiest and least time-consuming way to clean it. The majority of them can be washed in the dishwasher, but verify the manufacturer’s instructions first. Because the lid may not tolerate the heat as well as the bottle itself, it should be placed on the upper rack away from the heating element. If your dishwasher’s higher rack won’t fit the size of your water bottle, don’t worry; there are other cleaning solutions.

Soak in Warm, Soapy Water:

Allow the water bottle to soak in a sink with warm water and a little bit of mild dish soap. Shake it to disperse the soapy water, then rinse thoroughly and dry it.

There should be no soapy flavor left in the bottle if you use a tiny amount of mild soap. If you don’t want to use soap, you can clean the bottle with warm water and lemon or warm water and baking soda.

This is especially useful if your bottle is solely used for water and other non-staining drinks. If you are like me and sometimes toss in some Ultima or other electrolyte drink mix, you will need to get a bit more aggressive in your cleaning. (hello, baking soda; see above)

Denture Cleaning Tablets

You can buy water bottle cleaning tablets or a new technology disinfectant glass cleaner if you want a professional cleaning product to ensure that your bottle is properly disinfected. Simply dissolve the cleaning tablets in water and allow them to dissolve in the bottle overnight. Give it a good shake before rinsing it thoroughly.

Shoppers tip: Water bottle cleaning tablets can be replaced with denture cleaning tablets at a lower cost. We use Polident Overnight Whitening Antibacterial Denture Cleanser Effervescent Tablets (man, that’s a mouth full – see what I did there?). This works, but does leave a minty flavoring to your bottle unless you wash again after rinsing. Make sure you choose a brand-name denture-cleaning tablet with increased cleaning power to ensure it actually does what it says it’s going to do.

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to send off to a destination or for a purpose.
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I am a professional photographer & visual content creator for the outdoor industry. I started this site to serve as an outlet to share some of my adventures on and off the grid. I believe the best way to LEARN is to LISTEN, and in turn, SHARE.

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An Easy Guide To Cleaning Your Water Bottle