How to Properly Clean Your Reusable Bottles

Reusable water bottles are great, but they can also get really gross over time if you don't clean them properly!

Most of us have those handy reusable bottles for water.  We cart them to the gym, hikes, on road trips, to the office, and anywhere we go.  But, how we clean these bottles is lacking much of the time.  What might be good for our environment might not be great for you if you don't give these bottles a truly thorough cleaning.  So, how do you keep these bottles clean with all of the little pieces and parts that aren't always easy to reach?

How to Properly Clean Your Reusable Bottles

We have reusable bottles in several shapes and sizes.  While I have washed each one regularly, I haven't done a great job of really keeping everything really clean.  Some of these bottles have lots of nooks and crannies.  Water and moisture can get trapped in these spaces and grow mold and mildew easily.  Sometimes these dirty spots are hidden and rarely even seen.  But, with a good set of brushes, you can scrub out your bottle and feel good when you are filling up and hydrating throughout the day!

A good set of brushes will clean all of your drink containers.  Start here!

Start with a Bottle Brush Set

If you don't have a brush set to scrub out your bottles, get one!  I grabbed this set of brushes from Amazon.  Included in this set are:
  1. A long-handled silicone brush
  2. A short-handled short bristled brush
  3. A long-handled, narrow, short bristled brush
This set of brushes will work for nearly any reusable bottle or insulated cup you have.  I really like the silicone brush for scrubbing deep into the walls of your tumbler or bottle.  The short and long-handled bristle brushes work for straw attachments and mouthpieces.  You will be able to scrub every surface of your container inside and out with this set.  Get a brush set now if you own any reusable bottle.  These will also work well for a thermos, lunch box pieces and more.  I use these brushes every day for something!

Disassemble Your Container

Whatever you are using to transport liquids needs to be taken apart.  This includes those silicone drinking attachments, straws, and lids.  Use the brushes to scrub into each little part and check for signs of mold and mildew.  You won't be able to get everything clean and thoroughly dried without taking everything apart.

Replace Broken Pieces

We have more than one Camelbak bottle that we love.  I use my Camelbak Eddy bottle daily.   My son has a Camelbak Eddy for Kids.  Both of these are well made and will last you for years.  However, over time, you may find you need to replace the straws or mouth bite pieces.  I have replaced both of these on my son's bottle.   He tends to chew on the mouthpiece.  That drives me crazy.  But, they are inexpensive to replace.

If your pieces seem worn or just too disgusting to continue using, replace them.  You can find the straws and mouth bite pieces for the kid's bottles on Amazon.  There is a separate set for adult bottles.  I always keep a spare set in my kitchen.

It is well worth it to replace your pieces if needed.  You don't have to replace your whole bottle with a broken piece or two.   

Scrub Up

Give your bottles and pieces a good cleaning.  I typically use basic dish detergent and hot water to get everything clean.  Just be sure to get everything rinsed thoroughly.  If not, you will taste the soap, and that can make you sick too.

If you feel like your container is stained or extra dirty, I sometimes use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to get an extra scrub.  Put some baking soda in the bottom of your container and add vinegar.  It will bubble up like your 4th-grade volcano project, but this really works.  Once it stops bubbling, use your silicone brush to scrub everything out.  The baking soda will work like a mild abrasive to remove any stains and build up.  

You can also soak everything in a sink of hot water with a couple tablespoons of bleach.  If you use bleach really rinse everything thoroughly.  Be super cautious if you use this method.  You don't want to leave the bleach on what you are using.  And to be honest, if your gear is that dirty, you might need to replace your pieces and scrub everything else with detergent or vinegar and baking soda.  

Keep your brushes right there at the sink and get in the habit of giving everything a scrub down every day.  It takes less time than you think and is an easy habit to start.  If you camp often and for longer periods of time, grab an extra set to keep with your camping gear.  They won't take up a lot of space, and they will be worth the investment.

Insulated Cups

Don't forget about those insulated cups everyone uses for coffee and drinks.  Those things have a rubber ring around the lid that will trap disgusting layers of filth.  I use a pairing knife and pry the rubber seal away from the lid and clean everything thoroughly.  You can use those short bristled brushes to clean around the lid and sip spout.  

The silicone brush is really handy for getting deep down inside of the cup and pulling stuck on film from the interior walls.  You may not even realize those layers are even there until you really get in there.  I recommend using baking soda and vinegar for this job.  

Insulated and reusable cups and tumblers are great.  Taking coffee, water, and other drinks with us so accessible and saves money.  But, these vessels get really gross as we regularly use them.  If you keep these containers clean, you are doing yourself and the environment a favor by eliminating so much disposable waste.  But it really is a huge health hazard if these containers are carrying around lots of hidden germs and grime. 

Until next time...

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