Shake What Your Mama Gave You: How To Clean Your Water Bottle

Okay, so you ride a bike and you carry a water bottle(s) in the cage, but are you treating and maintaining that bottle the way you should?  I know I’m not…..and this fact prompted me to start looking into it.  I do my best to treat my body right, but I now realize that I run the risk of swallowing bacteria almost every time I’m out on a ride.

The idea of cleaning out my bottle always seems to get pushed off as I find myself not wanting to take the time….so instead I simply refill and pop them back in the fridge.  Oh how naive I can be sometimes. So how exactly do you effectively clean a water bottle?  The few times that I have taken the effort to clean them, I use dish soap and water….and the next time I’m out riding I feel like I’m drinking out of the sink because I didn’t rinse properly.  One word….Nasty.

There are about as many different cleaning suggestions as there are water bottle types.  The methods are also dependent on what type of bottle you use as well. These days there are endless materials, designs, and varieties of water bottles…so in an effort to keep this fairly short, I’ll discuss what I feel are the best cleaning methods for plastic and aluminum bottles.

Plastic Bottles

  1. Start off by filling the bottle with hot water and a pea size drop of dishwashing liquid.  Put the cap back on the bottle and shake the heck out of it.
  2. Once you’ve tired yourself out, open the valve and squeeze the water out so that you can cleanse the nozzle in the process.
  3. Pour 2 tbsp. of baking soda into the bottle, then add 1/2 cup of vinegar.  If you know anything about chemistry, this is going to create some major fizzing which will likely fill the bottle.  Allow this to sit for about five minutes. (Vinegar kills mold and mildew germs and baking soda will aid in cleaning and removing odors.)
  4. If you have a bottle brush, use that to scrub the inside of the bottle while the vinegar mixture is still inside.  If you don’t have a brush, try jamming your hand in there with a dish cloth.  Either way, make sure to get all around the neck and groves of the bottle.  Put the lid back on and squeeze the mixture out through the nozzle.
  5. Rinse thoroughly with hot water and then place the bottle upside down to air dry on a clean towel.

Aluminum (metal) Bottles

  1. A.  Recommended Option:  Put about a cup of uncooked rice into the bottle followed by 2 tbsp. baking soda, and 1/2 cup vinegar.  Let it fizz up like I mentioned before, close the lid, and shake with all your might (the bottle, not yourself).  Squeeze the mixture out through the nozzle and then discard the rice. B.  Alternate Method:  Start off by putting one of those SOS pads (or competing brand) inside the bottle and then fill it a third full of hot, hot water.  Close it up and shake….Empty out the water….Repeat.  Pull the SOS pad out.
  2. Fill the empty bottle half full with hot water, put the lid on, and shake what your Mamma gave you (yourself, not the bottle this time….just kidding).  Squeeze it out through the nozzle.  Repeat this 3 or 4 times.
  3. Let the bottle air dry upside down on a towel.

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