Just like your pots and pans, anything that you eat or drink tastes only as good as how clean it was stored or prepared in. With that in mind it is important to clean your water bottles to make sure that everything stays sanitary as well as maintains the clean, fresh taste. If you are looking for ways on how to clean water bottles, and I mean anything from the 5 gallon water bottles to even the personal water bottles you take with you in the car or to work, we’ve got a couple of methods that are guaranteed to work.
Method 1 – Steam Cleaning your Water Bottles
One of the easiest ways to clean food grade equipment is to use steam. When you think about it, this is what your dishwasher does: uses the detergent to chemically and/or remove particulate and then steam cleans the dishes. But you can’t fit the large bottled water cooler bottles in the dishwasher and even some of the small personal water bottles say not to put into the dishwasher. The best way to steam treat your water bottles is with some sort of hand-held steamer. If you happen to have a device such as the one used for steaming clothing simple apply the hot steam into the water bottle for approximately 5 minutes. This should be long enough to kill of any bacteria that may have found its way into the bottle. This method is preferred because there is no chemical treatment and won’t leave an aftertaste. But not everyone has a steamer, so you can try the next method.
Method 2 – Vinegar and Baking Soda
If you are going to use chemicals to try and clean out the water bottles, why not use food grade chemicals? Both vinegar and baking soda are great natural cleaners and do a good job at killing and or removing bacteria. To clean a large water bottle, use 2 cups of white distilled vinegar and swirl around for 2+ minutes (the longer the better) making sure to get all surfaces, then drain. Next, add about 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda to 2 cups of warm water and let dissolve. Add this to the water bottle and swirl for 2-3 minutes. The baking soda will react with the left over vinegar and the chemical reaction will clean the surface. Drain the bottle again and rinse with warm water until the bottle is free from any remaining vinegar smell (the last thing you want is vinegar in your drinking water). You may have to adjust the amounts as needed.
How often to Clean Water Bottles
You want to make sure to maintain a clean supply of drinking water and this means cleaning your bottles often (but not obsessively). If you buy a new bottle you should definitely clean it out just to make certain that it is clean. Then wash the water bottles out ever 3-4 months of use thereafter.