You are doing your best to save the environment and still stay hydrated. You have switched to a reusable water bottle. Hooray! But with change comes the need to change habits. When you used disposable water bottles, you finished off and tossed it - done. Well, reusable bottles have one need - to be cleaned.
Unwashed water bottles, even when they are only used for water, breed bacteria. Where does this bacteria come from? You. You and your dirty mouth - there I said it. Every time you drink from your water bottle, some of your backwash escapes back into the bottle. After a few days that backwash, added with the damp environment inside your water bottle, will lead to a bacterial cesspool. This can leave you with not so fresh tasting or smelling water, not to mention potential health issues.
But don't abandon your water bottle just yet! Here are simple tips to keep your bottle clean:
- Cleaning Basics: For wide mouthed water bottles, you can just throw it in the dishwasher for a cycle. For a narrower bottle, soap and warm water or an occasional vinegar (or baking soda) and water solution work well. Don't forget to let it dry out! If you can't remember the last time you washed out your bottle, you might want to take a bottle brush to it. Many bottle brushes come in kits that will also allow you to clean out your straw if you have one.
- A Better Bottle: Go big or go home. Narrow mouthed water bottles, or bottles with lots of bevels are harder to clean. Try a wide-mouth water bottle, a bottle with a straw, or a bottle with a wide twist off top.
- A Better Bottle, part 2: Get indestructible. If you have the choice, stainless steel water bottles are going to be easier to clean than plastic. Plastic can scratch or crack on the inside - leaving a perfect nesting place for bacteria. Steel, on the other hand, is a more durable material which is is naturally anti-bacterial.