Is there bacteria growing in your reusable water bottle?


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How many of you have a reusable water bottle? And how many of you simply purchase a flip-cap sports bottle of water and reuse it for a few weeks before buying another one? After all, you're still doing your bit for the planet and your wallet by not buying a new bottle every time you're thirsty. But when is the last time you washed your bottle?


A study in yuck

If you don't clean your bottle — whether it's a heavy-duty reusable bottle from your favorite sporting goods store or a brand-name bottle you buy and reuse until you get a nasty whiff that reminds you to buy a new one — it creates an optimum breeding ground for bacteria to grow.


Proof that humidity is evil

You've had a long day and, after taking a last swig of water, you cap your bottle, leave it on the counter and go to bed. Does this scenario sound familiar? If you close a bottle of water that is not quite empty, it traps humidity inside. SFGate reminds us this provides for bacteria a perfect growing medium.

Even if you rinse out your water bottle every day, make sure you do so with hot, soapy water and that you're also cleaning the twist-off cap, if applicable, as well as the threaded mouthpiece. Those threads where moisture gets trapped let bacteria multiply even quicker. And if you don't keep it clean, you can deliver straight to your gut a potentially nasty stomach bug.


Keep it clean

Look into getting a bottle with a pop-up spout instead of one with a threaded mouthpiece. Better yet, get a wide-mouthed bottle since it's easier to dry it. They may not be as convenient as the standard flip-cap sports bottle with the narrow mouthpiece that lets you swig without spilling water all over yourself — but if it means keeping bacteria at bay, it's certainly worth it.

Wash your bottle every night. Yes, every night — not every few days. You wouldn't think twice about washing your wine glass, fork or cereal bowl after each use, would you? Pop Sugar suggests getting a dishwasher-safe bottle that you can throw in with the rest of your pots and pans, if you have a dishwasher, of course. If you're the dishwasher, you can also invest in a bottle brush and give that bottle a good cleaning. Leave it open and let it dry thoroughly — otherwise, you'll create a humid environment and, despite having cleaned it, bacteria will grow.

If you think it's a drag, then consider the following. It's better to spend an extra few minutes washing out your water bottle every night than it is to spend any number of minutes clutching your stomach in the toilet wondering what's wrong with you. It's all about perspective.