Reusable water bottles keep waste out of the landfills and save you money on disposable containers. But what happens when they get dirty? How do you clean them? Since bacteria love a moist, dark environment, it’s good to get in the habit of cleaning your bottle every night — or at least every few days. Here are a few ways you can get rid of the germs and grime.

For water only! Funky water bottles can happen any time you put anything besides water into them. If you do choose to put something other than water into your bottle be sure to wash your bottle out as soon as you finish it. I have ones that I only use for water and others that I use for juice and ice tea.

Wash with bottle brush and warm soapy water. Empty out your bottle to get rid of any leftover liquid. Add a few drops of dishwashing soap (think about using an eco or natural option) and some warm water screw on the top, and shake for a minute or so. It’s smart to invest in a good bottle brush so you can scrub deep inside your bottle, especially those bottles that have a narrow mouth. And remember to also clean the cap and straw and allow everything to air-dry overnight.


Wash your bottle in the dishwasher.Some bottles are dishwasher safe, but its best to check the bottom of your bottle or the brands website to make sure. If safe, put the water bottle into the dishwasher for a full cycle. The high temperatures and stronger dishwasher detergent may be exactly what your bottle needs. I typically wash mine by hand but then once a month I throw them in the dishwasher to give them a good cleaning.

Try vinegar. This all-natural cleaner is great for killing certain germs and bacteria (but remember it isn’t effective at killing all germs like the flu). Best to try this method after washing with soapy water, then rinse well, and fill your bottle one fifth of the way with white vinegar. Fill the rest with water, let it stand overnight. The next morning thoroughly rinse it out.

Baking soda and water soak. Baking soda is my go-to when other methods have failed. For this method add one or two heaping teaspoons of baking soda and some warm water into the water bottle and let that soak for a few hours. Rinse very well and it is ready to go.

Use water bottle cleansing tablets. There are now many companies make this type of product, you can try the SIGG bottle clean type, or use a little known restaurant trick, use an effervescent denture cleaning tablets (such as Efferdent). Just fill your bottle with water, drop the tablet in, and allow it to dissolve. Let this sit for 15 to 30 minutes (depending on the product’s directions), then rinse and enjoy your clean bottle.


Use a weak bleach solution. This option is not my preferred option however, if you’re really worried about germs, nothing stands a chance against a little bleach! To make a bleach solution use one tablespoon of bleach per one quart of water. Fill your bottle, screw on the top, and allow it all to sit for two minutes, tops. Pour out the solution, rinse well, and allow it to dry out completely.

Regular cleanings are best for maintaining your water bottle. Why let the unpleasant  and unhealthy accumulate on the inside? So lets make sure that while you’re doing your part to protect Mother Earth, you’re still doing a good job at protecting yourself from unnecessary germs.


water bottle cleaning kit