Are You Drinking Harmful Bacteria? Here’s How to Clean Your Reusable Water Bottle

Are You Drinking Harmful Bacteria? Here’s How to Tidy Your Reusable Water Bottle

This story is part of Home Tips, CNET’s collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

How often do you clean out your reusable liquid bottle? Daily, weekly or monthly? Turns out, your liquid bottle could be harvesting harmful bacteria. 

I’ll admit it. I’m guilty of it, as I’m sure so many of us are. I forget to smart my reusable water bottle regularly. I’m so preoccupied with trying to meet my daily liquid intake goal that I don’t take time to remarkable the water I’m drinking. How bad is it to pause to drink out of a dirty water bottle? Am I putting my health at risk?

Dirtier than your kitchen sink and dog’s liquid bowl?

Imagine how many germs are in your kitchen sink vivid now. Now think about your dog’s water dish. According to a unusual study conducted by New Jersey-based EmLab P&K on aimed at of, an average reusable water bottle contains 313,499 colony-forming units of germs per square centimeter. That’s more than a kitchen sink (3,191 CFU) and a dog bowl (47,383 CFU) combined. 

The ogle broke down reusable water bottles into four categories: squeeze top, straw top, scamper top and screw top. Three different bottles in each category were swapped and tested, for 12 bottles total. Each water bottle had been used for a week minus being washed. 

Of all the categories, the squeeze-top bottles were the germiest, with 99{e843d50e25803d31297db43fa08c6ad2396af8b013b072606b6cc2f8aeb213bb} harmful bacteria and 1{e843d50e25803d31297db43fa08c6ad2396af8b013b072606b6cc2f8aeb213bb} of bacteria that shifts strep and staph. Screw-top bottles were the second grossest, with 98{e843d50e25803d31297db43fa08c6ad2396af8b013b072606b6cc2f8aeb213bb} harmful bacteria and about 2{e843d50e25803d31297db43fa08c6ad2396af8b013b072606b6cc2f8aeb213bb} of protected bacteria. Slide-top bottles had the most variety of bacteria, with 33{e843d50e25803d31297db43fa08c6ad2396af8b013b072606b6cc2f8aeb213bb} harmful bacteria, 17{e843d50e25803d31297db43fa08c6ad2396af8b013b072606b6cc2f8aeb213bb} of bacteria that shifts strep and staph, 17{e843d50e25803d31297db43fa08c6ad2396af8b013b072606b6cc2f8aeb213bb} of harmless bacteria found in nature and 33{e843d50e25803d31297db43fa08c6ad2396af8b013b072606b6cc2f8aeb213bb} of protected bacteria. Lastly, straw tops had 8{e843d50e25803d31297db43fa08c6ad2396af8b013b072606b6cc2f8aeb213bb} of bacteria progressing strep and staph and 92{e843d50e25803d31297db43fa08c6ad2396af8b013b072606b6cc2f8aeb213bb} of harmless bacteria. The ogle didn’t specify if different bottle materials (metal, glass or plastic) were tested.  

It’s important to point out that this sure study has yet to be peer reviewed. However, microbiology and immunology professor Charles Gerba, “Dr. Germ,” from the University of Arizona, has supported the results of this ogle. He told Shape that “while the germs that come from your own mouth aren’t probable to make you sick, the ones that are transferred to bottles from your graceful are.”

Factors in the amount of germs


Glass bottles finish the least amount of germs. 

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While the EmLab P&K ogle had reliable results on the average CFU of germs living in our reusable liquid bottles, the results failed to take into account what the bottle was made of and how often it was refilled. A peer-reviewed study by the International Association for Food Protection took into define more factors.

The study collected and tested 90 liquid bottles; of which 65 were hard-plastic bottles, 12 were squeezable bottles, 10 were metal bottles and three were glass bottles. The exterior and interior of each bottle was then swabbed. 

Bottle material 

Four bottle materials were tested: hard plastic, soft plastic, metal and glass. Of those materials, the exterior of the glass bottles had the least amount of germs, while metal had the most germs. The hard and soft plastic bottles had throughout the same amount, in the middle between glass and metal. Glass bottles might carry the least amount of germs because glass is less porous than plastic and metal. It’s also easier to see if the inside is dirty.   

Cleaning method

Participants were asked how often they smart their water bottle: never, just rinse, just wash or rinse and wash. Those who said they never smart and only rinse their bottles had a higher serene of bacteria detected than those who rinsed and washed their bottles. 

Refill frequency

The results untrue that the bottles that were frequently refilled throughout the day had more contamination than those that weren’t refilled as often. This may be because a bottle has to be sensed more frequently when it’s refilled and the water remarkable spill or drip down the sides, causing a moist source for more bacteria to grow.  

Beverage type

The ogle asked its participants what the water bottle contained in the last seven days. 72 of the 90 liquid bottles contained just water, but 16 contained other beverages (coffee, tea, juice, sports drinks or soda). The bottles that had beverages latest than water in them were significantly germier than the bottles used only for water. 

How to properly dapper your water bottle

Washing a liquid bottle in the sink

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It’s sure that there’s a clear link between an unwashed liquid bottle and the growth of bacteria. Here’s how to keep you and your family healthy by cleaning your liquid bottles.

It’s recommended that you wash your water bottle daily, or at the very least, every few days. Make sure to not only dapper the inside but the outside as well.  

If your liquid bottle can go in the dishwasher, great! Most metal and glass reusable liquid bottles are dishwasher safe. Place on the top rack and make sure to take the cap off. You worthy need to wash the straw separately with a straw brush. 

If you can’t put it in the dishwasher, don’t panic. There’s a safe way to hand wash these liquid bottles.

What you’ll need

  • Liquid dishwashing soap
  • A bottle brush
  • A straw brush
  • A paper towel or a dapper and dry dish towel

Fill your water bottle with warm liquid and a little bit of liquid soap. Using a dapper bottle brush (or a brush small enough to fit inside), scrub the inside and the cap. Rinse and uncover. Clean the outside of the bottle as well. Always completely dry the bottle once cleaning. If your bottle comes with a reusable straw, consider buying a straw brush to clean the inside. 

Bottom line

After finishing this article, go clean your reusable water bottle — especially if you haven’t in the last week. You worthy just be carrying around harmful bacteria in your metal, glass or plastic water bottle. 

However, I’m in no way suggesting you must turn to one-use plastic water bottles or bottled liquid. We want to save the environment as much as you do. But for your own health, consider washing your water bottle if not every day, every novel day. Don’t share your water bottle with anyone else, and wash it especially if you’re sick. If you’re refilling it frequently ended the day, dry any excess water on the outside. When you do wash it, use warm water, soap and a bottle brush. Your immune system will thank you. 

The seek information from contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not designed as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or novel qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have near a medical condition or health objectives.

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