Do you grab the same reusable water bottle day after day without cleaning it? Do you justify your lack of soapy scrubbing based on the premise that the water bottle only holds clean water, so it can’t get that dirty?
A 2017 study on the International Association for Food Protection website examined 90 participants’ reusable water bottles and found that 60 percent hosted more bacteria than permitted in public drinking water. Ew.
That’s not the worst of it. A recent study discovered that the average reusable water bottle contains more colony-forming units (CFU) of germs per square centimeter than a kitchen sink and dog bowl combined. For an exact germ count: reusable water bottles came in with 313,499 CFU compared to 3,191 CFU in the kitchen sink and 47,383 CFU in the dog bowl.
This study tested water bottles after a week of use without being washed, evaluating a small collection of squeeze top, straw top, slide top and screw top bottles. While all the water bottles bred germs, slide top water bottles strongly surpassed the other water bottles by growing 933,340 CFU; straw tops claimed the least, with only 25.4 CFU.
Time for a wash?
Unsterile water bottles breed mold, bacteria and possibly yeast, which can negatively affect your health, but there’s an easy solution: warm water and soap.
So how often should water bottles undergo a thorough washing? Most doctors recommend cleaning reusable water bottles daily, just like you’d wash a drinking glass daily. Because germs thrive in dark, moist environments, make sure to clean and dry the water bottles to keep tiny, troublesome organisms away.
Find it awkward to scrub your water bottle’s curves and crannies? Even that excuse dissolves now that water bottle cleansing tablets and a large variety of sized and shaped brushes are widely available. So, before you take another sip, give that water bottle a bath – it needs it.