You use your water bottle every time you exercise so make sure bacteria don’t build up inside it. Here are five ways how to keep your bottles clean and safe.
If you drink energy drinks, or even squash, to flavor the water you take on your training session, then it’s definitely worth taking a couple of minutes to sterilize your water bottles from time to time. Unhygienic bidons, especially when on a multi-day trip, can lead to odd tasting drinks at best and an upset stomach at worst.
We’ve all been guilty of leaving a bottle in a kit bag or on a bike to go moldy at some point. The lovely sugary goodness in the bottom of the bottle is the ideal breeding ground for mold and bacteria. So make sure that you empty and rinse the bottle with warm, soapy water as soon as you finish your workout, and use a bottle brush to get right to the bottom where the sticky energy drink solution is hard to rinse out.
Also, don’t forget to squirt clean water through the nozzle of the bottle as this is a prime spot for gunk to build up from the inside, and the cap can get covered with all kinds of road muck and grime on the outside.
Baking soda is cheap and most of us already have some in the kitchen. It doesn’t only clean but also deodorizes, removing the plasticky smell new bottles have, and it helps keep the flavor of your water fresh. Just put a teaspoon of baking powder into your bottle, fill it with water, shake and leave to stand. Rinse before using again.
Drop one denture-cleaning tablet into your water bottle, fill and leave to stand to remove stains, bacteria and mold. You can purchase tubes of individual tablets in large supermarkets or chemists. They are convenient to carry in a kit bag if you are away on a training camp or stage race, so even if staying in a hotel room you can give your bottles a thorough daily clean.
A sterilizing solution such as Milton, as used for babies’ bottles, will of course do the same job on a water bottle. You can easily do a batch of several bottles and the lids, which can get really gunked up, by placing them in the solution and leaving them to soak. Use at the right concentration, read the label and bottles don’t need rinsing after sterilizing. Just leave them to air dry.
It’s easy and quick to put your bottles in the dishwasher but this isn’t always totally effective if the jet sprays don’t reach the bottom of the bottles. A hot wash will help remove bacteria but can also distort the shape of the bottle and wash off the markings and logos. This is a fast solution but don’t expect your bottle to last for long.
Storing your bottles in the freezer doesn’t kill microbes or bacteria completely but it does definitely help to stop microbes growing inside your bottle. That way, when you go to use them they will be clean and fresh-smelling, no matter how long it’s been since their last wash.