Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Why you should wash your water bottle more often

Reading Time: 3 minutes

With the introduction of the three R’s for a greener planet, the first R is REDUCE. The simplest step towards reducing plastic for anyone is refilling your water bottle. Bottled water whether in plastic or glass, trashed with one use increases the dumping in landfills by      tons/year. Carrying a reusable water bottle with you on a daily basis and refilling it from water filters is trending worldwide. Its convenient and sustainable.

Regularly cleaning your bottle, in fact daily cleaning of your bottle should be a habit you practice. Regardless of its contents, especially if water, as it makes it easier to delay washing your bottle or tea, coffee, juice or flavoured drinks cc the habit.

Here is why it is very important to wash your bottle thoroughly with detergent on a daily basis —

– Reusable water bottles can harbour 20.8 million bacteria on average, far surpassing toilet seat microbes.

– The moisture-rich environment within these containers attracts mould and bacteria like flowers to a bee.

– Neglecting proper washing between uses poses major health risks, while frequent cleansing prevents germ buildup.

Bottle material plays a role —

There’s an abundance of water bottle options from stainless steel to plastic and even glass. Microorganisms attach less to stainless steel and glass, while aluminium and plastic bottles are more likely to breed microorganisms. Glass bottles also come with the added bonus of  transparency allowing you to visually inspect the cleanliness of the bottle, whereas it can be hard to clean the crevices or plastic and aluminium bottles.

What types of microbes are found in water bottles?

Various microbes inhabit reusable bottles, including simple commensals and pathogens like E. coli, streptococcus and staphylococcus. Drinking directly from the bottle often transfers mouth bacteria, which can multiply inside the bottle. While most of our immune systems can fend off these microorganisms, not cleaning your bottle thoroughly or frequently can increase the risk of illness and mould and bacterial overgrowth. The thought of microbes in your water bottle can seem gruesome but most of the time it’s nothing to worry about, especially if you regularly clean your bottle using soap and hot water.

How often should you wash your water bottle?

Surprisingly, the recommended frequency for washing your water bottle might catch you off guard. If you’re already cleansing it daily, try adding a rinse everytime you refill your bottle, especially the part which makes contact with your mouth. Ideally, reusable bottles should be washed  daily with hot water and soap. This is pivotal in thwarting the breeding of microorganisms within your bottle.

Experts suggest sanitising your bottle once a week is paramount especially if your bottles are filled with drinks other than water.

Washing your bottle in five simple steps —

Now that you know you must clean your bottle regularly, you might be wondering which is the easiest, quickest way.

The cleaning process is pretty straightforward.

Here is a breakdown of the cleaning process in five simple steps-

  1. Start by dismantling the bottle (unscrewing the lid and removing any parts that can be separated like a valve, straw etc.)
  2. Use a clean bottle brush to scrub the inside of the bottle. Make sure you reach the bottom with soapy water. A sponge may not reach the bottom of the bottle so it’s best to opt for a long bottle brush.
  3. Use a smaller brush to clean the miscellaneous curves and crevices of the bottle especially the rim.
  4. Rinse all the parts of the bottle with warm water until all the soap is gone. Smell to make sure all soap, drink smells are rid of and the bottle smells neutral.
  5. Dry all the parts of the bottle completely. Set them upside-down on a clean dish towel or paper napkin to let it drip dry, then place it face up and let it dry overnight. This ensures it is thoroughly dry of tap water and its now ready to be filled with filtered water.

FINAL WORD — Reusable water bottles are very convenient. They help reduce plastic waste, and cost savings through refills. Not to mention they can be quite stylish. A reusable water bottle has become somewhat of a style statement in recent times. Despite their benefits, water bottles come with their risks which can be easily overcome through thorough cleaning.

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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