The benefits of a reusable insulated water bottle are common knowledge. Giving up single-use plastic bottles reduces landfill waste and plastic pollution, saves you money, and is better for your health. Plastic water bottles often contain BPA, a potentially harmful chemical that can leach into the body over time. Known as bisphenol, this common type of polycarbonate has been linked to a long list of health problems, including damage to the reproductive systems in wildlife and humans.

If you've already made the choice to invest in an affordable and sustainable insulated water bottle made with non-toxic materials like stainless steel and a BPA-free plastic lid, then good for you! You've made the better choice for your health while also doing your part to help save the environment for future generations. But remember — you can only enjoy the benefits of an insulated water bottle if you keep it clean on a daily basis. All jokes aside, a dirty water bottle can easily become a petri dish of harmful bacteria like E. coli, which can make you seriously ill. Here, we’ll discuss the importance of routinely cleaning your reusable water bottle.

Why Daily Cleaning Matters

As Robert Glatter, MD, attending emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital explains, "Since it's a moist environment, it's possible for bacteria to set up shop and thrive." He recommends cleaning your water bottle daily to avoid illness or unpleasant symptoms — and not just rinsing it with water, but with an antibacterial dishwashing liquid.

It might be easier and more convenient to refill your bottle, sip until the last drop, rinse with water, and repeat. But with your health at stake, it's worth the extra effort to always sanitize your bottle at the end of the day. We also recommend occasionally deep cleaning it with stronger cleaning solutions like water cleaning tablets, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, or bleach.

If you follow these easy, step-by-step cleaning methods, your reusable water bottle will not only last a lifetime but also keep you safely hydrated throughout the day.

Wash Daily With Warm, Soapy Water

For a stainless steel insulated water bottle, the first step for keeping it sanitized and squeaky clean is by gently washing it every day with warm, soapy water. We recommend using a bottle brush, which will help you gently wash all the hard to reach areas around the lid. If your insulated water bottle has a powder-coated finish, never put it in the dishwasher because the high temperatures and the wash process can damage the exterior.

Keep It Out of the Freezer & Microwave

An insulated water bottle should never go in the freezer or microwave because it can cause damage to both the bottle and your appliances. It's important to keep in mind that the insulation is designed to maintain the temperature of liquids inside the bottle, regardless of the external temperature. This means that placing your bottle in the freezer or microwave has zero effect on its ability to maintain the temperature of your beverage.

Remove Oxidation Spots With Vinegar

Oxidation can also cause your metal water bottle to accumulate spots over time. An easy way to remove any discoloration inside the bottle is by putting 1/4 to 1/2 cup of distilled vinegar inside the bottle and gently swirling it around. Let the solution sit for 5 to 10 minutes. For stubborn spots, mix 3 teaspoons of baking soda with a little bit of water and scrub the bottle thoroughly with a bottle brush.

Deep Clean With Hydrogen Peroxide

If your bottle has a bad smell or feels slimy on the inside, we recommend leveling up your sanitizing method with 3% hydrogen peroxide. Donna Smallin Kuper, the author of Cleaning Plain & Simple, has a simple, fail-safe method for disinfecting reusable water bottles: "Clean the bottle and top thoroughly with soap and water and rinse with hot water. Then pour about 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide in the bottle, replace, and close the lid tightly." Next, shake the bottle vigorously and then pour out the hydrogen peroxide. Give your bottle a final rinse with water to make sure the peroxide is completely gone. Now your water bottle should be sparkling clean and completely sanitized.

Sanitize With Water Cleaning Tablets

Another way to sanitize your water bottle is with water cleaning tablets. This method is a useful option for when you need to occasionally deep clean your bottle to get rid of funky smells or mold. Simply fill your bottle with water and drop in the tablets according to the instructions on the package. Let sit for 30 minutes and then rinse your bottle thoroughly with water. Recommended by Dr. Glatter, sanitizing with water cleaning tablets is a convenient cleaning method because it doesn't require any scrubbing with a bottle brush.

Disinfect With Bleach

Along with water cleaning tablets and hydrogen peroxide, another everyday household item you can use to deep clean your insulated water bottle is a solution of bleach. Using a weak bleach solution is perfectly safe for cleaning your reusable water bottle. In fact, it is often used to sanitize baby bottles and sippy cups. Make a cleaning solution with 1 tbsp of bleach per 1 quart of water. Fill your water bottle with the solution, close the lid tightly, and let sit for 2 minutes. Then, pour out the water, rinse with fresh water, and allow your bottle to completely dry out.

Sanitize Straws With Straw-Cleaning Brushes

For cleaning an insulated water bottle that comes with a straw, you should invest in a set of inexpensive straw cleaners. With a solution of warm water and dishwashing liquid, use these cleaners to scrub away any dirt or grime that may have accumulated inside the straws. Then, rinse with warm water, or if they are dishwasher safe, place them in your dishwasher’s cutlery basket and run through a washing cycle.

Dry It Thoroughly

Whatever method you choose, after washing your insulated water bottle you should also dry it thoroughly with a paper towel or clean dish towel. Since bacteria thrive in moist environments, this will ensure that your freshly cleaned bottle won't be contaminated with new germs. Another option is to air dry your bottle with the cap off, which will prevent moisture from getting trapped.

Cleaning your insulated water bottle on a daily basis is easy, convenient, and the best way to keep your reusable bottle in great condition. With these simple daily care tips, your bottle will stay squeaky clean for years to come.