7 Tips For Cleaning Your Cycling Water Bottles

Everything you need to know to keep them clean, long-lasting, and mould-free.

Molly Hurford |

Sticky sweet sports drinks and hydration tablets can turn your cycling bottles into incubators for bacteria and mould. Check out our expert tips below to keep your bottles fresh and clean and in good shape for years of use.

Wash By Hand

Rinsing bottles by hand with warm water and soap is the best way to clean them out after rides, according to Ryan Jones, director of bottle development & operations at Specialized. Any general, all-purpose liquid soap will do the job.

Use a Brush

A simple, long-handled bottle brush, available at most department or kitchen stores, will help you clean deep inside large bottles or those with narrow openings. Some scrubbing with a brush cleans sticky residues more easily and thoroughly and better removes mold than rinsing alone.

Don’t Forget the Caps

When you take a drink, fluid flows through a bottle’s cap, so remember to take care of the lid, too. Seth Beiden, marketing manager at CamelBak, suggests that you squeeze some soapy water through each bottle cap.

Skip the Dishwasher

Sure, it’s easier to toss your bottles into the dishwasher, but the water temperatures in most dishwashers are near boiling. Such heat commonly deforms many types of plastic goods and kitchen utensils and can degrade your bottles more quickly over time.

Clean After Every Ride

Just as you would for a drinking glass, wash your bottle every time. Even if you only drink water, you’re still leaving sweat and possibly bits of whatever you’re eating on the lid as you ride and drink, according to Beiden. At the very least, rinse your used bottle out.

Skip Harsh Cleaners

If you have to resort to harsh cleaners, it’s probably time to toss the bottle into the recycling bin. Jones notes that bleach in particular is a harsh chemical you may want to avoid putting into your bottle. If you don’t rinse enough, the bleach could contaminate your water next time you fill up the bottle. “If someone who is sick uses your bottle, a good warm soapy rinse should be enough to take care of any germs,” says Jones.

Know When to Toss It

Despite all the best intentions, sometimes a bottle doesn’t get cleaned frequently or thoroughly enough and mold grows inside. Jones suggests that you visually inspect the your bottle’s interior, and if you can’t relatively easily remove all mold with warm, soapy water and a brush, it’s time to get rid of the bottle.

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