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How to Clean Water Bottles

Viva® Towels | September 4 , 2023 | 5 min Read
Using tap to wash a water bottle

Get your back-to-school essentials ready to go with our step-by-step guide for how to clean water bottles

As the back-to-school season approaches, it's time to prepare for a fresh routine and make sure all your supplies are in check. From kindergartners and high schoolers to parents and professionals, most of us can’t live without a trusty water bottle. To get yours ready for the year ahead, you’ll want to give it a thorough clean, remove odors, and polish every nook and cranny 'til it shines.

Viva® is here to help you start the year off right with our handy guide for how to clean water bottles. Viva® Signature Cloth™ paper towels are 2X more durable when wet*: perfect for scrubbing up every inch of your bottle, and wiping odors away!

In our guide, we’ll walk you through why it’s important to keep your water bottle clean, along with our step-by-step cleaning method (including how to clean bottles with straws). With some Viva® advice in your pocket, you’ll be ready to stay hydrated during busy days at school, work, and beyond.

Why it’s important to clean your water bottle

Before we dive into how to clean water bottles, let’s take a quick refresher on why it’s important to make this a regular habit.

Aside from the fact that a pristine water bottle just looks and feels good, frequent cleaning is essential for healthy hydration. For anyone wondering exactly how often you should wash your water bottle—experts recommend cleaning it after every use to avoid build-up of grime and bacteria.

We know you’re all ready to get scrubbing, but in case there’s a stubborn teen (or partner!) who still needs convincing—here are three reasons everyone should clean their water bottle regularly.

  1. Boost your health and well-being: A clean water bottle always equals healthier hydration. When you use a water bottle repeatedly without cleaning it, bacteria and mold can start to grow on its surfaces, especially in hard-to-reach areas like straws or lids. Maintain regular cleaning to avoid buildup of harmful microorganisms, and keep yourself in peak health all year long!
  2. Keep things tasting fresh: Over time, residue from drinks or food particles can accumulate in your water bottle, resulting in unpleasant odors and tastes. (No thanks!) Regular cleaning will eliminate these residues, so you always get that crisp, refreshing taste.
  3. Make your bottle last longer: Proper cleaning and maintenance of your water bottle can actually help extend its lifespan. Particularly if you use it for juices or sports drinks, washing away acid residue will help preserve protective coatings and make it last longer.

How to clean water bottles

With all those benefits of cleaning fresh in our minds, we’ve never been more motivated to get our water bottles pristine and ready for back-to-school. Follow along with Viva®’s step-by-step guide so you can keep hitting your hydration goals.

Step 1: Gather your cleaning supplies

  • Viva® Signature Cloth™ paper towels. (The toughest towel for the toughest tasks, Viva® will help you get every inch of your bottle sparkling clean!)
  • Wooden spoon
  • Mild dish soap
  • White vinegar (optional for odor removal)
  • Baking soda (optional for odor removal)

Step 2: Empty and disassemble your water bottle

Pour out any remaining liquid from your water bottle and disassemble it. Remove the cap, straw, or any other detachable parts to ensure a thorough cleaning.

Step 3: Rinse with warm water

Rinse the bottle and all its components with warm water under the tap to remove any loose debris or residue.

Step 4: Clean the bottle with mild dish soap

If you don’t have a bottle brush, there’s no need to delay your water bottle deep clean! Simply wrap a sheet of Viva® Signature Cloth™ paper towel around the head of a wooden spoon, dip into a solution of water and mild dish soap, and scrub the inside of the bottle. Ta-da! Then, rinse out the bottle with warm water.

Step 5: Scrub the cap and rim with a paper towel

The crevices of bottle rims, caps, and other detachable parts are always easiest to miss. For these hard-to-reach areas, you’ll want to pick up a fresh Viva® Signature Cloth™ paper towel so you can be more targeted with your cleaning (Viva® Signature Cloth™ is 2X more durable & soft like cloth when wet vs. the leading value brand!).

Squirt a little dish soap onto a damp paper towel, then use it to scrub around the rim, cap, and any other areas where you see a build-up of residue.

Step 6: Remove odors as needed

If your water bottle has developed an unpleasant odor, there are a couple of methods you can try:

  • White vinegar solution: Fill the bottle halfway with equal parts warm water and white vinegar. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then scrub and rinse thoroughly. The vinegar will help eliminate odors and disinfect the bottle all at once.
  • Baking soda paste: Create a paste using a tablespoon of water and two tablespoons of baking soda (excellent for neutralizing odors!). Apply the paste to the inside of the bottle the wooden spoon method and let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub it away and rinse.

Cleaning straw as needed thumbnail

Step 7: Clean straw as needed

Fill a long dish or basin with water, then add half a cup of vinegar and a teaspoon of dish soap. Leave the straw to soak for ten minutes, flush with warm water at the tap, then dry thoroughly with a paper towel.

(You might want to invest in a special straw cleaning brush if you notice continued build-up of odor or residue.)

Step 8: Rinse thoroughly

Rinse the water bottle and all its components under warm water until there are no traces of soap, vinegar, or baking soda. This step is essential to prevent any lingering taste or residue, and keep your drinks tasting fresh.

Step 9: Dry and polish with a paper towel, then reassemble

To get your bottle ready to use again in no time, dry it off with a Viva® Signature Cloth™ paper towel. Once it’s thoroughly dry, reassemble and polish the exterior one more time with a paper towel to ensure it’s truly pristine.

Top tips for maintaining that clean bottle glow

Now your water bottle is clean and fresh, you’ll want to keep it that way! Here are our top tips for maintaining a bottle you can feel proud of:

  • Clean your water bottle at least once a week, or more frequently if you notice any odor, discoloration, or residue.
  • Avoid using abrasive wire cleaners or steel wool scrubbers, as these can damage your bottle's surface and remove protective coatings. Viva® Signature Cloth™ paper towels are the softest and most durable towel**—the ideal tool for a professional-level clean that won’t scratch or scrape your trusty hydration companion.
  • Store your water bottle with the cap or lid off to allow air circulation and prevent any potential moisture buildup.

With a crisp water bottle in hand, here’s to a bright new year of school, work and more. Keep Viva®’s tips for how to clean water bottles in mind, and you’ll be ready for whatever the coming months throw your way. Stay hydrated!

*vs. the leading value brand
**when wet vs. nationally branded towels"