How to Clean a Reusable Water Bottle—and How Often You Need to Do It

reusable water bottle on table
reusable water bottle on table

Brandon Colbert Photography / GETTY IMAGES


  1. On This Page

    • Cleaning Frequency

    • Cleaning a Reusable Water Bottle

    • Cleaning a Reusable Straw

    • Cleaning a Bite Valve Lid

You bring your reusable water bottle everywhere, making it your most used piece of drinkware. For this reason, it's typically emptied and immediately refilled without being properly cleaned first. We understand—the bottle, lid, and straw mechanism (if yours has one) can make cleaning reusable water bottles feel like a chore. But not giving your water bottle a thorough scrub regularly can lead to the buildup of bacteria, mold, and other unwanted substances—things you definitely don't want to ingest. And while it may feel like a nuisance, cleaning your reusable water bottle can be simplified with a few basic supplies and a method suitable to your specific bottle.

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How Often You Should Wash a Reusable Water Bottle

In general, you should wash your reusable water bottle after each use, says Alicia Sokolowski, the president and co-CEO of Aspen Clean. But the true cleaning frequency will depend on how often you use your bottle—and what you put in it. "If you only use your bottle occasionally, you can wash it every few days," says Sokolowski. If you fill it with drinks other than water, cleaning it after every use is crucial, or the interior may grow bacteria and mold.

Neglecting to wash your water bottle regularly will also make it harder to clean over time. "When we drink from a water bottle, we introduce our mouth's bacteria into the bottle, which can multiply if the bottle is not cleaned regularly," says Sokolowski. "Over time, this can create a biofilm, a thin layer of bacteria that adheres to the inside of the bottle, making it harder to clean and increasing the risk of contamination."

How to Clean a Reusable Water Bottle

Materials Needed

Make sure you have these cleaning supplies on hand before getting started.

  • Dish soap

  • Baking soda

  • Bottle brush

  • Toothbrush

  • Pipe cleaner

  • White vinegar

Always empty your bottle of any liquid before cleaning it and disassemble the lid and straw (if it has one) from the body to be cleaned separately.

General Cleaning

For everyday cleaning, wash your reusable water bottle like any other piece of drinkware. "If your bottle is dishwasher safe, you can place it on the top rack of the dishwasher for cleaning," says Sokolowski. If the manufacturer's instructions indicate that dishwashing isn't applicable, hand clean your reusable water bottle, instead.

  1. Rinse the bottle thoroughly with warm water to remove any remaining liquid and debris.

  2. Wash all components of the bottle (body, lid, and mouthpiece) with hot, soapy water.

  3. Use a bottle brush to clean the inside and mouthpiece.

  4. Rinse with hot water to remove any soap residue.

  5. Allow the bottle to air dry completely before reassembling.

Deep Cleaning

If your reusable water bottle has been neglected for a while, it likely has a buildup of bacteria or stains. A deep clean may be necessary to remove any unwanted substances. "It's important to note that this deep-cleaning process should be done periodically and not as a substitute for regular cleaning after each use," says Sokolowski.

  1. Fill the bottle with hot water and a tablespoon of baking soda.

  2. Let the bottle soak for at least an hour or overnight, depending on the severity of the buildup.

  3. After soaking, use a bottle brush or sponge to scrub the inside of the bottle, paying special attention to any hard-to-reach areas.

  4. Use a toothbrush to scrub the mouthpiece or other small bottle parts.

  5. Rinse the bottle thoroughly.

  6. Allow the bottle to air dry completely before reassembling.

How to Clean a Reusable Straw

Like the body of your bottle, reusable straws can also harbor bacteria and germs. After each use, you should rinse your reusable straw under hot water to remove any remaining liquid or debris. Scrub the inside and outside of the straw with a cleaning brush or pipe cleaner, using hot, soapy water. To sanitize your straw, follow the steps below.

  1. Mix one part water with one part white vinegar.

  2. Soak the straw in the mixture for a few minutes.

  3. Rinse the straw with hot water.

  4. Allow the straw to air dry completely before using.

How to Clean a Bite Valve Lid

Cleaning a bite valve lid can be tricky, but it is possible. "For these types of bottles, I really only recommend filling them with water which will reduce issues of build up and mold from juices," says Melissa Poepping, founder of The Chemical Free Home.

  1. Take the lid apart, if possible.

  2. Rinse the lid thoroughly with hot water to remove any remaining liquid or debris.

  3. Clean the inside of the bite valve with a small brush or pipe cleaner and hot, soapy water.

  4. Wash the lid with hot, soapy water, making sure to clean all surfaces and hard-to-reach areas.

  5. Rinse the lid and bite valve thoroughly with hot water to remove soap residue.

  6. Allow the straw to air dry completely before using.