Carol asked: We have a Brita water cooler. We reuse the bottle by filling it up with tap water. There is a brown film on the bottom of the bottle. How can we clean the bottle?
Any growth inside of the water bottle is a sign that unwanted germs and mold have become trapped and made themselves a new home. While it is easiest to replace the bottle with a new one, it may be possible to remove this brown crud with a few creative “scrubbers.”
You Will Need:
- Bleach or dish soap
- Lemon juice
- Baby bottle scrubber
- Soft cloth
Steps to Remove the Growth:
- Choose a cleaning product from the above list, either dish soap or bleach (or both) to begin cleaning the bottle and killing whatever is growing inside.
- Fill the bottle about ¼ full with water and add a small amount of dish soap and/or bleach.
- Swish the water around by shaking and swirling the container.
- It may be necessary to add something to the water to produce some friction on the surface of the bottle.
- Rice or crushed ice can be poured into the water and then swirled/shaken to allow it to scrub against the surface and remove the growth.
- If the bottle is small, a baby bottle brush may be inserted through the neck and bent to clean the sides and area leading up to the opening.
- If the opening is large enough, drop a dish cloth into the container and swish it around.
- If using salt, it’s best to use it with just a little bit of lemon juice (no water, or the salt will dissolve). Swish it around and allow the salt to scrape the growth from the surface.
- Once the build-up is removed, rinse the bottle thoroughly to remove any cleaning residue.
- Keep a close eye on the bottle as the growth will likely return.
- Clean it promptly before it contaminates the water.
Additional Tips and Advice
- If you’re really feeling creative, attach some sponges to a bent wire hanger for an extended brush.
- If the build-up or growth cannot be removed, recycle the bottle and start with a fresh one. It’s not healthy to keep drinking from a bottle in these conditions.
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