Cleaning water bottles, flasks, and bladders are crucial after each hike as it leads to the growth of bacteria in your hydration system.

First off, let us talk about hydration.

Hydration is essential while trekking. You can’t go wrong with bringing the right supplies to keep you hydrated during a trek, and most importantly, don’t forget your water bottle (or flasks and bladders).

Staying hydrated prevents you from getting sick, tired, or getting altitude sickness while you are up in the mountains.

Read how to stay hydrated when hiking here.

Regardless of this, it is also vital to keep your hydration system clean. Staying hydrated sure keeps you safe, but drinking water from a dirty bottle- will slowly kill your digestive system.

For this, remember to always clean and sanitize your water bottles, flasks, and bladders after each use, or let’s say after each hike/trek.

If you do not know how to clean your water bottle, flask and bladder, you have come to the right place.

Below are the step-by-step ways to clean your hydration system. Keep reading to find out!

How to clean your water bottle

Cleaning your water bottle is super easy and takes less than a minute, but before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to do it, let’s cover a couple of things that you should know.

  • Plastic water bottles are BPA-free. (Bisphenol-A) These days, bottled water companies are only using BPA-free plastic. Here are the 14 best BPA-free water bottles as listed by GoodHouseKeepping
  • Water bottles can be tossed in the dishwasher, but for best results use hot water, and the less hot the better! [As a side note: Do not put your bottle under any of the dents on a gallon jug, as it may warp.]

Getting started:

Step 1: Half-fill your bottle with water, close the lid and shake it.
Step 2: Throw the water in the basin.
Step 3: Take a bottlebrush or use a normal sponge and scrub the insides of the bottle using a dish-washing soap. Make sure you get down to the bottom of the bottle.
Step 4: Rinse the bottle and its cap.
Step 5: Place the water bottle upside down and let it dry.
Step 6: Store your bottle by keeping its lid tight.

Now, if your bottle is too gross for it to be cleaned with just the normal dishwashing soap and a bottle brush, you can use baking soda or vinegar for a deeper clean.

Step 1: Take hot water and add 2-3 teaspoons of baking soda (or white vinegar).
Step 2: Put the water bottle inside the mix and let it sit overnight.
Step 3: Rinse and scrub the bottle and the lid with a dishwashing soap on the day after.
Step 4: Turn the bottle upside down and let it air dry. Easy peasy!

How to clean your flask

Cleaning your flask is a bit different from your water bottle, but just as easy.

Step 1: To clean the insides of your flask, you’ll need a bottlebrush. Some flasks come with a cleaning brush for the top of the flask and a brush for the bottom, so you don’t have to worry about having to purchase anything to clean it.
Step 2: Half-fill your flask with lukewarm water, close the lid and shake it. Then, throw the water into the basin.
Step 3: Clean the outside of your flask using soap and water and rinse.
Step 4: Scrub the insides of the flask with the bottlebrush and soap and rinse. You can also use a scrubbing sponge to remove any type of residue or spots.
Step 5: Rinse it thoroughly.
Step 6: Hang them upside down to dry.
Step 7: Make sure the lid has fully dried before putting it in the flask to store.

How to clean your hydration bladder and bladder tube

Washing a hydration bladder is similar to washing your water bottle or flask. The only difference is, you can also wash it in the dishwasher since hydration bladders are reversible making them easier to clean.

What you need: toothbrush/bottlebrush, dish soap.

Boon Portable Bottle Brushes are one of the best bottle brushes that come in a set of two brushes. It not only washes your hydration flasks and water bottles properly but also can be used for pump bottles’ parts.

Types of Bottle brushes

If your hydration bladder needs a deep cleaning, you need either one of these: Baking soda, Household bleach, Lemon juice, Reservoir cleaning tablets:

Let’s get started:

Step 1: Soak your hydration bladder inside warm water mixed with dish soap. If the bladder needs a deeper cleaning, mix warm water with baking soda/lemon juice/cleaning tablets. Then let it sit overnight. Cleaning tablets, however, need less soaking time.
Step 2: Take the bladder out from the mix and rinse it.
Step 3: Grab the bottom of the bladder and pull it through to make it inside out.
Step 4: Use the bottlebrush to scrub the insides of the bladder. You can also wash handwash it. Pay special attention to the mouthpiece and the hose.
Step 5: Rinse it with clean water.
Step 6: Hang the bladder open and facing upside down to dry.
Step 7: Make sure the bladder is completely dry before storing it or using it again.

Now let’s focus on the hose. The hose is the part of the bladder that collects moisture quickly and stores bacteria and dirt.

Step 1: Buy a brush kit for cleaning the hose and mouthpiece.
Step 2: While you soak the bladder in the warm water and cleaning solution mixes such as dish soap or cleaning tablets, allow the solution to get inside the hose. You can do this simply by pinching the mouthpiece.
Step 3: Let the solution sit for 10-20 minutes depending on the type of cleaning solution used.
Step 4: Take the hose brush and scrub clean the dirt spots and the bite valve.
Step 5: While you rinse the bladder, lift it up letting the hose drop into the sink.
Step 6: Pinch the bite valve so that water from the bladder flows out of it.
Step 7: Drain the hose again, but now, with fresh clean water.
Step 8: Keep the bladder upright to dry.

Here we have the ways to clean your water bottle, flask, and hydration bladder. If you have any tips and tricks, feel free to share them with us in the comments down below.

Also, read about how to get in shape for trekking here.

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