It's one of the easiest things to forget, but if you've been dominating those workouts you need to remember to clean your water bottle. Giving it a quick rinse isn't enough. (In fact, that creates the perfect dark, wet environment for bacteria to grow.) And while we're sure you're sipping from a reusable bottle, if it's hand-wash only things can get a little tricky. That's why we turned to Becca Napelbaum, cleaning expert at Handy, to make sure it gets the best scrubbing every time. All you need to do is follow these steps:
How to Clean Your Water Bottle
1. See if it's hand-wash only.
Some bottles can be thrown in the dishwasher, so check the bottom of your bottle for directions. If it's dishwasher-safe, take the bottle apart so each component is separate (bottle, top, and possibly a mouthpiece and detachable straw). Place them the top rack of the dishwasher to avoid warping from the hot water.
2. Clean it after every use.
Napelbaum says there really shouldn't be any exceptions to this rule. "If you take one to the gym with you, take it cycling, or go out running with it—and then don't clean it afterward—every sip you take will be filled with thousands of bacteria," she says. Just like you would toss your sports bra in the laundry, get that water bottle in the sink.
3. Start scrubbing.
If your bottle is hand-wash only, it's easy to go with the soap-and-water method. Make sure the water is warm and soapy (it's fine to use whatever you use to hand-wash your dishes). Use a nonabrasive sponge or bristle brush to get into the crannies of the bottle and under your mouthpiece. (You can also drop in a cleaning tablet, like these from CamelBak.) Flip 'er upside down and air-dry overnight.
4. Grab vinegar.
If you have time for an extra step, Napelbaum suggests filling the bottle a fifth of the way with white vinegar and the rest with water, then letting it stand overnight. You can do it once a week, then give it a healthy rinse before taking it out to your next sweat sesh.