How Often Should You Clean a Stainless Steel Water Bottle & The Best Methods To Use

how often to clean stainless steel water bottle

Stainless steel water bottles are a fantastic option for your everyday water bottle. Robust, reusable, good quality and with no toxins likely to leach out, a stainless steel water bottle can last a very long time.

There are two other major benefits to a stainless steel bottle that increases its durability and long life – it’s an unreactive material and it’s very easy to clean. These benefits also make stainless steel a much better alternative to a plastic water bottle.

Along with glass, a stainless steel bottle is arguably the best, most sustainable water bottle material you can get.

Cleaning your stainless steel water bottle regularly will help maintain the quality of the bottle and increase the usage you get out of it.

Let’s take a look at how often you should clean your bottle first, followed by the different methods of deep cleaning a stainless steel water bottle.

Major benefits of stainless steel for a water bottle

There are a number of great reasons and benefits to why stainless steel is the go-to material in professional food and drink kitchens.

Top tip – look out for the 304 stamp mark on a stainless steel water bottle. This means the bottle is made from food grade stainless steel, and is one of the best qualities. Furthermore, stainless steel is environmentally friendly and highly recyclable.

A major benefit to stainless steel is that it can be cleaned and sterilised very easily. This is largely thanks to the chromium layer on the surface of stainless steel that does two things.

Firstly, this layer stops the material from rusting. Secondly, it gives the material naturally anti- microbial resistance. This layer creates an extremely smooth surface with no micro-pores that harbour bacteria and mould.

my easy to clean stainless steel water bottle at the gym
My fantastic, easy to clean stainless steel water bottle

Have you ever noticed discolouration in a plastic water bottle or mould growing on the inside? Have you ever put a chilli con carne in some plastic tupperware only to have it stained that orange colour forever?     

This is because on a micro-level, the plastic surface is open to foreign bodies and particles. Things can leach into plastic, and nasty things and chemicals can also leach out. You don’t get this problem with stainless steel.  

You can read up on all the benefits to a stainless steel water bottle here.

How often should you clean your stainless steel water bottle?

In an ideal world, you should clean your stainless steel water bottle after every use.

If you use your water bottle every day, you should wash it out every day.

This is because bacteria love a moist environment and water bottles offer these in great numbers. Although stainless steel is a difficult material for bacteria to take a hold on, parts of the bottles such as the ridges, threading and under the cap may present an opportunity.

Cleaning your stainless steel water bottle after every use will keep it super clean and sterile.

Here’s an admission on my behalf – I have a 304 stainless steel water bottle by WAKEcup but I don’t clean it every day. This is mainly because it’s in constant use.

I also have an activated charcoal filter in my bottle and use it every day. At the end of each day, I fill it up with tap water and put it in the fridge overnight, ready for nice cold drink in the morning.

stainless steel water bottle and activated charcoal stick

I think the key to this, and the reason I get away with it, is that I only use my bottle for water. I probably clean my stainless steel water bottle once every 3-5 days with warm, soapy water and it’s perfectly fine.

If you use your stainless steel bottle for coffee, a daily smoothie or some kind of fruit juice, you should definitely clean it out after every use.

For tip top maintenance though, whether you use your bottle for just water or another type of drink, you should clean it out each time after a day of use. This will help to keep the bottle in great condition for longer.

It’s good practice to give your stainless steel bottle a deep clean every so often. If you’re dedicated this will be a weekly deep clean, if you’re a bit slack you can revert to a monthly deep clean which still works very well.

Everyday way to clean your stainless steel water bottle

The best and easiest way to clean your stainless steel water bottle is with warm, soapy water. This is the everyday way.

For a daily clean, swill out and wash all parts with warm, soapy water. Make sure the drinking spout, cap and threading where the cap screws down to are all cleaned. It’s these parts that are most likely to get dirty.  

You’ll also need to clean the inside of the bottle. It may be difficult to reach the bottom of the container, particularly if you haven’t got a soft bottle brush, which I haven’t.

So I like to fill it half way with hot, soapy water, put the top on and give it a shake for 30-60 seconds.

Once clean, leave it to air dry on a drying rack and it’s good to go again.

Best way to deep clean a stainless steel water bottle

The everyday clean with hot, soapy water is a great way to keep on top of your water bottle cleanliness. If you do this very regularly, you might not have to give it a deep clean at all.  

If your stainless steel water bottle doesn’t get an everyday clean, hasn’t had a proper clean for a while or you want to give it a regular deep clean, here are the best ways to do that.

1.    Clean a stainless steel water bottle with baking soda

Baking soda is one of those super compounds that has multiple, beneficial uses. From it’s primary job in cooking and baking, to health use and household cleaning.

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate and bicarbonate of soda, has disinfectant properties, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, can neutralise acids and is good at removing odours and bad smells.

What do you need:

  • Teaspoon of baking soda
  • Warm water
  • Bottle brush (optional)

What to do:

  • Put a teaspoon of baking soda into your empty steel water bottle
  • Fill the rest up with warm water
  • Option 1: Scrub the inside of the bottle and lid with the bicarbonate mixture and leave to sit for a little while (at least 15 minutes) and rinse out
  • Option 2: Leave the mixture to sit in the bottle overnight. In the morning rinse your bottle out with water

2.    Clean a stainless steel bottle with white vinegar

White vinegar is also a very useful household item with multiple uses.

It’s non-toxic, mildly acidic, a good disinfectant and a fantastic cleaner of stainless steel and glass. It’s been used as a staple resource for hundreds, possible thousands of years, for sterilising wounds, fighting infections and cleaning sores.  

What do you need:

  • Two tablespoons of white vinegar
  • Warm water
  • Bottle brush (optional)

What to do:

  • Put two tablespoons of white vinegar into your empty stainless steel water bottle
  • Fill your bottle half way up with warm water and screw the cap back on
  • Option 1: Give it a good shake to make sure the vinegar is well distributed and comes into contact with all areas inside the bottle
  • Option 2: Use your soft bottle brush to give the inside of the bottle a good scrub, as well as the cap and drinking spout
  • Pour the vinegar and water mixture out and swill your bottle with fresh water
  • Leave to air dry on a drying rack

3.    Stainless steel cleaning tablets

Cleaning tablets are a very simple way to clean your steel water bottle.

The good thing is that you can get all natural, biodegradable cleaning tablets that will get rid of all grime and odours. The natural cleaning tablets are often made from a mixture of baking soda, citric acid, hydrogen peroxide and other ingredients.

They’re an effervescent tablet that will fizz away and fully dissolve in the water. The negative side is that they often come individually wrapped in plastic.

What do you need:

  • 1 cleaning tablet
  • Water

What to do:

  • Fill the bottle with warm water
  • Drop the cleaning tablet in the water
  • Let it stand for at 15-30 minutes
  • Put the lid on the bottle and give it a little shake
  • Empty the bottle, give it a rinse and let it air dry off

Can I put stainless steel in the dishwasher?

Another alternative to deep clean your stainless steel water bottle is to pop it in the dishwasher.

Generally speaking, stainless steel is dishwasher safe but it’s crucial to check that your bottle is dishwasher safe.

Dishwasher get seriously hot and this may damage the bamboo part of the lid (if yours has bamboo like mine) and the little silicone ring that prevents leaks. I personally wouldn’t put my stainless steel water bottle in the dishwasher, but that is me.

If you’ve checked it all out and are ok to use your stainless steel water bottle in the dishwasher, remove the lid and another other parts and put these in the dishwasher separately alongside your bottle.

I’m hoping you now know how often you should be cleaning your stainless steel water bottle as well as a few of the best ways to clean it and keep it in great condition.


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