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We get through plenty of products here at Robode, from tech and electronics to tools and furniture, and so much more besides. However, I?d like to think that the rest of the team and I go to great lengths to be as environmentally friendly as we can. You might share that opinion, or you might plan to make a few subtle changes in the right direction.
Replacing store-bought water bottles with a single, reusable alternative, is just the kind of simple change that can make all the difference. According to Water UK, the average person in the UK uses 150 water bottles each year. That?s 7.7 billion bottles each year in one relatively small country. I won?t proclaim to be Captain Planet (dated reference of the day) but you don?t have to be a member of Greenpeace to know that?s a lot of plastic.
Reusable Water Bottles are a Great Financial Idea
While not everyone uses 150 water bottles each year, the nature of averages means that some people use even more than that. If you?re one of them, or you sit anywhere near the standard, then the switch makes sense ? and not just for the environment.
The FAQ at Tapwater.org refers to a Thames Water calculation. We?re an international site, but I?m one of the British contributors, so we?ll go with UK data once more. According to London?s primary tapwater provider, a litre of their tap water costs the end-user around 0.097p. I?m fond of Smart Water when I?m not using a reusable bottle. It is excellent value at 60p for a 600ml bottle compared to most competitors, although it doesn?t necessarily taste that much better than regular or filtered tap water. If we do some quick maths, that works out at ?1 per litre, or almost exactly 100 times more expensive than tap water.
So, let?s say you?re average and you buy 150 bottles of Smart Water every year. That?s ?90 or around $115. The price for the same amount of water straight from the tap? ?1.50 or just under $2. Even if you go with one of the pricier but highly regarded reusable water bottles like the Hydro Flask, you?ll come out far enough ahead to pay most of your Netflix subscription for a year. Without labouring the point, that?s 150 fewer bottles in landfill or recycling centres.
Why You Should Clean a Water Bottle
You might be wondering why you would need to clean a water bottle. They only ever contain water, after all. Given what you?d probably clean it with, it may feel like a waste of time.
However, I cannot understate the importance of cleaning and sanitising your reusable water bottle at the end of each day. It?s not the water you drink that makes it dirty, but the bacteria that thrives in cold, moist environments. For the record, water alone may not be enough to keep the bottle clean anyway, hence the point of this article.
A dirty water bottle won?t kill you, but it can make you pretty uncomfortable. The bacteria you?ll likely attract is the bad kind and can lead to vomiting, nausea, and diarrhoea. You might even hit the jackpot with all three in a good old case of food poisoning.
Where to Focus When You Clean a Water Bottle
You don?t only wipe part of a plate when you wash up, so you shouldn?t just focus on part of the water bottle either. The chances are your bottle comes with a cap, so that needs cleaning thoroughly. If you?ve got a straw in it too then, you should pay particular attention during the cleaning process. The straw is the part that spends the most time in contact with your mouth, and whether you like it or not, that?s where much of the potential bacteria will come from.
How to Clean a Water Bottle Thoroughly
I feel I?ve done my part for the planet for one day in this feature, and I?ve been into why you should keep a reusable water bottle clean. Now, it?s time to move on to the part of the feature you?re here for ? how to keep the bottle in tip-top condition.
Use the Dishwasher
Full disclosure here; I don?t have a dishwasher. You might, however, and if your water bottle of choice is dishwasher safe, then this ranks among the best ways to thoroughly clean your bottle. I?m confident in my traditional washing up skills, but I struggle with straws and I?d say the dishwasher has the edge.
Place all your bottles components in the top rack when cleaning time comes and use high water temperature. Your dishwasher probably dries too unless you bought it when MC Hammer rules the charts, but you should ensure that each part is completely dry before you use it. Leftover moisture can make for a hint of soap in the taste, and also encourages bacteria to return and get to work.
Regular Washing Up
There?s not much I?d prefer to clean in a dishwasher than the sink, but water bottles are right up there. However, let?s not pretend that you must be a dishwasher owner as a prerequisite to becoming a reusable water bottle owner.
Ensure the water is hot and that you?re thorough with your clean. Unlike plates and cutlery, you don?t want to leave your bottle to dry naturally on the rack. Once cleaned off, grab a paper towel or a cloth you?re sure is clean and dry off all parts of your bottle immediately.
The Deep Clean
If you?ve used your bottle on any given day, ensure you clean it that same day. I?d also advise a deeper clean with less regularity ? potentially once a week.
There are two main options to clean a water bottle deeply and you won?t need anything more than what you?ll likely find in the kitchen already.
The Vinegar Method
If you?ve read other cleaning articles here on Robode, such as our feature on how to clean a microwave, you?ll know that there?s more potential in a bottle of vinegar than drowning your chips. White vinegar is a potential star of the show here as it will kill bacteria and aid drying.
Go half and half on white vinegar and water in your bottle. Shake it up to give the solution a chance to get into all the nooks and crannies in the bottle, then leave it overnight with the lid in place. Remember to rinse it out before you fill up with water and under no circumstances should you absent-mindedly reach for the bottle first thing. I like vinegar, but I don?t fancy drinking it for breakfast, even at half strength.
The Water Tablet Method
If you?re the kind of person that tends to go with pills rather than liquids, then you can achieve the same sterile results with your choice of water tablets or denture cleaning tablets.
This method is superior if time is of the essence. While I recommend leaving your vinegar formula overnight, you need to use tablets and water as directed on the packaging and leave the solution for half an hour. Rinse out the bottle when 30 minutes have passed, and you?ve got a clean, bacteria-free bottle ready to go.
It?s late on Christmas Eve as I write this, and I?ve decided to make higher water intake an integral part of my New Year?s resolutions. To help me stay on track, I?ve decided to write more on relevant, water-related topics here at Robode. It won?t be all I write about but stay tuned if you fancy becoming more hydrated in 2020! You can have the latest from myself and the rest of the team delivered directly to you by joining our mailing list. I?d also love to hear tales and tips on staying hydrated in the comments below.
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