Your water bottle could contain more germs than your kitchen sink

In a world where hygiene is paramount, the thought of reusing a drinking cup daily without washing it might seem off-putting. But consider this: How often do you thoroughly clean your trusty water bottle? Experts recommend scrubbing it with soap and water every day, ideally after each use. Neglecting this could lead to illness.

Lauren Garkow, a medical student from Los Angeles, discovered that her dirty water bottle was causing her throat problems.

“I noticed a film inside the bottle, so I used a paper towel to scrub it and found mold,” said Garkow, 24. “I made sure to clean all the way to the bottom, and the entire bottom was covered in a moldy film.”

Once she cleaned her bottle thoroughly, her throat issues resolved.

“The biggest misconception about reusable water bottles is that they’re safer than they are,” said Marianne Sumego, MD, an internal medicine specialist at Cleveland Clinic. “People think they can’t get sick from them and forget that they’re just like any other drinking source.”

According to a report from Cleveland Clinic, reusable water bottles are breeding grounds for bacteria and mold because these germs thrive in moist environments.

“The amount of bacteria that can collect on your water bottle is often more than what you’d find in your kitchen sink or other surfaces we usually recognize as dirty,” Sumego explained. Simply rinsing your bottle with water isn’t enough. You need to scrub all the nooks and crannies with soap and water and remember to clean removable parts as well.

If you experience food poisoning or flu-like symptoms such as sniffles or congestion and can’t determine the cause, your reusable water bottle might be to blame. The absence of visible mold doesn’t mean your bottle is germ-free. Bacteria are often invisible, so maintaining a diligent cleaning routine is crucial.

Here are some additional tips: Have more than one water bottle. In our “grab-and-go” culture, finding time to clean your bottle can be challenging. Having multiple bottles can save you time, advised Sumego. When choosing a water bottle, stainless steel and glass are the most hygienic options as they don’t promote as much bacterial adhesion. If you are sensitive to mold, stainless steel is often higher quality and less prone to bacteria and mold buildup. Lastly, using your dishwasher is a convenient and effective way to keep your water bottle clean.

Source: WebMD