How to Refill Water Bottles

Written by gigi starr
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Refilling a water bottle could be a hydrating and money-saving step or a dirty, unsavory mistake. According to scientific tests conducted by the University of Texas Health Center, there are high amounts of bacteria and dirt on these plastic bottles after use that render them unsafe. However, there may be ways to mitigate or reduce risk before refilling a water bottle if you remember some handy tips.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Permanent, reusable water bottle
  • Dish soap
  • Bleach
  • Water-filtration system

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  1. 1

    Avoid refilling the run-of-the-mill plastic water bottles from vending machines and convenience stores. "We actually cultured around the neck and just on the inside, the part that would go in your mouth," said Dr. Richard Wallace of the University of Texas Health Science Center. All of those grew lots and lots of bacteria that could make you very sick--almost like having food poisoning." Remember, the water inside of those bottles, and the bottle itself, are not sealed and sterile, which leaves you open to disease.

  2. 2

    Purchase a permanent water bottle that's machine-washable and has a removable lid. The bottle must have a wide mouth and neck to allow in soap and water. If your permanent bottle isn't dishwasher-safe, wash the mouthpiece with bleach and hot water to completely kill bacteria.

  3. 3

    Fill your bottle with purified, filtered water only, not tap water. Water from a filter still isn't perfectly sterile, but it may contain less in the way of environmental pollutants. Another option is to refill from a water cooler.

  4. 4

    Treat your water bottle like you would a home drinking glass. In other words, cleanse it after each daily use and pour out all old liquids to reduce bacterial accumulation. It's best to let a bottle air-dry on the dish rack rather than hold stale water.

Tips and warnings

  • Give your bottle a thorough cleansing after a cold, flu or other viral infection. It's also best to give the bottle a bleach bath after a cold-sore breakout.

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