Refilling and reusing plastic water bottles may aid the environment, but it may also damage your health if bacteria grows unchecked inside the bottle. Thorough washing can make the bottle safe for repeated use.
Bacteria from saliva or food particles can grow inside a water bottle in a matter of hours. Bacteria can also come from hands opening or holding the bottle. Shared bottles can also spread disease germs.
Washing a water bottle thoroughly every day can keep germs from mixing with refills of beverages. Proper cleaning includes scrubbing the neck and cap with a brush, using hot water and soap.
Water Bottles and Dishwashers
The University of Minnesota cautions against using the dishwasher to clean this type of water bottle because the narrowness of the bottle's neck prevents water from washing the inside of the bottle properly.
Washing hands before opening a water bottle can reduce the risk of transferring bacteria to the bottle or cap.
According to the New Zealand Food Safety Authority, some plastics can eventually leach a dangerous substance called DEHA into beverages, but the plastic in most water bottles does not include DEHA.
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