The office water cooler may be a social gathering place but its primary function is to dispense drinking water used to make various drinks and keep workers hydrated. If the water cooler isn't properly maintained, it could attract bacteria that can cause illnesses among company employees. There are important steps to follow on cleaning the water tank prior to refilling it.
Buy a reusable water bottle with a wide mouth to make it easier to clean inside the lid. In the book "You Can Prevent Global Warming (and Save Money!): 51 Easy Ways," Jeffrey Langholz and Kelly Turner inform readers to "make sure you get one with an Energy Star label." According to the authors, Energy Star water coolers use 60 per cent less energy by going into standby mode when it's not being used.
Sterilise the bottle with environmentally safe cleaning solution that can be purchased at some health food stores and specialised "green" retail stores. Only sterilise it with bleach if there are a few days in between cleaning and refilling the bottle with water. Wash the bottle again to rinse out the bleach before filling it with drinking water.
Clean the water bottle in a dishwasher or by hand with organic cleaning solution. In the book "Technology of Bottled Water,'' Dorothy A. G. Senior writes, "The very hot, caustic wash solutions that were used with glass bottles proved detrimental to the polycarbonate material and new, non-caustic, low-temperature wash solutions were developed."
Fill your water jug at an organic grocery store, if possible, because those stores are more likely to have filtered or distilled water.
Remove the old bottle and attempt to recycle it through a local recycling company.
Clean the mouth of the water cooler dispenser. Wipe it with a dry cloth, spray an environmentally safe cleaning solution on it and wipe it again.
Remove the cap of your new bottle.
Carefully lift the full, reusable water bottle, tilting the bottle toward the mouth of the water cooler. Move as close to the water cooler as you can.
Turn the bottle over into the mouth of the water cooler as quickly as possible to minimise spills.
Drain the bottle every two days. Don't let water sit over night. A University of Texas health study cites that water can be contaminated with pollutants if it sits in an office over night.
- Technology of Bottled Water; Dorothy A. G. Senior, Nicholas Dege; 2005
- You Can Prevent Global Warming (and Save Money!): 51 Easy Ways; Jeffrey Langholz, Kelly Turner; 2008