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How to Clean 5-Gallon Water Bottles

Andrew Tennyson

Keeping your water bottles clean helps to ensure they don't become breeding grounds for bacteria. Whether your 5-gallon bottle is made of glass or plastic, following a few simple cleaning procedures helps to prevent your water from becoming inundated with bacteria and musty smells.

Wear rubber gloves when handling bleach.


Do not use hot water to rinse out plastic bottles as it may cause the plastic to leach carcinogens into your water. Store water bottles in a cool location away from direct sunlight to help prevent against the growth of mold and bateria.

Keeping up a proper cleaning regimen for your water bottles can also extend their lifespan, which will save you money.

  1. Fill the water bottle a quarter full with water and squirt in roughly 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap. Use an exterior faucet or transfer the water into the bottle using a pitcher or other vessel that fits under a kitchen tap.

  2. Fasten the lid onto the bottle and shake the mixture around, agitating it as much as you can.

  3. Remove the lid and scrub the inside of the bottle using a carboy washing brush. These brushes can be found at most home supply stores and work with both glass and plastic water bottles. This step is optional.

  4. Dump the soap and water down the drain and rinse out the bottle with warm water. Repeat the rinsing process until the water runs clear when you pour it down the drain.

  5. Fill the jug half full of clean water and pour in a half cup of household bleach. Screw the lid onto the bottle and shake up the mixture, making sure that the bleach and water solution comes into contact with the entire interior of the bottle.

  6. Let the bottle stand for at least 30 seconds and then dump out the solution and rinse the bottle with clean water.

  7. Leave the lid off and allow the bottle to completely air-dry.