5 Ways to Clean a Funky Water Bottle

Picture of 5 Ways to Clean a Funky Water Bottle
Here are 5 effective ways to get funky smells and odors out of your Klean Kanteen, or any other water bottle for that matter.

Klean Kanteen has a website that covers these methods - some of the suggested tactics work better than others.  Check out the following methods and learn which ones work best.

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Step 1: Take me to funky town

Picture of Take me to funky town
Funky water bottles can happen any time you put anything besides water into them.  The equation for the perfect funky water bottle storm is something like this (+/- a few variables):

juice and or coffee + hot car + time = FUNK 

In the image below we left this insulated Klean Kanteen in the car for a few days with tea in it.  When we opened it up there was mold everywhere growing on not only the tea bag, but the walls of the water bottle themselves.

Step 2: Wash with bottle brush

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We're specifically not going to cover simply washing the bottle - I'm pretty sure that everyone can figure that one out without an Instructable. 

First up - wash the bottle using a bottle brush with hot water and soap.

The bottle brush physically removes the funk from the water bottle with scrubbing action.

Step 3: Wash in dishwasher

Picture of Wash in dishwasher
Stainless steel water bottles are dishwasher safe.  Put the water bottle into the dishwasher for a full "hot" cycle.  The high temps and strong(er) dishwasher detergent may result in success.

If you've still got funk, read on.

Step 4: Overnight boiling water soak

Picture of Overnight boiling water soak
If the dishwasher didn't work, or say you don't even have a dishwasher (like me), pour boiling water into the bottle and let it sit overnight.  

At the end of the soak, add soap, wash vigorously and reassess.

Step 5: Baking soda and water soak

Picture of Baking soda and water soak
Another method that works really well is to add one or two heaping teaspoons of baking soda and warm water into the water bottle and let that soak for a few hours.  

After the soak wash vigorously with soap and water and reassess.
idydstie2 months ago

Another great method that got the coffee stains out of my steel thermos was to use an effervescent denture cleaning tablet. My wife uses them for her retainer, I figured something that can clean something that goes in your mouth must be pretty safe. The stains came right off too!!!

MK3COBRA6194 months ago
vinegar and water over night
parisusa7 months ago
I agree with henmar. A capful of bleach, fill the rest with soapy water. I let bottle sit for many hours. Always gets rid of mold, smells, science experiments that started growing in a forgotten bottle! Rinse well. Bleach is used in drinking wells around the worries about health dangers if used in small quantities and rinsed!
I had a bunch of "funky" water bottles... now I dont
legless1 year ago
I use a Milton solution which was commonly used here for soaking and sterilising babies' bottles. It is a chlorine base thing. Comes in liquid or tablet form. The tablets are also great for sterilising water for drinking (1 tablet for 32 litres)
I used bicarb of soda 10 ml and 1000ml water overnight and the following day a little vinegar in fresh water after the bicarb was removed. For hard stains gravel and dishwashing liquid with water shake it well and it should be as good as new
That's great i have a like..jug,bottle,cup thing thats like a contaner and i put like coce in it once and it smellys really wierd now
paliaspip1 year ago
Best i have found for even the most funky of funky containers.......Potassium permanganate, aka condys crystals. I'll tone down the talk, but, Its an oxidiser, the smelly compounds are all organic compounds (ie have carbon), so they don't get washed out, they get destroyed.
benduy1 year ago
yet i dont see the simplest method of all. Gravel. Works a treat especially when on the trail
wingman3581 year ago
Thermite would get rid of all that nasty funk for sure.
suayres1 year ago
Another technique, taught me by my chemist father, Is quite simple, and surprisingly effective for less serious smelly situations. Rinse the bottle, with the hottest water you can get from the tap, then with the coldest, back and forth from one to the other. Repeat this cycle, several times. He explained that the hot water releases the odorific compounds and the cold water absorbs them and carries them away. I use this any time I'm changing a bottle from one beverage to another, (say, coffee to juice), so I don't get carry-over flavors. I would NOT, however, use this when you have mold or other nastinesses to deal with!
Vinegar isn't a smart thing to to put into a metal can, its an acid. Acid + metal = salt, not good when you want metal to stay metal.
I've found that with clear water bottles (that arent UV-proof i suppose), I just stick them in the sunlight for a day or two, mind you, they get funky again pretty quick, but you get what you pay for.
Vinegar is fine for stainless steel. Nothing bad will happen overnight.
I wouldn't bet on it, the cheapy "stainless" bottles use 400 series stainless, not the much better 316 "food grade". 400 is considerably less corrosion resistant.
I've used vinegar many times in my $11 Meijer purchased stainless steel thermos and never had a problem.
This sub-chat started because not all stainlesses are as stainless and acid resistant as others. Even specific steels are resistant to one acid, but attacked by another. In my work, I sometimes work with nuclear quality "NAG" stainless - Nitric acid grade- a special that resists attack by nitric acid, for example.

Vinegar is not a strong acid and even 316 stainless will take the treatment. Have you had experience of problems with corrosion with stainless? Probably not.
Yes, frequently, especially in the presence of chlorides. I often use monel
What is "Monel"?
Highly corrosion resistant metal, its classed as a nickel alloy.
A trademarked alloy of metal.
Thanks for the link!
That's pretty interesting. From the Klean Kanteen website:

> Your Klean Kanteen is food-grade stainless steel, the same stuff they use in the dairy and food industry.

So the KK's should be fine. However, there are *tons* of similar looking knock offs, and I wouldn't bet on most of them using the nicer grades of metals.
i think you can wash it with vinegar followed by rinsing but not soaked for extended periods. even surgical instruments(ie surgical stainless steel) needs special cleaning methods, as it can pit and corrode.
please see:
happy2bmom1 year ago
Crumple up news paper inside, put the lid on overnight. Smell should be gone in the morning. This works for water bottles, containers, jars, etc. Cheap and very reliable! I have used this method for years!
If metal water bottle stinks, I would assume that there is more than stank in the bottle, and that it needs cleaned, not deodorized.

I'd only use this method when the bottle is plastic and see-through, so it's possible that the plastic is clean, but simply absorbed the stench.
Even after a good cleaning I have had glass and such still have an odor. Not usually alot, but enough for me to not like it, so I have used the newspaper. You most definitely need to clean your items before using the newspapers if you want your item to be odor free! :)
teeval1 year ago
Any tips for aluminium water bottles please? I'm pretty sure mine's aluminium as its very light
Aluminum leaves a nasty tast IMHO.
vanweb1 year ago
I use clear glass water bottles not only do you not get any metalic taste of coutings that may contain those dreded chemicals but you can actually see if it is dirty everytime you use it! These are my favourite: they are made out of the heavier glass like cooking dishes so even if you drop them on cement they usually do not break!
Must be thick like the old Coca-Cola glass bottles.

If you ever threw one at the cement trying to break it, the just rebounded straight back at your head nearly as fast as you threw it!

Nearly took my head off several times!

I never did get one to shatter.
Gelfling61 year ago
Another less obscure method... Denture Cleaning Tablets. This is what the Water Bottle makers are actually selling you, at a nearly 4-5X markup. I seem to remember SiiG being one of them.. They sold a box, about 4"-4" which only had 8 tablets in it. But for nearly $24.00!!! The mixture is a mild detergent, with an oxygen based bleach (Kinda like Oxy-Clean, but not as potent.) But, I was able to get a 36 tablet generic 3-minute Denture Cleaning tablet box for $4.59 at a big-box store, and same size box at a big-box pharmacy. The cleaning method for dentures still applies,, warm tap water, drop a single tablet for every 750ml, let stand 3 minutes, til the color disappears, then flush-rinse the bottle with cold water for 3 minutes. I was already aware of this method, when I went to a renaissance faire, and one of the items for sale, was drinking horns (hollowed-out long-horn horns, with a leather strap.) Since the horns are made roughly of the same calcium based material as teeth, it seemed naturaly to use the denture cleanser tablets to extract remaining solids left by drinks (spirits, soft drinks, sodas, etc.) from the porous horn sides. Works like a charm!
Good Tip! Though a good brushing might be called for also.
Use a solvent like ez-clean. You can get oxygen based solvents like ez-clean that don't have detergent in them as well. After using a solvent, rinse thoroughly, and then sanitize with bleach or iodine for a couple minutes.
ElZorro1 year ago
Stainless should be easy to clean.
You can assault a stainless bottle with all sorts of aggressive cleaning methods.
From acids to water and sand.
But I guess some people couldn't have figured this out on their own.
arty1 year ago
Vinegar and baking soda will react, neutralizing each other... and making lots of carbon dioxide froth. To remove funk from a plastic or metal water bottle, you might put fill it half full of water, add some clean sand, then swirl and shake. The sand will act as an abrasive. Use the sand as a last resort as it will leave scratches which make future cleaning harder.
Instead of sand, when I had a stainless steel large water canteen, I used some dry rice and salt and swirled it around too. It too can act as an abrasive but might scratch the metal a little less. This method is really good for getting off caked on gunk though after a good soap and water wash.
i use rock salt as the abrasive, along with the cleaning liquid (hot water, vinegar, oxyclean water, or... isopropyl alcohol!). i've never found it to scratch my metal, plastic, or glass.
fill halfway with liquid, add salt, shake vigorously - voila!
Hookas and pipe parts too, removes tobacco, etc stains great.
mickryobe1 year ago
If the "funk" you are talking about is mould, Chlorine bleach will do a fast thorough job of eliminating it. Put half a cup or so in the bottle and screw the lid on. Shake for a while. That will also clean the lid. Repeat if necessary.

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