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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

Picture of 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.
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Another good thing, that you have to get at a place like REI or off of the Camelback website, are the tables used to clean the water container in their backpacks. They are harder to find at a regular sporting goods place, about half the time they actually are not in stock. No taste left behind and totally safe (you can dump them in the forest if you wanted to because they are biodegradable and not harmful to the environment) and, if you really wanted to, you could eat the thing.
Also good is detergent made to wash baby bottles. Another thing you have to search out a bit, Toys-R-Us is the best place I have found, but it is made to leave no residue (just a small amount of dish liquid could poison a baby) and is also antibacterial and antimicrobial. The antimicrobial part is most important, don't want a parasite or anything.
Mitternacht14 days ago

Agree w/ cooper-Burke but also like the vinegar solution. Thanks!

I'm pretty forgetful, and can't carry much, anyway - so things get left in the car, often. I use denture cleaner tablets. Fill the bottle with hot tap water, drop in a couple of denture tabs, and let it sit over night. In the morning, Voila'! clean and fresh - just rinse well, fill and go.

paliaspip2 months ago
animal produce stores have it as it is also used to worm chickens, you can buy small amounts from a chemist/pharmacist which they often have stocked as (condies crystals). You don't need to add much, just enough to get it from a beyond a pink solution to a nice purple colour.
paliaspip2 years 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.
ooohlaa paliaspip12 months ago

where would one purchase PP crystals?

paliaspip ooohlaa12 months ago

Good question.. A couple a different places, 1) You can buy it at a Chemist (pharmacist), generally only a very small amount for $10-$20. or 2) you can buy it at animal produce stores, where you buy feed for chickens or spray for cows. It is used in cook water as a de-wormer. It is also known as condies crystals.

Jill805 paliaspip2 months ago

On the Potassium Permanganate, the smell in my 5 gal water cooler is disgusting! How much of the PP should I use? Thank you.

Dishwasher detergent works great. Not in the dishwasher.

I know this Instructable is created a little over two years ago, but I'd like to add that not all insulated (aka double walled, vacuum sealed) stainless steel bottles can be washed in the dishwasher. You should check your specific bottle if this would void the warranty and could possibly warp the bottle. Also with cheaper models you could shorten the life and quality of the paint if you have a painted model. Same goes for the lid, not all dishwasher safe bottles have a dishwasher safe lid!

Furthermore I'm definitely saving this Instructable for future funky bottle reference!

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.
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"?
A trademarked alloy of metal. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monel

Just to be on the safe side, I usually buy my water bottles out of Hastelloy X.

Thanks for the link!
Highly corrosion resistant metal, its classed as a nickel alloy.
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.

Steve
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:
http://www.georgetiemann.com/pdfs/GeorgeTiemannInstrumentCare.pdf
howdi12 months ago

ESSENCE OF GRAPEFRUIT SEEDS IS A BIOLOGICAL EATER OF BACTERIA AND IS A NATURAL PRODUCT EATING A NATURAL PEST IN YOUR WATER BOTTLE. NO NASTY CHEMICALS INVOLVED. A MINUTE QUANTITY DISSOLVED IN WATER LEFT TO SOAK FOR A FEW HOURS CLEANS UP THE BOTTLE BUT WILL NEED A GOOD RINSE OUT AS THE GRAPEFRUIT TASTE LINGERS !

Kasm279 howdi11 months ago

Ow, my ears

PatJones12 months ago
Not familiar with that brand. I use Hydroflask. No problem with those except the inside of the top is hard to clean. I periodically replace the top.
Esque12 months ago

I've used denture tablets and baking soda before and they work well, but if I need something a bit abrasive I drop a handful of dry rice in the bottle with some soapy water, give it a good shake, rinse and repeat. On another issue, most aluminium water bottles (I have a couple of cheap ones myself) are lined with a kind of plastic liner. Adding anything acidic like fruit juice for any length of time can start to break down this lining causing the bottle to start to corrode.

PatJones Esque12 months ago

I use denture tablets as well. Store brand are much cheaper than the branded water bottle/reservoir cleaning tablets. Fill all the way to the top with warm/hot water. Screw on the cap with the mouth piece open. As the tablet effervesces it will bubble out the mouth piece and clean that as well. Also, I don't use plastic bottles, only metal.

Esque PatJones12 months ago

I must admit, I've always used metal bottles in the past, but recently I've been switching over to Nalgene bottles as I've been finding that the stoppers on metal bottles have been increasingly prone to leaking. For instance I recently bought a couple of new Snugpak bottles and had to send one back due to the stopper jumping it's thread each time you tried to tighten it up. The replacement sent had the exact same fault. I'd have been less disappointed if they were cheap bottles, but they weren't that much cheaper than the Nalgene bottles.

star folder2 years ago
If you warm up the vinegar first in the microwave and then add to the container to be cleaned, it works better. Chemical reactions work better when the temperature is higher. Something to do with Charles and Boyles Laws if I remember high school chemistry from 50+ years ago.

It is not Charles, neither Boyle's laws... it is called the "10 C rule", and it tells that for every ten Celsius degrees in temperature raise, the speed of most chemical reactions is roughly doubled. And it hold true in most cases, even with organic reactions like those catalyzed by enzimes! Amclaussen.

ooohlaa12 months ago

I use water from the Glacier machines for .30 a gallon here in FL. I use old glass water or wine bottles and keep them out of the sun because algae will grow. I have been doing this for several years and have only twice gotten algae funk caused by leaving too long in the light. My concern is how clean is Glacier water machine process, does anyone know? I know this is tangential question so OK if you don't reply, just been trying to find this out for a while now.

matthewrblack12 months ago

Children's bottle cleaner and boiling water, leave for a few minutes and the scum floats to the surface. Household bleach and boiling water also works but only a drip of bleach.

Chuck Stephens12 months ago

I drink iced tea all day from metal water bottles. Even with rinsing between refills and brushing with a bottle brush they end up a little smelly and stained. I take all of my bottles once a month and fill them with 50-50 white vinegar and water. I place them in a large stock pot, fill it with water about half way up the outside of the bottles and bring it to a gentle boil for about five minutes. Let them cool and rinse them out well and all the stain and smell is gone. If you boil them too long it may loosen paint or finishes on the outside of your bottle so do it at your own risk.

I agree on the denture cleaner. Sometimes you can get a little bottle of crystals for less than an equivalent of tablets.

saultstemarie12 months ago

Long, long ago, I worked at a Wendy's in the Catskills. The one useful thing I left that place with (besides the funky hat!) was how they cleaned glass coffee pots: throw ice, salt, and a chopped up lemon in the pot, swirl 'til partly-melted, then rinse. Abrasives and acid = awesome! And no one ever complained about soapy or vinegary coffee. Not even salty lemon coffee!

bluumax12 months ago

If I don't have a bottle brush I use a hand full of pebbles with hot soapy water as a scrubber.

I use warm water & bleach like some other a couple other people said too. It's the safest way and will remove odor too.

Its da smoke12 months ago

The denture claning tablets do a great job,it's a trick I learned fom a truck stop waitress over 20 years ago and I've used it on my (same bottle I still use) StanleyThermos ever since.

AS far as stainless steel rusting the 400 series stainless will rust much qoicker than 300 series due to the 400 having much less nickel in it.

White vinegar will remove water spots from stainless..............

aarenz12 months ago

If you do not have vinegar, some real lemon, or other citrus juice will rip out most of the stuff stuck on the sides. Another thing I have used is CLR (or dip-it coffee pot cleaner) since the lime deposits from use give the funk a good place to hide.

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