5 Ways to Clean a Funky Water Bottle




Introduction: 5 Ways to Clean a Funky Water Bottle

About: I've worked for Instructables off and on since 2006 building and documenting just about everything I enjoy doing. I am now the Creative Programs founder and manager for Autodesk and just finished building o...

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.

Step 1: 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

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

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

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

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.

Step 6: Overnight Vinegar Soak

I found that this is the most effective method when dealing with a funky water bottle and perhaps the most simple. 

Fill the water bottle with regular white vinegar and let it soak overnight.

(make sure you've removed all of the baking soda first otherwise you'll have a mini 2nd grade DIY volcano on your  hands)

In the morning wash with soap and water.  The bottle will have a slight vinegar odor for the first few minutes, but that will quickly dissipate and the water bottle should smell fresh and clean.

I'm sure that there are other methods to clean a funky water bottle.  Leave comments with them and I'll test them out and upload them as additional steps to the Instructable in the future.

Good luck getting rid of the funk!



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251 Discussions

I fined that vinegar and baking soda is an excellent way to clean stainless steel, I use it on my sink all the time with great results . If you add a couple of teaspoons of soda and about a quarter of a cup of vinegar,
it will bubble up. After the bubbling subsides add some hot water, and that's will get reed of the funk. Follow with a good hot soap and water wash and your good to go.

another way is with 1tsp of peroxide and baking soda using a brush and/or scrubby not only cleans the stainless steel or aluminum but sanitizes the interior I use this in my coffee container all the time also if rinsed really good there is no smell or after taste

Too many ads. So many ads that you have to look around to figure out how to read the article. Also why have the article on multiple pages. I won't be back. Ever.

good ideas.

When you have kids like I do they tend to do dumb stuff like put hot chocolate in it milk in it or milk with orange juice and then not only is there funk there is stink that will not go away.

I use the overnight soak with vinegar and baking soda combined.

Then I put it in the dishwasher to sterilize it.

When my dishwasher broke and I could not sterilize it and feel good about the bottle being all clean and shiny I put it in the oven at 300°C for 15 minutes then I was all happy and it was all clean. Do this only with the stainless steel or aluminum bottles for the obvious reason that plastic will melt.

Good luck all.

Hello. This is something of a problem my wife and I have had over the years. It will work with refrigerators and freezers too.

Firstly, follow the advice given in the Instructable, then when the flask / fridge etc., is TOTALLY DRY, put a small handful of dry white rice into the flask. Or in the case of the fridge etc., an open topped container, this can then be sat in the door compartment or on a shelf. Close the flask / fridge etc., and when next you open it in 6 months to a years time it will smell nice inside. (Unless you can't stand the smell of dry rice)!

if u want to use denture tabs, they sell them in Dollar Tree for you guessed it, $1.

I have this problem with lemon and teabags. What I now do is rinse out and keep the stainless in the freezer. Then when I make tea, the cold makes it more quickly drinkable. Also do this with my coffee stainless cup. Don't put the caps in the dishwasher, they sometimes lose their seal integrity depending on the design.

5 replies

good thinking but not so for me, guess I have really good thermoses because my previous one lasted many years, like 8, doing this every day with morning coffee, and its still good but scratched so I have a new one for a year and its brand is Liquiseal and the cap is heavy duty, costs around $20 in Ross. I guess it depends on design, this one is really sturdy cap and heavyweight stainless. So not necessarily so, but be forewarned anyway!

Thanks for the good idea! I have one thermos/mug that I can't make tea into directly because it's too hot for hours. Into the freezer it goes! (I don't mind non-steaming tea. Better than a burnt mouth.)

I wouldn't keep a thermos in the freezer and then take it out and pour hot water into it, the metal will react to the different temperatures and warp as will the plastic lid and rubber seal. Just add some water after you pour hot liquid into half of the thermos to cool it down instead of pouring hot water to the brim. If you ever want to have it hot for a long time, then pour all hot water and when you get to your destination then uncap it and let the steam escape so it'll cool down gradually.

i have a large 24 oz tumbler so that makes it real cold but you might have to toss in an ice cube, that's what I used to do.

Thanks! Mine is about 16 ounces. I only need to tone it down a little to make it drinkable. I appreciate the tip, this will save me some time on days when I find myself in a hurry.

Seems like the article and the comments are focused on the BOTTLE - what has always bothered me are the nooks and crannies buried in the lid, if they are designed to sip thru some opening with moving parts. Taking the lid apart, and re-assembling it afterward are almost impossible. I have pretty much given up on this style, and just prefer to unscrew a solid lid. Anyone have any solutions to this problem?

7 replies

Reattaching the rubber seal gasket is tricky as you have to stretch it with a knife of some sort for immediate effect. If time wasn't important perhaps the cap can go into the freezer for some time and possibly shrink it a tiny bit and the rubber seal gasket should soak in hot water expanding it in hopes it'll slide right on in theory.lol

oh yea the straws any idea how to clean thos hard plastic straws?

I simply use a slightly narrower straw to remove any gunk, and then wash thoroughly. Several pipe cleaners twisted together are quite effective as well.

I clean our sports bottles with a dilute bleach solution. I usually bleach them in series by pouring the solution from one bottle to the next.

I clean the straws by placing them in the bottle that I am bleaching. I place them in one way, then turn them over to bleach the other end. I like the accordion shaped straws and the bleach does a lovely job on them. Eons ago, I got a small diameter, long length brush made jus for cleaning sports bottle straws. I have no idea if you could still get one.

I use Milton sterilising tablets to clean the lid. (The tablets you sterilise baby bottles with.)
First clean the bottle with hot soapy water, then put the lid back on and squirt the soapy water out through the spout to get rid of any obvious gunk.
Then soak the lid for 30 mins or so in a container of Milton solution.
Job done :)

I use the Kean Kanteen and it has that top that has the loop which happens to be hollow so I just put hot soapy water with a tbls. of bleach and screw it on and upend it so that the bleachy soapy water is inside the lid. I leave it for a bit then rinse the top well and scrub the bottle with a bottle brush.

I love all the different ways of cleaning it whether using chemicals like bleach/lye or chemical free ways like salt & lemon juice & crushed ice, vinegar and hot water soak, baking soda and warm water soak, sand and hot water, bottle brush & hot water & detergent,etc... I think for something really dirty and germy, I'd avoid using the brush since all the nasty stuff would stick on it and you'd have to clean it too afterwards. I've personally tried the vinegar and hot water soak in a tea/coffee stained thermos with the lid off overnight and the next day the inside was like brand new. Pouring sand with some type of liquid and shaking it till you break out into a sweat is another good solution especially for containers with a bottleneck when you don't have a wire/bottle brush handy.