How should I disinfect this water bottle?

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How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby Jorpho » Thu Oct 02, 2008 5:09 am UTC

It's time I stopped kidding myself. I either need to do something about my favorite water water bottle, or I need to stop using it.

It's made of a white, opaque flexible plastic, and the problem is that has turned bluish-green on the inside. I doubt it's something in the plastic, as I have two other bottles very much like it that are fine. The only other possibility is that it is something organic.

Of course, being a water bottle, it's rather hard to scrub the inside. I've tried using a little dilute bleach, but it had no effect. What else might do the trick?

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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby Falmarri » Thu Oct 02, 2008 6:47 am UTC

Boil water in it.

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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby niko7865 » Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:54 am UTC

Put a 'uv wand' in it for 30 minutes or so, hopefully it wont do anything weird to the plastic. There may not be any way to get rid of the color, but it shouldn't be too hard to kill everything.
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby Gelsamel » Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:56 am UTC

Your favourite water bottle is a plain white plastic one? What ever...

Anyway I don't think you're going to have much luck other than bleaching the color out, but bleaching the color out.. donno if that counts as disinfecting it (probably not). I had this white plastic GCN controller (it was really shit 3rd party one) and after a few days of use the tops of the sticks were stained skin color, it freaked me out.
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:11 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:but bleaching the color out.. donno if that counts as disinfecting it (probably not).

If you're actually using bleach to do it, it damn well is disinfecting it.
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby Xanthir » Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:24 pm UTC

Bleach kills everything except maybe some archaebacteria, and if you have an infestation of *them* you've got bigger problems.

The problem is getting enough of the bleach out afterwards.

Edit: Solution not involving bleach: High-proof alcohol. Fill the bottle, let it soak for a bit, drink. High alcohol concentrations should kill anything that's living in a water bottle.
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby seawolf167 » Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:16 pm UTC

Washing machine?
Hot-enough water for long enough (general rule as per camping is bring water to boil for 1 min before its safe to drink)
Bleach? (make sure to get it out as posted above)
Chlorine? (again... get it all out)
Carb & Choke cleaner? (naw... would melt the plastic lol)



Or you could toss it and get a new one?! (prob the easiest and safest way to go about this sry :( )
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby Jorpho » Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:18 pm UTC

...Could it be that the stuff is already dead, and the stuff is just a stain? In that case, how could the stain be removed?

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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:38 pm UTC

As long as you rinse it with hot water several times after bleaching it, wouldn't that be enough gotten out to be safe? I mean, chlorine's the main ingredient in that, right? Chlorine, like they use in city drinking water everywhere?
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby morvita » Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:47 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:As long as you rinse it with hot water several times after bleaching it, wouldn't that be enough gotten out to be safe? I mean, chlorine's the main ingredient in that, right? Chlorine, like they use in city drinking water everywhere?

It's not chlorine in bleach, but sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl), which is an entirely different chemical and dangerous for different reasons. But, as has been said before, it will disinfect things and can be fairly easily removed by rinsing with hot water a few times.
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby Omega_ » Thu Oct 02, 2008 4:56 pm UTC

The word "bleach" does not unambiguously specify the chemical sodium hypochlorite...there are other chemicals that are also bleach(es). Anyway, ambulances are disinfected using 1 part sodium hypochlorite to 10 parts water. Wiping a surface down with 1:10 sodium hypochlorite will kill most anything....but it won't necessarily remove stains from most anything. Try making a paste of baking soda. Put a tablespoon of baking soda into a glass, and add just enough water that it becomes pasty. Smear that on the discolored parts of your water bottle, scrub it with a brush, and let it sit for a bit. Then flush it with lots of water.

This should work because it sounds like your water bottle is either polypropylene (probably) or polyethylene (maybe). Both of these polymers are, in a molecular sense, like spaghetti. Colored stuff can become entangled in the spaghetti matrix and be trapped. The best way to remove the stain is to swell the matrix a bit, to allow release of the colored stuff, and scrub. Thus the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Soda won't disinfect very well though, so make sure you have it disinfected first (or last).

Also, do not mix bleach and soda. Make sure you flush the bottle with lots of water in between chemicals.

Isn't it easier to buy a new bottle of the same kind?

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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby rho » Thu Oct 02, 2008 5:06 pm UTC

Fill the bottle with brine, grab a power supply and some electrodes (12V rail from your PC and some pencil 'leads' should do). Electrolyse the solution to liberate the Chlorine (and some Oxygen).

There's no practical advantage I can think of to sterilising anything using this method, but it'll keep you busy for an afternoon.
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:39 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:Of course, being a water bottle, it's rather hard to scrub the inside.
Omega_ wrote:Smear that on the discolored parts of your water bottle, scrub it with a brush, and let it sit for a bit.

I see a flaw in your plan there, Omega...
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby Gelsamel » Fri Oct 03, 2008 2:25 am UTC

Bleach definitely looks like the way to go, I donno about Bleach but I know Boiling/Hot Water isn't necessarily good idea because sometimes bacteria that creates toxins within itself often break open and release it when you boil them.
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby Sungura » Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:40 pm UTC

I usually keep my water bottle clean by putting in the dishwasher. Then again, I have a green colored Nalgene bottle I got for free from their "Lab Pix" contest :) so I know the it can withstand a dishwasher.

I would suggest bleach, it's how I clean out my rabbit's water bottles when they get "growies" in them. 10% bleach solution should kill just about everything. (dilute in water) just rinse it really well a few times before using it again.
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby meat.paste » Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:45 pm UTC

Assuming the bottle is meant to be reused (if you have reused a single use bottle long enough to get stains in it... :? ), then disinfection with bleach or alcohol will absolutely work. You can also put it in the dishwasher, which will help with the staining as well. If the green stain is an algae mat of some kind, then you will have to scrub at it in some way to expose the lower layers of algae to the disinfectant. Perhaps some pebbles in the bottle along with the disinfectant followed by vigorous shaking? The simplest solution would be to switch to one of the two other similar bottles you own and throw the green one away.
Huh? What?

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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby oxoiron » Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:16 pm UTC

Screw bleach, especially since the OP said it didn't work. Hydrogen peroxide kills all (and it bleaches, too).
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby Mr. Beck » Sat Oct 04, 2008 3:13 am UTC

I advocate an autoclave.
Failing that, Thermite.
You wanted it disinfected, right?

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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby Jorpho » Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:07 am UTC

Thank you for all the responses.
Omega_ wrote:Try making a paste of baking soda. Put a tablespoon of baking soda into a glass, and add just enough water that it becomes pasty. Smear that on the discolored parts of your water bottle, scrub it with a brush, and let it sit for a bit. Then flush it with lots of water.
You inspired me: Toothpaste! That and my electric OralB 3D made fairly quick work of most of the curious blue stuff. Maybe I'll try some hydrogen peroxide to clean out the remainder.

I guess there's no way of knowing for sure what it was. Is algae growth common on the inside of old water bottles?

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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby Sungura » Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:53 pm UTC

I would recommend you now throw that toothbrush away... Image
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby Emu* » Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:27 pm UTC

And retire the bottle...

Is this the kind of bottle one might use on a bicycle? I only use transparent ones, and replace so that not one of them is over 36 months old. Also, don't put coke in, it's asking for trouble and isn't that good as a sports drink anyway.
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby OmegaLord » Sun Oct 05, 2008 10:00 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Jorpho wrote:Of course, being a water bottle, it's rather hard to scrub the inside.
Omega_ wrote:Smear that on the discolored parts of your water bottle, scrub it with a brush, and let it sit for a bit.

I see a flaw in your plan there, Omega...

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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby Poobar » Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:00 pm UTC

Go to a homebrew shop (or shop online, I guess) and buy some sterilising tablets (I use Young's) and a wine-bottle brush-should only cost a few quid. A few tablets, some hot water, and a scrub with the brush should do it- I regularly clean old wine-bottles/demijohns for homebrew this way and I've never had an infected batch yet.

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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby Ubik » Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:08 pm UTC

Poobar wrote:Go to a homebrew shop (or shop online, I guess) and buy some sterilising tablets (I use Young's) and a wine-bottle brush-should only cost a few quid. A few tablets, some hot water, and a scrub with the brush should do it- I regularly clean old wine-bottles/demijohns for homebrew this way and I've never had an infected batch yet.


I was just going to suggest the use of a bottle brush, but you beat me to it. I wonder how no one suggested using one before, is this one of those small cultural differences?

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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby Jorpho » Tue Oct 07, 2008 4:47 am UTC

amysrabbitranch wrote:I would recommend you now throw that toothbrush away... Image
Old toothbrushes are handy things to keep around for jobs like this; goodness knows those replacement brush heads are expensive enough. However, I am beginning to find that it is quite possible to have too many of them.

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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby evilbeanfiend » Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:28 am UTC

amysrabbitranch wrote:I would recommend you now throw that toothbrush away... Image


id would recommend you now throw the bottle away too
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby Hefty One » Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:41 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:As long as you rinse it with hot water several times after bleaching it, wouldn't that be enough gotten out to be safe? I mean, chlorine's the main ingredient in that, right? Chlorine, like they use in city drinking water everywhere?


Wouldn't the rinsing mean steam forms? Wouldn't the steam react in a way that released the chlorine from the compound and like....make you sick.

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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby jmorgan3 » Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:40 am UTC

Hefty One wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:As long as you rinse it with hot water several times after bleaching it, wouldn't that be enough gotten out to be safe? I mean, chlorine's the main ingredient in that, right? Chlorine, like they use in city drinking water everywhere?

Wouldn't the steam react in a way that released the chlorine from the compound and like....make you sick.

No. The chlorine won't be released unless it is hot enough to make the hypochlorite decompose. That would take a lot of heat.
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:42 am UTC

Also, aren't trace amounts of chlorine what you get in your nose when you smell bleach (or a swimming pool that uses chlorine)? If so, small amounts aren't going to make you sick. (Though I suppose it's possible the smell we associate with chlorine is actually from a compound that happens to contain it?)
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby ST47 » Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:51 am UTC

The "Pool smell" is mostly from chloramines - NR2Cl predominately, along with NRCl2 and other stuff...Obviously, anyone who's gotten too close to a bleach bottle knows that hypochlorite ions also smell pretty bad...but pools should rarely, if ever, contain any more than a trace amount of Cl2.

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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby Sungura » Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:17 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:
amysrabbitranch wrote:I would recommend you now throw that toothbrush away... Image
Old toothbrushes are handy things to keep around for jobs like this; goodness knows those replacement brush heads are expensive enough. However, I am beginning to find that it is quite possible to have too many of them.


Yes I keep some around myself, but I wouldn't want to use a dirty one I clean with for a water bottle.

As to the bottle brush, I had thought of it but I associate mine with cleaning out my rabbit's water bottles so I wasn't thinking about using it on a human bottle...something just doesn't settle right about that haha.
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby drunken » Wed Oct 08, 2008 4:35 pm UTC

I was surprised about how different my attitude is to everyone else here with regards to this sort of thing.

At first I assumed the OP wanted to remove the green stuff for health reasons, ie. thinking it might contain dangerous microbes. To this my answer would be don't bother. If you are the only one that drinks out of the bottle all the stuff in it will either be from your mouth or the water you drink. You have been drinking it for some time now and it doesn't seem to have made you sick. I was horrified at the idea of putting bleach into a water bottle. I have a rule, no bleach, disinfectant, or other strong cleaning chemicals are allowed anywhere near anythhing that I eat, eat off, or touch while eating. Most microbes give your immune sytem practice and a larger vocabulary of things it can deal with. On the other hand poisonous chemicals don't make your liver better at dealing with poisons.

Then I thought maybe it was for aesthetic reasons... but then why wouldn't yoou just get a new bottle?

My apologies if anything i have said here is totally stupid, I shouldn't really even be posting in science forums.

I guess it must be the first one, so:

tl:dr - Drink from it as it is.
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby Red Hal » Wed Oct 08, 2008 4:46 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
amysrabbitranch wrote:I would recommend you now throw that toothbrush away... Image
Old toothbrushes are handy things to keep around for jobs like this; goodness knows those replacement brush heads are expensive enough. However, I am beginning to find that it is quite possible to have too many of them.


Your total number of toothbrushes in a household, x should be within two of 2n+1, where n is the number of people in your household.

Thus, four people are allowed to have between seven and eleven toothbrushes.
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby oxoiron » Wed Oct 08, 2008 4:48 pm UTC

drunken wrote:I have a rule, no bleach, disinfectant, or other strong cleaning chemicals are allowed anywhere near anythhing that I eat, eat off, or touch while eating.
Does this mean you never eat anything you didn't grow/raise yourself?
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby Jorpho » Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:58 pm UTC

drunken wrote:At first I assumed the OP wanted to remove the green stuff for health reasons, ie. thinking it might contain dangerous microbes. To this my answer would be don't bother. If you are the only one that drinks out of the bottle all the stuff in it will either be from your mouth or the water you drink. You have been drinking it for some time now and it doesn't seem to have made you sick.
That's an interesting perspective. Are there cases in which this reasoning does not hold?

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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:51 pm UTC

That reasoning doesn't hold, like, *ever*, at least over long periods of time.

Sure, the bacteria may have come from your body, but then they multiplied without interference from your immune system to possibly dangerous levels. And chemical waste products from bacteria are still chemicals, many of which you don't want to ingest.

If it came from your water originally and not you, even more reason you don't want to ingest large quantities of it. Because what makes drinking water count as safe is low bacteria count, not zero bacteria count (pretty much impossible to achieve in practice). Letting it sit for a long time means those bacteria multiply again and can reach dangerous levels.

Also, bacteria in a water bottle could just as easily have come from the air or someone sneezing near the bottle. Or your hands, which have touched all manner of disgusting things.

Finally, even if you don't let it sit out for a long time, the fact that something came from your body doesn't make its microbial content healthy to eat. Else there'd be no health risk to eating your own shit.
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby drunken » Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:05 pm UTC

@
oxoiron wrote:
drunken wrote:I have a rule, no bleach, disinfectant, or other strong cleaning chemicals are allowed anywhere near anythhing that I eat, eat off, or touch while eating.
Does this mean you never eat anything you didn't grow/raise yourself?

of course it doesn't. It just means I complain about the chemicals in my food or pretend they aren't there. Depending on my mood.

Jorpho wrote:That's an interesting perspective. Are there cases in which this reasoning does not hold?


Of course there are, quite a few. It's kind of a case by case basis really.

gmalivuk wrote:That reasoning doesn't hold, like, *ever*, at least over long periods of time.


That's true (without the "like, *ever*,") but when the OP said it was his favourite water bottle I assumed this meant that at least a litre and hopefully 2-3 (hydration is good) of clean tap water (I also assumed he lived somewhere where the water was chlorinated and flouridated) pass through the bottle every single day. If these assumptions are true then there are really no health reasons for removing the green stuff unless it starts to grow very fast and/or flake off.

I just have a problem with excess cleanliness caused by fear, which is in turn mostly caused by cleaning product commercials.

edit (@ gmalivuk): I didn't say I don't mind, I said I assumed. Actually I do mind, but theres not much I can do about it at this point.

edit (@ Omega_): I will bet you and the whole field of microbiology a hundred bucks that there aren't than a gazilion E. coli cells in this guys drink bottle. Quit fearmongering.
Last edited by drunken on Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:03 pm UTC, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:25 pm UTC

drunken wrote:(I also assumed he lived somewhere where the water was chlorinated and flouridated)

Wait, so you don't like when chemicals are used to clean things you're going to drink out of, but it's okay if chemicals are added to the drinkable substance itself?

And if you're going to go on about the concentration being lower in treated tap water than in a bottle of bleach: yeah, I know. That's what the rinsing after disinfecting is for.
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby Omega_ » Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:36 pm UTC

drunken wrote:I was surprised about how different my attitude is to everyone else here with regards to this sort of thing.

At first I assumed the OP wanted to remove the green stuff for health reasons, ie. thinking it might contain dangerous microbes. To this my answer would be don't bother. If you are the only one that drinks out of the bottle all the stuff in it will either be from your mouth or the water you drink. You have been drinking it for some time now and it doesn't seem to have made you sick. I was horrified at the idea of putting bleach into a water bottle. I have a rule, no bleach, disinfectant, or other strong cleaning chemicals are allowed anywhere near anythhing that I eat, eat off, or touch while eating. Most microbes give your immune sytem practice and a larger vocabulary of things it can deal with. On the other hand poisonous chemicals don't make your liver better at dealing with poisons.

Then I thought maybe it was for aesthetic reasons... but then why wouldn't yoou just get a new bottle?

My apologies if anything i have said here is totally stupid, I shouldn't really even be posting in science forums.

I guess it must be the first one, so:

tl:dr - Drink from it as it is.



The entire field of microbiology exists to contradict this viewpoint. A single E.coli is probably not harmful on its own, but gagillions of them are a problem. The assumption "if it worked for cavemen, then it should work for us today" is a poor one, especially with respect to microorganisms, which are known to be significantly more virulent today.

I don't mean to come down like a load of bricks, it is a good thing to have many diverse viewpoints presented. In this case, a vast body of evidence is against your viewpoint, however :)

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gmalivuk
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Re: How should I disinfect this water bottle?

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Oct 09, 2008 1:59 am UTC

Omega_ wrote:The assumption "if it worked for cavemen, then it should work for us today" is a poor one, especially with respect to microorganisms, which are known to be significantly more virulent today.

Not to mention how eating raw meat and living in squalor also "worked" for the cavemen, so even without increased virulence, there's enough else that's changed since the stone age for us to have considerably different standards of "working" nowadays.
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