10 Easy Ways to Clean All of Your Reusable Water Bottles

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how to clean water bottles various colors and styles of reusable water bottles on drying rack

Got dirty water bottles?

Everyone wonders how to clean water bottles the right way, and I’m sharing the easiest and most effective ways to do it! We’ve all struggled with bottles piling up and cleaning them seems like a hassle, so with these simple techniques, you’ll be swimming in crystal clear water in no time!


1. Sanitize & get rid of funk with a vinegar soak.

how to clean water bottles pink hydroflask water bottle next to bottle of white vinegar

If you didn’t know, white vinegar is capable of killing some bacteria and viruses. As a bonus, it even helps get rid of nasty smells. So if you’re due for a deep cleaning on your water bottle, soaking it with a vinegar solution is a safe and inexpensive way to sanitize it.

To do this, you should use about 1/4 cup of white vinegar and fill the rest of your bottle with water. Let it sit overnight, pour out in the morning and you’re ready for the next adventure! Unfortunately, this method is not a solution to killing COVID.

Hip Tip: Here are a bunch of other things vinegar can do around your home.


2. Or dump some boiling water in your water bottle.

hand holding a tea top pouring water

If you’ve ever accidentally left your almost empty protein shake sit for way too long, you know how much of a struggle it is to scrub out that shaker cup or reusable water bottle.

Make your life easier by boiling some water and pouring it straight into the cup. Add some Dawn dish soap for even more heavy-duty cleaning. Shake and let sit for 1-2 hours and pour it out. When you rinse the cup, the gunk should clean right out in no time. Plus that awful smell will diminish, too.


3. Baking soda will also work magic overnight in your water bottle.

arm & hammer baking soda with cup of baking soda

If you don’t have any vinegar on hand, baking soda and hot water will also do the trick! Just grab 2 heaping teaspoons and fill your water bottle with hot water. Give it a vigorous shake and let it sit overnight. Again, once you dump it in the morning, all that funky stuff should easily wash right out.

This is also a great and effective way to clean your water reservoir bladders. 🙌


4. Get rid of scuffs on your water bottles with a magic eraser.

how to clean water bottles before and after of white reusable water bottle next to mr clean magic eraser

With normal use, and oftentimes ending up on the bottom of the car floor, water bottles tend to withstand a lot of scuffs. By using a magic eraser, you can easily bring your water bottle back to new!


5. Get a brush actually designed for tall bottles.

hand holding a blue bottle brush cleaning various water bottles in stainless steel sink

A good brush makes all the difference! I’ve had this S’well bottle brush for a couple of years now and while I know it’s on the pricier side for a brush, it’s incredibly well made and functional for cleaning even our tallest water bottles.

It easily reaches to the bottom, the stick part is made of sturdy stainless, and best of all, it’s level on the bottom so it can stand on its own to dry. Well worth the money and even more functional than a baby bottle brush!


6. Throw water bottles in the dishwasher.

how to clean water bottles hand holding a white hydroflask water bottle over open dishwasher

While some of our favorite brands of water bottles like Thermoflask, Takeya, and Ozark Trail aren’t meant for the dishwasher, higher-end brands like Yeti and Hydro Flask actually are. In fact, I throw mine in the dishwasher about once a week to get a good, sanitary clean, and they all still look brand new! So no need to wash wisely if the brands can handle the heat. 😉

Hip Tip: Hop over here to see all the different brands of water bottles I reviewed and which one ended up being the best! Psst…the winner will shock you!


7. Use denture tablets to get rid of water bottle staining.

hand holding box of denture cleaning tablets in home

Denture tablets aren’t just for 95 and up. 😂 Surprisingly they’re also perfect for anyone who needs a good water bottle cleaning. Plus, they’re inexpensive so this is a fantastic way to get them clean and stain-free! Denture tablets are powerful little tablets that totally get rid of stains altogether!

In fact, I even tried it on my white coffee mugs, and low and behold they’re all stain-free too! 🙌 Just fill your reusable water bottle with warm (but not hot) water, drop a denture tablet or two, and leave it to sit for about an hour. When you’re ready to dump it out, the stains will wipe right off! Awesome!


8. And if those don’t work, turn to Bottle Bright.

hand holding a blue bottle bright tablet

Bottle Bright is an effective way to clean your water bottles and even gets rid of stains and odors too! Perfect for travel mugs, water bottles, or basically any hard to clean vessel, these little tablets are powerful stain-fighters! It’s even specifically made for bottles, is all natural, and biodegradable so you can feel good about using them…even if it’s every day of the week.

before and after of dirty water bottle

My Hip sidekick, Jen, swears by this product and it’s no wonder, because her before and afters of her stained water bottle is a total game-changer! Dirty bottles no more!

“I have shoved my hand down in that bottle and scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed and that stubborn stain was always still in there. I got Bottle Bright and all you do is throw a tablet in, let it fizz for 20 minutes, dump it out, and the thing is clean! No scrubbing at all – it’s completely amazing!” – Jen


9. Use a Q-Tip or straw brush for hard to reach places in your water bottle.

how to clean water bottles hand holding a qtip up to lid of blue nike reusable water bottle

If you like to use a straw with your protein shake or have a lid with hard to reach places, using a brush cleaner specifically made for straws or even a Q-tTip will do the trick! You can either use soap or any of the other cleaning methods I listed above to soak your straws and/or lids prior to cleaning.

As a tip, baby bottle brushes also come with a mini cleaner, perfect for straws and smaller, hard to reach places.


10. Now that your water bottles are clean, let them drip dry!

how to clean water bottles various types of reusable water bottles on top of drying rack

The day I broke down and purchased this drying rack, my life became so much simpler… with cleaning, anyway. 😂 It goes over-the-sink and folds up when you’re done – total game-changer! And it will easily fit all of your family’s water bottles at once. 👏

Hip Tip: See all the other ways you can use this drying rack (and why we love it!) over here.


Check out more home cleaning hacks!


Sara is a self-taught blogger and photographer with 5 years of experience having work featured in various building, travel, and fashion publications, most notably Bassett Furniture and Fossil.


Join The Discussion

Comments 26

  1. tipaye

    Thank you! Great tips 🙂

    • Sara

      You’re so welcome, tipaye!

  2. Jillian

    Its stated CLEARLY on hydroflasks site they are NOT to be put in the dishwasher or soaked in hot water. This is an excerpt from things not to do with a hydroflask. “Hand-wash your flask and cap with hot, soapy water. Rinse the flask as well as the cap and it’s ready for adventure. Put your flask through the dishwasher or soak the exterior in hot water: The dishwasher can get hot enough to affect the insulation property of the flask as well as discolor the powder coat. Similarly, soaking your entire flask in hot water can discolor the powder coat.”

    • Sara

      Hey Jillian! Thanks for your feedback. As stated directly on Hydroflask’s website, “We couldn’t think of a bottle more deserving of a refresh, so we’ve elevated the silhouette and simplified design without compromising one degree of performance. And our Color Last™ powder coat is dishwasher safe for even more convenience.” So it sounds like they’ve updated their products. Not sure if you’re using an old Hydroflask that maybe wasn’t considered dishwasher safe, but any current bottle is dishwasher safe. Hope that helps! 🙂

      • William

        Only hydro flasks manufactured in 2020 and on are considered dishwasher safe. You should include a disclaimer for this. People could ruin their bottles without knowing any better!

  3. JD827

    I have a whole collection of Bubba brand for my cold drinks. They go in the dishwasher daily. I highly recommend over the expensive stuff.

    • Sara

      Thanks for sharing, JD827. I’ve never heard of that brand – I’ll have to take a look!

  4. CasseSaves

    Thank you, I agree great tips.

    • Sara

      Glad you found them useful, CasseSaves!

  5. JanetVB

    Love your tips. Here’s another one. I keep a box of powdered Cascade to clean hard to reach items with narrow openings, or my coffee carafe. Works like a charm to remove coffee and tea stains.

    • Sara

      Thanks for sharing JanetVB! Sounds really similar to how the denture tablets work, too! 🙂

  6. Casey

    I only buy dishwasher safe bottles and ones with few parts so liquid doesn’t get trapped. If I can stick a cleaning brush or rag in them I am good.

    • Sara

      I agree, Casey! Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Ricinda

    I pull open my clean top dishwasher drawer and dry on the rack. The pegs hold the bottles from tipping over.

    • JD827

      Yes. When I hand wash the good China I use the dishwasher to let them drain.

  8. MargieL

    Are these tips good for Stainless Steel also? I have a small coffee carafe that is stained and would like to try one or more of these tips.

    • Sara

      The denture tablets will likely take off the staining, MargieL! Let us know how it works out for you!

  9. SuzyHomemakerGoneBad

    I could have sworn that the Thermoflask bottles I got from Costco specifically said that they were dishwasher safe! I check the labels every single time I buy a new kitchen item, because I hate hand washing dishes THAT much 😛. Now I’m going to recheck!

    • Sara

      I would not recommend putting the Thermoflask in the dishwasher, SuzyHomemakerGoneBad. I own one and it’s lots quite a bit of paint on the bottom and I think it’s due to me putting it in the dishwasher. 🙁

  10. sfc_abby

    Thank you for the tips. We do not own a dishwasher and these ideas are great! Thank you for all you do!

    • Sara

      So glad these are helpful to you, sfc_abby!

  11. Toni

    I use baking soda and then put vinegar in my Contigo caps. It bubbles up and gets into all the crevices. I also have a brush that’s I use afterwards. I bought a set of several different brushes at Home Goods. You can also do this in a stinky drain.

    • Sara

      Great idea, Toni! Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. Jlambers

    Any tips on getting lids clean? I have a few cups that have clear lids with a spot for a straw and a spot for sipping. You turn the top a little to get to each opening. Water gets trapped in there and I can’t get it out!

    • Sara

      I always find that soaking it in the vinegar solution, air drying, and maybe finishing up with a dry Qtip to get any excess gets lids the most clean. Hope that helps, Jlambers!

  13. Monica

    I tried everything listed above on my hydroflask coffee cup to get the stains out. finally found a site that recommended putting a DISHWASHER POD in the cup with boiling water. worked like a charm! No Scrubbing needed 🙂

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