How To Clean A Reusable Water Bottle Properly

Thursday, January 2nd, 2020

So, you have made the switch from plastic water bottles to a reusable one? Kudos to you! Reusable water bottle benefits include being both eco-friendly and BPA/BPS-free. These are just a couple of the most noticeable and impactful differences between them and their plastic counterparts. While making the switch to a reusable water bottle offers a host of benefits such as these, you do need to take the time to clean it. 

We love our reusable water bottles, and similar to our favorite workout outfit or bath towel, they need to be washed regularly. With daily use, dirt and bacteria build up, turning your sparkling stainless steel water bottle into, well, a trap for germs. But, there is good news, you can give your water bottle that sparkling clean feeling once again by giving it a proper wash! Here are the simple steps to take to clean a reusable water bottle the right way. 

Why Hand-Wash? 

Your reusable water bottle has high-tech and high-quality features that you want to keep in tip-top shape. S’well bottles feature triple-layered, vacuum-insulated construction, designed to keep beverages cold or hot, longer than all the rest. They are also made from 18/8, food-grade stainless steel with superior construction and have a copper wall layer that creates a condensation-free exterior. Plus, the bottles feature custom designs and colors that make your water bottle stand out from the crowd. These powerful features ensure you have the best experience with your bottle, but also means it deserves a little extra care when it comes to washing. So, instead of tossing your shiny new bottle in the dishwasher, follow these simple steps to hand wash it with care.

How To Clean A Reusable Water Bottle

Step 1: Get The Right Tools

As part of their sleek design, S’well bottles have a small opening at the top. This makes them perfect for drinking from, however, you can’t exactly fit your hand and/or a sponge into the bottles for cleaning. A bottle brush will come in handy when washing your bottle. This perfectly-sized tool will help you get to the bottom of your bottle with ease. It is especially helpful if you use the bottle for more than just water so you can wash away coffee, wine or whatever you filled it with previously and get it ready for its next use.

A cleaning brush is a great tool to ensure your bottle stays thoroughly clean. It can get to all the hard-to-reach places of your water bottle and comes with a removable head that can be easily pulled off from the top of the handle. Plus, it is made to fit in a variety of bottle sizes for easy cleaning for all of your S’well products, drink containers, barware and more.

In addition to a brush, all you need is dish soap and water. You can also use baking soda and vinegar. More on that later. 

Step 2: Wash 

To clean a reusable water bottle, begin by emptying it. You’ll need hot water, so next, turn on the faucet and let your tap water heat up as you rinse out any contents left in the bottle. Based on your supplies, you can proceed in one of two ways: 

If you have a bottle brush, add a bit of good-old-fashioned dish soap and get to washing. Use the brush to reach the deepest corners of the bottle, covering all sides as well the top and edges of the bottle with a solid layer of suds. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. 

If you do not have a bottle brush, you can soak the bottle. Fill it to the brim with hot soapy water and let sit for thirty minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.

In lieu of dish soap, you can also use a bit of baking soda. Simply add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda to the bottle, fill it with hot water, swirl, and let sit. After thirty minutes, rinse thoroughly with warm water. This solution is not only effective but also natural and can help you avoid a soapy aftertaste that sometimes occurs after washing a reusable bottle too. 

Step 3: Don’t Forget The Lid

It doesn’t do you a ton of good to solely clean your reusable water bottle if you forget to clean the cap. This is the part that comes into contact with your mouth and therefore should be cleaned the most thoroughly and often. Clean it using warm, soapy water and a sponge to get in all the crevices. Rinse well with warm water. 

The same goes for other accessories you use together with your reusable water bottle such as reusable straws and handles.

For reusable straws, first, take the straw pieces apart. S’well reusable stainless steel straws are made up of three components: a longer base piece, a curved silicone flexible neck piece, and a shorter end piece, and also come with a custom cleaning brush for easy cleaning. Start by wetting the cleaning brush with warm soapy water and then use it to clean the interior and exterior of each piece. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. 

To enhance your S’well experience further, check out these additional accessories

Step 4: Dry

After washing your reusable water bottle, dry it by airing it out upside down on a drying rack or mat. Make sure to dry all parts of your reusable water bottle—bottle, lids and reusable straws—separately. Once all the parts are dry, store them separately as well, storing the bottle with the lid off. This will help keep your bottle looking and smelling as fresh as possible.

How To Clean The Outside of The Bottle

Whether you want to wipe away sweat and dirt from normal use or have used chalk ink pens on your bottle, you can easily clean the outside of the bottle with a damp cloth or sponge and a bit of dish soap.

If you have applied stickers or a belly band to your bottle, and want to remove them, start by peeling them off. You can then remove any residue left behind from glue or adhesive with a bit of rubbing alcohol. Use a rubbing alcohol solution that is between 70-91% so as not to damage the paint on your bottle. Anything stronger than that may compromise the finish.

For A Deep Clean

It is a good idea to give your reusable water bottle a deep clean every so often. For a deep clean, add vinegar to the mix. Vinegar’s cleansing properties range from disinfecting to deodorizing. It helps loosen mineral deposits and dissolves soap scum. Plus, it is safe, natural, and affordable making it the perfect cleaning solution for your reusable water bottle and accessories. 

Simply fill your reusable water bottle a quarter of the way full with vinegar, and to the brim with hot water. Let it soak overnight. Rinse the bottle thoroughly with warm water in the morning and let dry. This method will rid your bottle of any strong tastes and smells in or on your reusable water bottle. 

Now your bottle is fresh, clean and ready to be used once again.


If your reusable water bottle is one of your most valuable possessions, going everywhere with you and keeping you hydrated and happy, it is smart to handle it with care and clean it consistently. With these safe and easy methods for cleaning, your water bottle will be ready to use and reuse over and over again. Plus, it will look just as good as the day you got it. Cheers!