You may have heard about a recent study that has found that reusable water bottles have more bacteria than your toilet, in fact, the article says about 6,000 times more!
Having worked as a Chemical Engineer for 3 decades dealing with pharmaceutical rated operations, this study doesn’t surprise me. Anytime water is present, the potential for bacterial growth exists, and it can happen rapidly.
WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN?
When articles like this are written, depending on how the data is collected, it will be presented in the most eye-catching manner. I this case, the data is expressed in Colony Forming Units (CFU’s) and the numbers sound alarming. For example, their study shows that a reusable water bottle can have 20.8 Million CFU’s, whereas a toilet seat has an average of only 40K CFU’s. But what does this really mean? Does that mean that a water bottle has 6K times more of a chance to get you sick than if you licked a toilet seat?
That’s hard to say as we don’t normally go around licking toilet seats, however, the data is real, and the potential for harmful bacterial to grow and multiply over the course of only 36 – 48 hours should be taken seriously. Usually, the impact is minor, how many times have you just not felt right, had an upset stomach, or just basically feel “Off”. That may be due to this very issue if you are a frequent user of a reusable water bottle. However, in some cases, although the risk is smaller, severe illness can occur.
If your interested in the details of the study, and more technical information on the type of bacteria they found, you can read the study published by WaterFilterGuru.com Here
SHOULD YOU THROW AWAY YOUR REUSABLE WATER BOTTLES?
Absolutely NOT! Reusable water bottles are a wonderful thing, they save water and they are environmentally friendly. Plus, having a water bottle with you so you drink the proper amount of water has significant health benefits, and you just feel better when you are properly hydrated.
SO, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
There are a few things to do to prevent getting sick from reusable water bottles. The first and most obvious is to properly clean them DAILY! It’s a good practice to clean them after use and allow them to dry completely. However, without a doubt, they should be cleaned before filling them. It’s OK to re-fill them throughout the day while a work or on a trip, but at the end of that day, CLEAN THEM!
There are many recommendations on how to properly clean your water bottle. If your bottle is dishwasher safe, this is the best way to sanitize it. If it’s not, use dishwashing liquid and be sure to pay attention to the mouth of the bottle and around and under the lid or cap. Use hot water, as hot as you can make it, and dry thoroughly. You can also use bleach or vinegar as well.
The study also showed that re-usable bottles with a straw are less susceptible to bacteria growth, but you will need to make sure your straw is cleaned and dried also.
PROPERLY CLEAN YOUR REUSABLE WATER BOTTLES DAILY! YOU WILL FEEL BETTER!