Bacteria in Water Bottles

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PROVO — We use water bottles everyday. Whether they be disposable, reusable, canteens, or camelbacks. It’s a way to stay hydrated and, in the case of reusable water bottles, they can help the environment. With this in mind, reusable water bottles like Hydroflask have exploded in popularity.

“I’ve had this water bottle for a year and one month,” said Paige Cero, a student at Brigham Young University.

But not everyone is taking the necessary precautions. “I wash my water bottle about once a month.” Paige Cero said, which is better than many students who said they wash theirs every three months or have never washed theirs before. A dark, warm, moist container like a water bottle is a perfect medium for growing bacteria.

But Professor David Erickson who studies bacterial diseases says you may not need to worry. “The risk of infection from a reusable water bottle is not any greater than any of those other sources,” said Erickson as he discussed other sources of water.

So you’re safe…unless you put anything besides water in your bottle.

“If there is other organic stuff in there…sugars and proteins…then they could grow,” said Erickson. So anything with sugar such as Gatorade, Crystal Light powder, juice, or maybe some hot cocoa can cause bacteria to grow. And of course there is the other organic material like protein powder– looking at you, Vasa.

So while many people do wash their water bottle, almost none wash them as often as they should. “By washing even once a week, that would be a step up for a lot of students,” said Professor Erickson.

So, have a great day and enjoy your next sip.

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