How to Clean a Camelbak Water Bottle: A Step-By-Step Guide

Clean a Camelbak Water Bottle

Camelbak is one of the well-established manufacturers and brands of water bottles. And I can’t argue with that since they have been producing high-quality products for quite some time now.

I have written and reviewed their products in the past, and they really seem to deliver what they promise every time.

But that is not all.

With the growing popularity of reusable water bottles, more and more people are starting to see the benefits – both to their health and the environment.

Although a reusable water bottle can do a lot for your health – and even for your wallet – we need to make sure we keep the bottles clean and well sanitized.

With the disposable bottles, you don’t need to worry about bacteria, mold, and the various microorganisms that can grow in the more obscure parts of the bottle. But that doesn’t offset the fact that while saving us from various pathogens, they quite literally poison us with harmful chemicals.

The reusable water bottles, on the other hand, will not poison you. A good start, I admit. But if we don’t clean them properly, we may end up exposing ourselves to some unpleasant bacteria and mold.

gray camelbak insulated water bottle

And this is what we will focus on here – how to clean our CamelBak water bottle.

First things first.

Before I introduce you to the fun world of water bottle cleaning, I need to make a few notes on CamelBak water bottles.

CamelBak has been producing primarily plastic and stainless steel water bottles. Since each material has its own peculiarities – cleaning-wise, I will be separating them in two different categories by material

Additionally, I will walk you through the crucial details of how to clean the detachable parts of a water bottle like the lid, straw, and everything else that comes with your bottle.

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How to Clean Plastic CamelBak Water Bottles?

The picture above is one of the most popular plastic Camelbak on Amazon, Click the picture or this link to check the latest price and the details

The majority of the CamelBak water bottles are actually plastic. There are stainless-steel models, and we will get to them in a bit. However, plastic bottles are hands down the most widely used ones.

The Eddy+ and the Chute seem to be the most popular models, but there are others too.

The plastic CamelBak uses for its bottles is not a bad one. It is highly durable and chemical-free, all good things in my book.

So let us explore the different cleaning methods you can use.

Method 1

The first method I will suggest to you is probably the easiest way to clean a CamelBak water bottle.

dishwasher to clean the water bottles

The great thing about many of the bottles is that according to the manufacturer, they are dishwasher-safe. However, make sure that your bottle is labeled as dishwasher-safe before continuing.

  1. Remove the lid from the bottle and place it in the dishwasher’s top rack in the upside-down position;
  2. Proceed and add the needed amount of dishwasher detergent;
  3. Close the dishwasher;
  4. Run the regular washing cycle; and
  5. When ready, take the bottle out and leave it to air dry.

Method 2

Although a dishwasher is going to make life so easy, not all of us may have access to a dishwasher.

soap and warm water to clean the dishes

The alternative then is to use some warm water and soap.

  1. Fill the bottle with warm water;
  2. Add a few drops of the liquid dish soap;
  3. Put the lid back on and close it tightly;
  4. Give it a firm shake for at least 10 to 15 seconds; and
  5. Rinse the bottle a couple of times and leave it open to dry.

Additionally, depending on the mouth of the bottle, you can use either a sponge or a bottle cleaning brush.

If the bottle has a wide mouth opening, you may be able to reach the bottom with a sponge, however, if you cannot use a bottle cleaning brush.

Adding this extra step to the whole cleaning process is necessary, especially when you are using your bottle for storing other liquids than water.

Method 3

The old and time-tested method for cleaning a water bottle with soapy water has been proven to work. But every now and then we should give our water bottles a little deeper cleaning procedure.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you will need something super complicated.

The picture above is one of the most popular vinegar product on Amazon, Click the picture or this link to check the latest price and the details

In fact, all you need is a little vinegar.

  1. After washing your bottle with soapy water as suggested in method #2, fill the bottle with a solution of 1/5 white vinegar and 4/5 water;
  2. Leave the bottle overnight;
  3. The next day rinse a couple of times and wash thoroughly; and
  4. When done, leave the bottle open to air dry.

But why white vinegar?

White vinegar is a powerful disinfectant. Unlike many other cleaning solutions, it is non-toxic, chemical-free, and super cheap.

Best of all, you can combat a lot of different bacteria and germs with it (it even kills the flu virus and the tuberculosis bacteria).

Being exposed to fewer germs and bacteria? Yes, please!

How to Clean Stainless-Steel CamelBak Water Bottles?

The picture above is one of the most popular CamelBak eddy 20oz Vacuum Insulated Stainless Water Bottle product on Amazon, Click the picture or this link to check the latest price and the details

CamelBak offers a few different stainless-steel water bottles with arguably the most popular ones being the Chute Mag and the Eddy.

Although on some models, the manufacturer has stated the bottle is dishwasher safe. I recommend staying on the safe side and hand washing them.

You can still place the detachable accessories like the lid in the dishwasher.

However, hand washing the body of your stainless steel water bottle will give it better longevity and will keep it looking good for longer (dishwashers can damage the powder coating of the bottle).

As you will see, it is super easy, and it doesn’t take too much time to have your bottle sparkling clean again.

camelbak metal water bottle
img source: Michael Pollak

Method 1

The first method of cleaning your CamelBak water bottle that I will share with you is very easy.

Everything you will need is probably already in your kitchen.

In fact, this is the method CamelBak themselves recommend for cleaning stainless steel bottles.

  1. Fill about half of the bottle with warm water;
  2. Add the liquid dish soap ( Click here to check my favorite Mrs. Meyer’s Liquid Dish Soap (Pack of 3) on Amazon);
  3. Replace the cap and close it tightly;
  4. Give the bottle a good shake for 10-15 seconds;
  5. Empty the content of the bottle;
  6. Use the kitchen sponge to clean the water bottle’s inside and outside walls; and
  7. Rinse the bottle a few times and leave it open to air dry.

This is the easiest and most simple way to clean your bottle.

Using a kitchen sponge is especially useful if you are using your water bottle to drink something different than water.

However, if your water bottle has a narrow mouth opening, you may not be able to clean it properly.

In that case, you can clean your bottle using a bottle brush. Bottle brushes are designed to clean these hard to reach spots of the water bottle.

Method 2

The first method outlined above is excellent for the general everyday care of the bottle. However, I advise every few days to give it a little stronger and deeper cleaning.

What you will need:

  • 1 – 2 tablespoons of white vinegar;
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda;
  • Water; and
  • A cleaning brush (optional).

What you need to do:

  1. Place the baking soda inside the bottle and add the vinegar;
  2. Try to scrub the inside of the bottle with the brush while using the mixture of vinegar and baking soda;
  3. Fill the bottle with water about half-way. Place the lid and secure it tightly;
  4. Give the bottle a firm shake for about 15 to 20 seconds after which pour out the mixture; and
  5. Rinse the bottle a couple of times and leave it to air dry.

How to Clean the Detachable Parts of a CamelBak Water Bottle?

If you are asking yourself this question, worry not as here we will go through how to wash each part of your CamelBak water bottle properly.

I found  a great Video on how to clean the Camelbak bottle water on youtube from CamelBak team. You might check it below:

How to Clean the Lid and the Cap of a CamelBak Water Bottle?

  1. Remove the lid from the bottle;
  2. Place the lid in a bowl filled with a solution of warm water and baking soda;
  3. Let it soak for about two to three hours;
  4. Use a Q-tip soaked in alcohol to clean those hard to reach areas in the lid; and
  5. Rinse with warm water and leave it to dry.

Alternatively, you can use a solution of a tablespoon of bleach or white vinegar and a drop of liquid soap.

If you don’t have alcohol handy, you can soak the Q-tip in white vinegar, bleach, or baking soda solution.

If the lid and the cap are dishwasher safe, you can also wash them in the dishwasher by placing them in the utensils area.

How to Clean the Mouthpiece and the Spout of a CamelBak Water Bottle?

  1. Remove the spout from the lid;
  2. Place the spout in a bowl filled with warm water and baking soda;
  3. Let it soak for two to three hours;
  4. If needed soak a Q-tip in alcohol you are using and clean the harder to reach areas of the mouthpiece or the spout; and
  5. Rinse and leave the spout to dry before placing it back on the lid.

For deeper cleaning you can add liquid soap and a tablespoon white vinegar (or even bleach);

If the mouthpiece and the spout are dishwasher safe, you can place them in the utensil area of your dishwasher and run the standard program.

How to Clean the Straw of a CamelBak Water Bottle?

You can use the following methods to clean the straw of your CamelBak water bottle:

  1. Take the straw off the lid;
  2. Place it and let it soak in a cleaning solution of warm water, liquid soap, and baking soda or white vinegar. For deeper cleaning you can use a tablespoon bleach instead;
  3. Use a pipe cleaner to clean the inside of the straw;
  4. Rinse and leave it to dry.

Straws are trickier to clean, but should not be overlooked as gunk and mold can accumulate inside of them.

How to Clean All the Detachable Parts in One Go

I have some good news for you. You don’t necessarily need to wash them separately.

All the accessories and detachable parts like the spout, tether, bite valves, and the straws from CamelBak are usually dishwasher-safe. (However, make sure to double-check that with your particular model first.)

This means that you can wash them in the top rack of your dishwasher. A nice and easy hassle-free way.

This method works well for regular everyday cleaning of the accessories of your water bottle. However, I must warn you that although it is a good method, it is not always going to be the best method.

The knurling and the threading on the lid will start to accumulate dirt and mold eventually.

This is why you need to give them a little more special attention every now and then.

This method is the one recommended by the CamelBak on their website.

What you will need:

  • A drop of mild soap and a tablespoon of white vinegar or vinegar; and
  • A clean glass jar.

What you need to do is:

  1. Fill the glass jar with water;
  2. Add the soap and the white vinegar;
  3. Place all the accessories inside and close the jar;
  4. Give it a little shake for about half a minute;
  5. After that let it soak for a quarter of an hour; and
  6. Take everything out and dry all the pieces.

How to Clean a Smelly CamelBak Water Bottle?

I also attached a video below by Sierra for 5 surprisingly simple ways to clean your water bottle or hydration bladder by using products you probably already have around the house. Use these methods to keep your water tasting great and your bottles smelling fresh.

The most odor, color, and taste problems happen as a result of improper storage and irregular cleaning.

Avoid keeping your water bottle for a long time in wet and humid places.

Do not leave it with the lid closed for extended periods of time, especially if there is water or other liquids inside.

This is something that can happen to anybody.

There is no reason to despair as there are a few more tricks up our sleeves that we can use to our advantage.

Method 1

If your plastic water bottle has developed an unpleasant odor or taste, this method may prove to be the strongest ace in our hand.

What you will need:

  • A teaspoon of baking soda;
  • A teaspoon of bleach; and
  • Water.

What you need to do:

  1. Place the baking soda and bleach in the bottle;
  2. Fill it up with water;
  3. Let it sit with the cleaning solution overnight;
  4. Rinse thoroughly or wash it in the dishwasher; and
  5. Let it air dry.

An extra little life hack tip is that we may be able to get rid of certain tastes and odors by simply rinsing the bottle with an antibacterial mouthwash.

Method 2

This method is for those of us that may not have access to bleach. Bleach is probably one of the strongest disinfectants, but there is another more readily available alternative.

White vinegar has a very potent antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, and we can put it to good use here.

What you will need:

  • A little white vinegar;
  • A teaspoon of baking soda; and
  • Some water.

What you need to do:

  1. Place the baking soda inside the water bottle;
  2. Fill up the bottle with a solution of 1/5 white vinegar and 4/5 water;
  3. Leave the bottle to sit with the solution overnight; and
  4. On the next day, rinse the bottle thoroughly or wash it in the dishwasher and leave it air dry.

How to Remove Mold from Your CamelBak Water Bottle

It can happen to anybody. I certainly know because it has happened to me as well. Forgetting to clean a water bottle while it has some water inside it may lead to a lot of mold growing.

Even with regular cleaning, you may still find your CamelBak water bottle growing mold in certain areas like the spout, the lid, and the cap.

Here is what you will need:

  • A large bowl;
  • Warm water;
  • White distilled vinegar; and
  • Soap.

What to do:

  1. Start by filling the bottle with warm water and add the liquid soap;
  2. Close the top lid and give it a strong shake for 15 to 20 seconds;
  3. Drain the soapy water and rinse the bottle;
  4. Add the vinegar and use a sponge or a brush to brush the parts where the mold is;
  5. Rinse the bottle again;
  6. Fill the large bowl with warm water and add some vinegar to it;
  7. Place the bottle and all the detachable parts inside the bowl. Make sure that they are submerged in the solution;
  8. Clean the removable parts thoroughly as recommended above;
  9. Leave them to sit in the cleaning solution for a while; and
  10. When ready, take everything out. Rinse thoroughly and leave everything to air dry.

Alternatively, if you don’t have white vinegar, you can substitute it with baking soda, which, too, can do an excellent job at cleaning mold.

Watch the Instructions video below by Tim Gilmore on how to clean any water bottle, especially those that have developed a mold. The best way to get rid of mold and other grime using only vinegar and baking soda.

Can I Clean a CamelBak Water Bottle with PBW?

Powdered brewery wash, or as it is more commonly known PBW may be something new to you.

PBW is a specific powder that beer brewers use to clean the containers they use for preparing beers. It is a very specialized product, but you don’t need to have any license to use it.

It has excellent cleaning properties and may help you get rid of the tough to remove crud, molds, and gunk.

Can I Clean a CamelBak Water Bottle with Oxiclean?

Although a lot of people do use OxiClean for cleaning various containers, it may not be as good as the PBW or some of the other methods ascribed here.

OxiClean may leave small layers of slick film that you need to scrape off after using it. This makes cleaning your bottle with Oxi a bit more complicated and difficult.

Can I Clean a CamelBak Water Bottle with a Dishwasher?

If you have access to a dishwasher, of course, this can be one of the fastest ways to clean your water bottle.

However, make sure your water bottle is dishwasher-friendly. Not all models and their parts are.

Dishwashers, on the other hand, may not always be able to clean the bottle thoroughly. If there is a lot of gunk which has accumulated in some of the areas of the bottle, which are hard to reach, you may need to hand wash them. Because the dishwasher won’t be able to clean them properly.

Some dishwashers have sanitizing program which can be used for a more thorough cleaning. Dishwashers that can run the sanitizing program can remove up to 99.99% of the bacteria.

How Often Should I Clean My CamelBak Water Bottle?

Your water bottle is the perfect environment that allows bacteria and microorganisms to thrive. Dark, warm, and moist places are the ideal growing ground for them.

Although stainless steel bottles can provide for a nice dark environment, the inside wall is non-porous. The fewer crevices on the walls mean that germs are less likely to attach to the walls.

Plastic water bottles are frequently the complete opposite. They are transparent, but the plastic is porous, and germs can easily attach to the walls.

Don’t let the bottle sit uncleaned for prolonged periods of time. Even a few hours are enough for mold, bacteria, and other microorganisms to start growing.

It is recommended to clean your water bottle daily or at least after each use


When you get back home, wash your water bottle with a little liquid soap and warm water, rinse and let it air dry.

Don’t add fresh water to the old water that may still be in your bottle. If you want to fill it up again, empty it clean it, and then you can refill it again.

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your CamelBak Water Bottle?

It is not going to be a surprise to anyone that not cleaning your water bottle will make it really dirty.

But it may come as a surprise how dirty it actually can get.

In one study, researchers examined the water bottles of 30 gym members. What they found was that about 83% of the bottles contained different kinds of bacteria.

The predominant bacteria found were Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli. They are not necessarily dangerous but may potentially make some people sick, depending on how strong their immune system is.

Not cleaning your bottle poses a health hazard as the bottle may become a reservoir for bacteria and microorganisms.

Even if you are drinking only water from your bottle, this doesn’t make things any better. If you give it enough time, you will see that the inside walls of the bottle start developing a tiny layer of biofilm, which is gunky and unpleasant.

This is why it is advisable to do deeper cleaning of the bottle in order to scrape it off.

The thing is that as soon as you take the first sip, you have already contaminated the rest of the water in the bottle with whatever was on your lips and mouth at that moment.

Let’s take another study that inspected water bottles that had different lids. Athletes have used these bottles for a week without washing them.

A week of drinking water from a bottle may not seem like too much time, but it is. And the results may startle you.

On average, the bottles had 313,499 CFU (colony-forming units) per square centimeter.

  • The worst performing were the bottles with a slide top having 933,340 CFU;
  • The second were bottles with a squeeze top with 161,971 CFU;
  • The third were the screw top bottles with 159,060 CFU;
  • And last were the bottles with a straw-top with just 25.4 CFU;

What bottle you choose matters. As you can see bottles that had a straw-top had significantly fewer amounts of germs and bacteria compared to the rest.

And arguably, even they are not much better as this amount is very close to what you will normally find on the average home toilet seat.

A Few Final Points on Cleaning Your CamelBak Water Bottle

If you have read so far, you have a very good understanding of how to properly clean every part of your water bottle, how to do regular cleaning, and how to do a more specialized and deeper cleaning too.

Several times I have mentioned that you can use stronger chemicals like bleach.

Bleach should be used, in my opinion, when you are dealing with a very moldy, dirty, and full of gunk bottle. Bleach is a harsh chemical that can discolor the bottle and damage its design.

Although a lot of people recommend using bleach (even manufacturers), I would suggest to keep it for when you will really need it. It works, definitely, hence why I have included it as a suggestion, but don’t use it on an everyday basis.

The baking soda and white vinegar can also be a bit harsh on certain stainless-steel bottles — especially the abrasiveness of the baking soda.

They are good for cleaning plastic water bottles, but when it comes to metal, you may end up damaging it and scrubbing of its color and protective layers. So extra care is advised.

Resources I used:


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