Ask the Gear Guy

De-Stinking Water Bottles


Q. Gear Guy, How do I prevent the nasty odor and taste that I get when I store my Nalgene bottle with the lid closed?
– Dirty Bottle Daniel, Huntington, W. Va.

A. A stinky, sour water bottle is no fun. I’ve had that problem myself. There are a couple of things you can try. First, soak the bottle in warm, soapy water. If it’s particularly nasty, add some lemon juice or a couple of tablespoons of baking soda to the water. Let the bottle soak overnight, then run it through the dishwasher (on the top rack only). Dry the bottle upside down with the top open. If all that doesn’t work, it’s time for drastic action. Nalgene’s Web site suggests this: Take a charcoal briquette, roll it up inside a piece of newspaper and shove it inside the bottle, then screw on the cap. Leave it in there for a few days. Finish by washing the bottle in the dishwasher or by hand in warm soapy water.

Comments about “De-Stinking Water Bottles”

  1. Chemboy says:

    Um…is there something wrong with leaving the top open?

  2. Ray says:

    Skip all these steps and scrub the inside of the bottle with toothpaste.

  3. Mr BottleHead says:

    You can put a couple drops of vanilla on a paper towel and put it into your water bottle for storage. When you are ready to use your water bottle, pull the paper towel out and it will smell and taste great.

  4. Big Tex says:

    Once you get it deodorized, you can prevent future odors by putting a paper towel inside before you put it away. We also store ours without the lid screwed on.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I picked up a tip from a fellow Back packer that used Denture clean tablets that also work in the water bags. It also leaves a minty taste but gets rid of the odors. Cost is around $1.00 if you get them from the Dollor General.

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