How to Keep Your Cycling Bottles Clean

May 05, 2021 0 Comments

Close-up of a blue and white water bottle in its holster on a bike frame

When was the last time you cleaned your water bottle?

It’s something many cyclists take for granted. You always have a stash of water bottles on hand, and you’re ready to fill a couple with water or a sports drink for your ride. But if you’re just grabbing a dirty bottle from the pile, you may be risking your health. Preserve your health by following a few simple steps on how to keep your cycling bottles clean. 

Why Cleaning Your Reusable Water Bottle Is Important for Your Health

Neglecting to clean bottles even made an entire cycling team sick a few years ago. As the bottles were passed around the team, germs spread throughout the group and led to a rash of illnesses.

That illustrates just how easily germs can fester in cycling bottles, but it’s not just an issue for a team. Individual cyclists need to keep their bottles clean, too. Longtime cycling coach Darryl MacKenzie talked us through his system for making sure his cycling bottles are clean for every ride, whether he’s been drinking water or Gatorade.

Follow These Tips on How To Keep Your Cycling Bottles Clean

Remove and Rinse Right Away 

Your first order of business in keeping your cycling bottles clean is to make sure you’re not leaving them on the bike. Coach Darryl has seen some cyclists leave bottles in the holster overnight or even for days, full of sports drink.

“You are inviting a science experiment to occur if you do that,” he says. You might just create the perfect conditions for mold or bacteria growth.

Now you may be asking, “How soon should I clean my cycling water bottle?” And the answer is right away. As fun as science is, you probably don’t want to use your drinking vessel as a test tube. When you get home after a ride, take your water bottles inside immediately. If you don’t have time to wash them right then, at least thoroughly rinse the bottle and the lid, then set them aside for a full cleaning.

Come cleaning time, you have two options: the dishwasher or a good old-fashioned hand wash.

Option 1: Clean Your Bottles in the Dishwasher 

The dishwasher is obviously the easier option for keeping your cycling bottles clean — thanks to high temps and strong water pressure. But you have to make sure you’re doing it right.

First and foremost, be sure your bottles are dishwasher safe. They should have a label on the bottom confirming whether it’s OK to run them through safely. If they are, then always place them face-down on the top shelf to avoid extreme temperatures.

Then there’s your lids, an even more important piece to keep clean because of all the nooks and crannies that are perfect for bacterial growth. If you have a utensil bin for your top rack, that’s ideal for containing the lids and getting them thoroughly cleaned. Otherwise, they may not fit on the top rack, and you may need to wash them by hand. 

Option 2: Hand-Scrub Your Bottles 

Whether you need to clean just the lids or the entire bottle by hand, it can be done without too much trouble. You just need a good bottle brush, soap and very hot water.

For the bottle brush, get one that has a brush or bristles on the tip so that you can scrub all the way down to the bottom and clean out the corners. Use regular soap, not an abrasive cleaner, and get your water hot enough to kill bacteria. You may need to put on some gloves to make sure you can get it hot enough.

Dry Thoroughly and Store 

Be sure you don’t neglect this final step on how to keep your cycling bottle clean. Your cycling bottles aren’t truly clean until they’re fully dry. Any moisture that you keep trapped in there could just be the spark for another science experiment. 

As always, good airflow is essential for a thorough dry. Keep the bottles open on their sides or upside-down on a drying rack with room for air to move throughout. If the lids have a push-top nipple, make sure it’s open, and keep the lids propped up (not just lying flat) so air can flow freely.

After they have had plenty of time to dry, shake everything to make sure there are no droplets left. If they’re fully dried out, you can put the caps on, seal them tightly, and store them in a dry place until your next ride. Now you’re ready to stay hydrated and healthy.

Look for more insights from Coach Darryl over at his website.

Photo by Simon Cannelloni on Unsplash


Another way for you to have peace of mind while you enjoy your ride is by having a comfortable leather bike saddle. Explore our website for more information. Please contact our team if you have any questions.