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Thread: Getting rid of MOLD in Nalgene water bottle?

  1. #1
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    Getting rid of MOLD in Nalgene water bottle?

    My son left sugary Iced Tea in his Nalgene bottle for several days, and now there is moldy residue inside (and a narrow neck).

    Anyone have any good tricks to remove the black goo? We tried baking soda and lemon juice, but there is still black gunk on the inside. I am not sure if Bleach would be okay in a container he wants to drink out of later.... Any other ideas?

    Thanks!
    Keep Calm & Eat More Bacon !!

  2. #2
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    You can go at it with very hot soapy water and a stiff bottle brush.

    I've had several similar experiences with Nalgene bottles, and I'd say throw it out and buy a new one. What I've found is that no matter how clean you get it, your beverages (especially water) will always have an off taste from whatever you didn't quite get out of the plastic. I have a small Nalgene that I used for awhile when I was on a green smoothie kick (spinach, kale, collards, you name it). I never let it get moldy---always kept it clean---but now my water still has a slight "green" taste to it. I'll probably toss it. But then, I have very sensitive taste buds, so maybe it's just me.

  3. #3
    We use a 3 step process for getting mold from plastic bottles like that.
    First, soak the bottle in a bleach/water solution in the sink (or other vessel large enough to submerge the bottle in). Takes very little bleach, maybe a tbsp in a sink full of water. Let it soak until the mold is no longer visible. (Won't take long, maybe 30 minutes to an hour.) Then drain the sink and rinse the bottle well. Then put a tbsp or a bit more of baking soda into the bottle and fill it to the top with hot water. Put the cap on and allow the baking soda/water to soak overnight. This helps to pull funky flavors from the plastic.
    Last, drain the bottle and just give it a usual wash in hot, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and let drip dry, or place it outside in the bright sun to dry.

    IMO, there is no substitute for bleach in removing the mold and making sure it is gone. And if you just use a small amount and clean the bottle well afterwards, there shouldn't be any bleach taste.

  4. #4
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    This is from the Nalgene website:


  5. #5
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    I would also try the bleach. You want to make sure you get all the mold out of the bottle and any crevices it may be hiding. If there's a gasket/seal in the top, pull that out and clean it and it's channel, too. After cleaning with bleach, a run through the dishwasher (top rack, away from the drying element if yours has one) should help rinse away any bleach residue.

    If you can't get it completely clean, I'd replace it. DH got food poisoning from just such a problem.

    Michelle

  6. #6
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    We have this problem with our bike bottles & Gatorade, too. It's gross!

    Thx for the good tips. I'll try the bleach & thorough baking soda scrubbing.


    Um....sorry Nalgene....I'm not cleaning my plastic bottles with charcoal briquettes (aka petrol!). That grosses me out even more than the mold

  7. #7
    I saw something on TV where they said that bleach does not remove mold, it only discolors it. They said you first have to remove the mold by washing with soap and water and a good brush, and then treat with bleach.
    newcook

  8. #8
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    Agreed - bleach does not remove mold but kills it, you will still have to scrub the dead mold off.

    Keep in mind that the majority of public water supplies use chlorine (which bleach is) to disinfect the water and if you have your private well disinfected periodically by a well professional they will throw bleach down your well to clean it.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by newcook View Post
    I saw something on TV where they said that bleach does not remove mold, it only discolors it. They said you first have to remove the mold by washing with soap and water and a good brush, and then treat with bleach.
    Quote Originally Posted by TwinMom View Post
    Agreed - bleach does not remove mold but kills it, you will still have to scrub the dead mold off.
    That's why we always do the 3 step method I posted. We always have good success with that method, even though newcook is mentioning to scrub before bleaching. (Wouldn't hurt to scrub before and after, that's for sure.)

  10. #10
    Hammster, 3 steps is definitely better than 2

    I think the point they were making on TV though is that if you discolor the mold before washing it off, you can't see if you got it all or not.

    Personally, I would probably toss it, unless it was a really expensive bottle, but only because I could not be bothered with all the scrubbing.
    newcook

  11. #11
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    It might be useful to have a bottle brush.

    Last edited by Gumbeaux; 01-15-2010 at 06:24 PM.

  12. #12
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    Thanks, Hammster and everyone for the ideas... Might just be easier to toss the thing... I will have to buy bleach and a bottle brush (guessing $5.00 or so for both?), so maybe it would make more sense to buy a new bottle ($8?)... I'll ask my son though what he thinks!

    Thanks..... then again, buying bleach and a bottle brush may be worth it, as he is likely to do this again (and again and again with a new bottle)... I think he inherited the "sloppy Gene" and the "Forgetful gene" from his Dad!
    Keep Calm & Eat More Bacon !!

  13. #13
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    rinsing with a dilute bleach solution is a good idea occasionally, regardless. if you drink from the bottle directly you will contaminate the liquid from your mouth, lips, saliva and it will get slimy and eventually moldy. hot soapy water with just a spoonful of bleach will clean it.
    then rinse very well, let air dry after draining upside down for a while. I store the bottles with lids off so they don't grow things if accidentally stored while still damp.

    Bleach is dirt cheap and useful for a lot of things.
    "If the world were a logical place, men would ride side saddle." Rita Mae Brown

  14. #14
    I agree with Valerie. Keep a jug of bleach around at all times. My tightie whities, handkerchiefs, and socks always get bleached in the wash. Having a hot tub, we do get a bit of green mold on the concrete slab where the tub sits and water drips from the cover, so the green stuff gets sprayed with a dilute bleach solution from time to time to keep it down. Same with the hot tub lid. Once in a while there will be a bit of black mold on the inside of the lid. Makes sense since it is exposed to that warm, moist environment most of the time. Cover comes off and gets a good spritz of bleach, wiped down, allowed to dry in the sun and then back onto the tub.
    Another great use is sanitizing fresh water holding tanks in RVs. (As I recall it was a cup per 40 gallon tank of water.)

    And as mentioned, great for sanitizing bottles and other household items.

  15. #15

    Safer Solution (pun intended)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hammster View Post
    We use a 3 step process for getting mold from plastic bottles like that.
    First, soak the bottle in a bleach/water solution in the sink (or other vessel large enough to submerge the bottle in). Takes very little bleach, maybe a tbsp in a sink full of water. Let it soak until the mold is no longer visible. (Won't take long, maybe 30 minutes to an hour.) Then drain the sink and rinse the bottle well. Then put a tbsp or a bit more of baking soda into the bottle and fill it to the top with hot water. Put the cap on and allow the baking soda/water to soak overnight. This helps to pull funky flavors from the plastic.
    Last, drain the bottle and just give it a usual wash in hot, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and let drip dry, or place it outside in the bright sun to dry.

    IMO, there is no substitute for bleach in removing the mold and making sure it is gone. And if you just use a small amount and clean the bottle well afterwards, there shouldn't be any bleach taste.

    In all due respect, please, please, please do not use bleach for several reasons: (1) it's really, really bad for you, (2) plastic is porous and some of the bleach solution will permeate the plastic, and (3) you already get too much bleach from multiple sources (e.g., tap water, coffee, beverages, etc.) Ingesting chlorine bleach has been tied to cancer of the digestive system. So use safer alternatives to kill the mold and sanitize the water bottle, such as two cups of warm water with any of the following: half cup of 3% food-grade hydrogen peroxide (not drug store variety which contains heavy metal preservatives and stabilizers), two or three drops of either tea tree oil or liquid grapefruit seed extract, or sodium chlorite activated with either citric acid solution or lemon juice (sold as MMS on the Internet). The sodium chlorite solution can be used like bleach but is not harmful to humans. Any of the above will kill the mold and sanitize the water bottle.

    After washing the water bottle with a clean sponge or bottle brush (whichever is applicable) to remove the mold, rinse several times with water. Then let air-dry before use.

    Please note: always strive to reduce your use of chemicals (like bleach), not increase your use. Your good health depends upon it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Insightful View Post
    In all due respect, please, please, please do not use bleach for several reasons: (1) it's really, really bad for you, (2) plastic is porous and some of the bleach solution will permeate the plastic, and (3) you already get too much bleach from multiple sources (e.g., tap water, coffee, beverages, etc.) Ingesting chlorine bleach has been tied to cancer of the digestive system. So use safer alternatives to kill the mold and sanitize the water bottle, such as two cups of warm water with any of the following: half cup of 3% food-grade hydrogen peroxide (not drug store variety which contains heavy metal preservatives and stabilizers), two or three drops of either tea tree oil or liquid grapefruit seed extract, or sodium chlorite activated with either citric acid solution or lemon juice (sold as MMS on the Internet). The sodium chlorite solution can be used like bleach but is not harmful to humans. Any of the above will kill the mold and sanitize the water bottle.

    After washing the water bottle with a clean sponge or bottle brush (whichever is applicable) to remove the mold, rinse several times with water. Then let air-dry before use.

    Please note: always strive to reduce your use of chemicals (like bleach), not increase your use. Your good health depends upon it.
    In all due respect, you will ingest more bleach from some municipal water supplies, swimming in chlorinated pools, and in hot tubs than from the trace amount of bleach from a water bottle cleaned with bleach and then rinsed with tap water. The USDA recommends the use of bleach to disinfect food prep areas.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Insightful View Post
    In all due respect, please, please, please do not use bleach for several reasons: (1) it's really, really bad for you, (2) plastic is porous and some of the bleach solution will permeate the plastic, and (3) you already get too much bleach from multiple sources (e.g., tap water, coffee, beverages, etc.) Ingesting chlorine bleach has been tied to cancer of the digestive system. So use safer alternatives to kill the mold and sanitize the water bottle, such as two cups of warm water with any of the following: half cup of 3% food-grade hydrogen peroxide (not drug store variety which contains heavy metal preservatives and stabilizers), two or three drops of either tea tree oil or liquid grapefruit seed extract, or sodium chlorite activated with either citric acid solution or lemon juice (sold as MMS on the Internet). The sodium chlorite solution can be used like bleach but is not harmful to humans. Any of the above will kill the mold and sanitize the water bottle.

    After washing the water bottle with a clean sponge or bottle brush (whichever is applicable) to remove the mold, rinse several times with water. Then let air-dry before use.

    Please note: always strive to reduce your use of chemicals (like bleach), not increase your use. Your good health depends upon it.
    Why would one's first post be to reply to a thread that's nearly 3 years old?
    The motive power of democracy is love. ~ Henri Bergson

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Insightful View Post

    Please note: always strive to reduce your use of chemicals (like bleach), not increase your use. Your good health depends upon it.
    I'm particularly opposed to dihydrogen monoxide - that stuff is deadly....
    The motive power of democracy is love. ~ Henri Bergson

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Gumbeaux View Post
    In all due respect, you will ingest more bleach from some municipal water supplies, swimming in chlorinated pools, and in hot tubs than from the trace amount of bleach from a water bottle cleaned with bleach and then rinsed with tap water. The USDA recommends the use of bleach to disinfect food prep areas.
    I disagree on multiple levels.

    First, I'm not sure what point you were making when you wrote that the USDA recommends the use of bleach to disinfect food prep areas. So what? The USDA also approved the use of "pink slime" (which contains ammonia) as a treatment for processing inferior meat scraps to make hamburger for human consumption. After it was exposed, McDonald's promptly ended its long-standing use of the "pink slime" treatment in preparing their hamburger meat. And in the same vein, the FDA approved of the wide-spread distribution of Vioxx (which killed many, many people and was eventually pulled off the market). Are you implying that people should use a harmful chemical just because a government agency recommends it? No thank you, I'll think for myself.

    Secondly, I wrote that as a way to avoid using more bleach, which people were already getting too much of from various sources, they should consider using safe alternatives that have not been linked to cancer of the digestive system. Have you ever met anybody who actually wanted cancer? A little prevention can go a long way.

    Lastly, I don't grasp the significance or benefit of your comparison. It almost seems like you're saying that people are already ingesting chlorine bleach from tap water, swimming pools and hot tubs, so what's wrong with a little more? And rinsing the bottle out with tap water isn't going to remove all traces of the bleach; nothing rinses off completely. Don't fool yourself by thinking that trace amounts don't matter. After all, microscopic pathogens can kill people even though they're very, very small. That's why a natural plant-based cleaner is preferable, or using a harmless chemical solution like sodium chlorite and citric acid. Both of which have been proven safe. There is far too much evidence about the ill effects of chlorine bleach to simply ignore it.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by ClaraB View Post
    Why would one's first post be to reply to a thread that's nearly 3 years old?
    Good information is timeless.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by ClaraB View Post
    I'm particularly opposed to dihydrogen monoxide - that stuff is deadly....
    I might be opposed to "dihydrogen monoxide" too, if I knew what it was.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Insightful View Post
    I might be opposed to "dihydrogen monoxide" too, if I knew what it was.
    Ummmmm 2 hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. More commonly written as "H2O"
    Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by BucknellAlum View Post
    Ummmmm 2 hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. More commonly written as "H2O"
    Yes, I know what hydrogen peroxide is. But I wasn't familiar with "dihydrogen monoxide", which is what was written in the reply.

    And 3% food-grade hydrogen peroxide is not deadly. Somebody is either misinformed or spreading disinformation.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Insightful View Post
    Yes, I know what hydrogen peroxide is. But I wasn't familiar with "dihydrogen monoxide", which is what you wrote.

    And 3% food-grade hydrogen peroxide is not deadly. You are either misinformed or spreading disinformation.
    Dear Insightful,

    I just wanted to clarify with you that we are all on the same page. H2O is not hydrogen peroxide. It's actually dihydrogen monoxide, which I know is not deadly unless you decide go down in it and not come up for air. Or unless there is other stuff in it in which case I guess it would no longer be H2O.

    I am not very knowledgeable about hydrogen peroxide, so if you say it's food-grade and not deadly, I certainly believe you.

    Would you kindly point out where it was described as deadly? Also, we try to engage in civilized discussion around here. Please do not call other members misinformed unless you are very sure of what you are saying and you can back it up.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Angelina View Post
    Dear Insightful,

    I just wanted to clarify with you that we are all on the same page. H2O is not hydrogen peroxide. It's actually dihydrogen monoxide, which I know is not deadly unless you decide go down in it and not come up for air. Or unless there is other stuff in it in which case I guess it would no longer be H2O.

    I am not very knowledgeable about hydrogen peroxide, so if you say it's food-grade and not deadly, I certainly believe you.

    Would you kindly point out where it was described as deadly? Also, we try to engage in civilized discussion around here. Please do not call other members misinformed unless you are very sure of what you are saying and you can back it up.
    Oh, okay I got it. I misread the H2O. Thanks.

    Here is a quote from Wikipedia:

    "In the dihydrogen monoxide hoax, water is referred to by an unfamiliar name, "dihydrogen monoxide", followed by a listing of real effects of this chemical, in an attempt to convince people that it should be regulated, labeled as hazardous, or banned. The hoax is intended to illustrate how the lack of scientific literacy and an exaggerated analysis can lead to misplaced fears.[1] "Dihydrogen monoxide", shortened to "DHMO", is a name for water that is consistent with basic rules of chemical nomenclature,[2] but is not among the names published by IUPAC[3] and is almost never used."


  26. #26

    I have the easy solution

    Just grab some clorox wipes and shove about 7 of them down into the bottle. Add just a little bit of water and hold the bottle horizontally. Slowly move the bottle back and forth, letting the wipes actually "wipe" the inside of the bottle. Slowly rotate the bottle as you let the wipes continue to scrub the bottle. It will only take a few minutes and your bottle will be totally clean. Pull out the wipes and rinse thoroughly. (I just put mine back in the dishwasher) Enjoy your like new bottle again. It is literally just that simple.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Insightful View Post
    Lastly, I don't grasp the significance or benefit of your comparison. It almost seems like you're saying that people are already ingesting chlorine bleach from tap water, swimming pools and hot tubs, so what's wrong with a little more? And rinsing the bottle out with tap water isn't going to remove all traces of the bleach; nothing rinses off completely. Don't fool yourself by thinking that trace amounts don't matter. After all, microscopic pathogens can kill people even though they're very, very small. That's why a natural plant-based cleaner is preferable, or using a harmless chemical solution like sodium chlorite and citric acid. Both of which have been proven safe. There is far too much evidence about the ill effects of chlorine bleach to simply ignore it.
    So let me put it this way. You say we must worry about a immeasurable, trace amount of chlorine bleach that is left in a water bottle after thoroughly rinsing and drying, but not to worry about public water supplies that have chlorine in it that we use to drink, bathe, and cook with in HUGE amounts every day? That seems like a smoker worrying about third-hand smoke rather than his smoking several packs of cigarettes a day.

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