How Disgusting Is Your Water Bottle? You Don’t Want to Know

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Disgusted woman with a smelly water bottle. /

A reusable water bottle is a great tool for reducing waste and helping the environment. But if you have such a bottle, chances are good that it is loaded with germs.

In fact — brace yourself — a squeeze-top water bottle might have 6,000 times more bacteria than you would find on a typical toilet seat, according to research from

And other types of water bottles fare far worse. After swabbing various types of water bottles three times each, the website found that the “average reusable water bottle was 40,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat.”

According to

“Kitchen sinks are known to be one of the most germ-filled spots in a home, and we found that reusable water bottles were about twice as germy. They were even dirtier than a pet bowl that’s slobbered on every day and a computer mouse’s high-touch surface.”

The two types of germs detected on water bottles were:

  • Gram-negative rods, which can trigger infections increasingly resistant to antibiotics
  • Bacillus, which can lead to gastrointestinal issues

Before you toss that water bottle into the landfill in disgust, however, it’s important to put the findings in perspective.

In a story published in the New York Post, University of Reading microbiologist Simon Clarke stresses that people should not be overly worried about all those germs. As he told the Post:

“Water bottles are likely to be contaminated with the bacteria that are already in people’s mouths.”

Whether you find that statement reassuring or alarming, the reality is that a water bottle loaded with bacteria is “not necessarily dangerous,” Clarke says. He adds that he’s “never heard of someone getting sick from a water bottle.”

Nevertheless, if all that bacteria creeps you out, one way to minimize the amount of germs present is to wash your water bottle regularly. Around 15% of Americans clean their water bottles just a few times each month, according to

Choosing the right water bottle can also limit the “ick” factor. discovered that bottles with squeeze-top lids harbor far fewer bacteria than those with spout lids, screw-top lids or straw lids.

According to the Post, experts suggest washing a water bottle at least daily with hot, soapy water. You should sanitize the bottle once a week.

Now that we’ve thoroughly grossed you out, you might want to engage in a little tidying up around the house. For more, check out “10 Household Items You Should Deep Clean Today.”

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