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Keep Your Water Cooler Cleaner, Longer, With This Simple Trick

water cooler bottle in a well lit office waiting room
farvatar/Shutterstock

Water coolers need to be cleaned routinely. But you can extend the time between cleanings and keep your water safer, longer, with a simple trick every time you change the water bottle.

If you read the specifications that came with your water cooler, you might be surprised to see that they suggest you do a deep cleaning (using a mixture of water and bleach) of the internal reservoirs every time you change the bottle. We don’t know about you, but we’ve never worked in an office where that routine was maintained (nor do we bleach our machine at home every time we swap the bottles). While that might be the best practice from a Center for Disease Control standpoint, realistically nobody is bleaching the crap out of their water cooler once a week.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do what you can to minimize gunk getting in your water cooler.  There’s only two points of entry in a water cooler: the filling point where the water bottle connects to the reservoir and the exit point at the valves where the cold or hot water exits the machine. The entry point gets dirty because although your home or office might be pretty clean, the factories where the bottles are filled and the giant racks where they are stored aren’t. They’re much dustier, and there’s a higher chance that bugs and rodents have climbed around on your water bottles, etc. Also, the valves and levers on the outside of the machine come in contact with cups, bottles, hands, etc. and bacteria can be transferred to them. So what do you do? In between those few-and-far-between deep cleaning sessions, take care of those two areas.

Every time you change the water bottle, take a moment to spray alcohol onto the opening, neck, and shoulder of the water bottle using a little spritz bottle. Let the alcohol sit for a moment and use the same spritz bottle to spray the external valve and lever mechanism where the water is dispensed. Wipe the valves and levers down. Wipe the opening, neck, and shoulder of the bottle down.

It’s super fast, and it’s a simple tip we swear by. In under thirty seconds, you can virtually eliminate all the surface bacteria on the two surfaces most likely to contaminate your water cooler.

Jason Fitzpatrick Jason Fitzpatrick
Jason Fitzpatrick is the Editor in Chief of LifeSavvy. He has over a decade of experience in publishing and has authored thousands of articles at LifeSavvy, Review Geek, How-To Geek, and Lifehacker. Read Full Bio »

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