Breaking the Mould

Posted: June 28, 2011 in In Transition
Tags: ,

So, upon cleaning up all my gear after my event his past Sunday, I noticed something odd going on in my water bottles, namely, that they had developed little black spots inside them and around the mouth.  Yeah, eww.  What in the name of everything holy is that?  I fully support reusing water bottles as it’s environmentally conscious (Green), convenient, cheap, and all that other jazz, but when they start developing dark blotches like these, well, that just can’t be good.

Turns out that these little spots are, in fact, mold and bacteria beginning to develop and build up in the bottom of the bottle.  Typically, whatever is left in the bottle after I finish working out or racing is left sitting there until I either top it up or refill it before my next workout.  It’s just water, right?  But, after a week or two of not doing this, apparently, the insides of my bottle have begun to look like Mikhail Gorbachev’s forehead.  Not good.  So I did a little research.

It turns out that drinking mold particles is certainly not healthy for you, as you might expect, but it won’t kill you.  In some instances, it may cause gastrointestinal issues or in extreme cases, nausea and vomiting and/or diarrhea and abdominal pain – definitely not good times.  And believe me, more trips to the Porto-let is not what the doctor ordered come race day.  It is particularly not good if drinking your water or sports drink solution during your training or racing sessions (as is always the case with me) as your overall system is being worked at a higher degree of stress and effort and therefore moving the mold through your system more rapidly.  Now, I don’t know about you, but considering the money I’m shelling out for performance enhancing drinks and mixes, I’d like to make sure that that shit is circulating around my system rather than the black sludge lining my water bottle.  Makes sense, right?

But never fear, ‘fatandthefurious’ to the rescue!

So, first things first: buy a bottle brush.  You know the kind that has rigid bristles on it or something of the like that you used back in your high school science classes.  A thorough going over with one of these brushes every so often will definitely help keep your bottles free of mold build-up.  Using a bottle brush will really enable you to dig around inside and mine out all that hard to reach gunk stuck in the bottom corners or just underneath the brim.  You can simply use a Q-Tip to scrub out the goo from under the nozzle.  Afterwards, simply leave the bottle on a drying rack to air out.

Likewise, just in case you’re a total knob, you should always be using hot, soapy water.  I know this should be obvious, but you never know.  Soaking the bottle in hot, soapy water will enable all the dried up and crusty mold to loosen up and break apart more easily.  Leave it to sit for about an hour before giving it a good brushing.

Another option is to pour baking soda and dry rice or lentils into your water bottle, then add a dollop of dish soap and enough hot water to fill the bottle about halfway. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously. Believe it or not, the rice will remove the grime or mold, the soap will dissolve lingering oils, and the baking soda will disinfect and eliminate any lingering odor.  It’s like witchcraft!  What I do not recommend (and this is just me only) is soaking your water bottles in bleach and hot water.  Personally, I don’t think saturating anything in bleach is good for you and I’m just not going there, but you can do whatever makes you happy at your own risk, of course – whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger I suppose.

Not just for Grandma’s dentures anymore…

Of course, you can always just throw them in the dish washing machine.  I, however, do not have such convenient things, but, I have also heard that putting water bottles in the dish washer may warp the bottles so that the lids may not fit afterwards…so definitely set your machine to its most gentle cycle.

If you ever want to go whole hog and totally disinfect your water bottle (I do once a month), I would also recommend using your basic denture washing tablets easily located at any local Pharmacy.  Of course, you can purchase special water disinfecting tablets through any local sport store, but Grandma’s denture pills will work just as well while saving you a bit of cash in the process.

  1. Thanks for the tip.
    This helps explain why do many of my bottles leak… damn dishwasher. Who would have thunk?

  2. Susan says:

    Sounds like a lot of work! That’s why I buy bottled water. Fast, convenient and I figure that as long as I am recycling, I am not hurting anything in the enviroment. I’m NOT throwing ANYTHING into the landfills or onto my kitchen floor so my dog can’t get to the fridge like they show in the commercials.

    Besides, every other month they are telling you that THIS type of re-usable plastic bottle is now toxic (God forbid I have to keep all of the numbered symbols on the bottom of the bottles straight to figure out which ones), and THAT type of bottle can’t be brought into THIS place or onto THAT soccer field because it’s glass and I might break it and THAT type of bottle leaches aluminum and gives me Alzheimer’s disease. AAAAAAARRRRRGGGGG!!!…..the humanity of it all!

    This is what I do:

    1. Throw a case of $1.99 water onto the bottom of my shopping cart (or get the “nice young man” to do it).
    2. Pop it into my fridge so it’s nice and cold whenever I need it. No filtering it through my special Brita or Pur system where I have to continually buy New filters and then throw those out into the landfill because they are not recyclable.
    3. Unscrew the cap and Drink it.
    4. Find one of those Blue Recycling bins to throw it into when I am done or take it home and recycle it if one is not around (’cause I AM a Recycling Nazi!)…just ask my kids, they can verify that I really do this.

    No scrubbing!
    No Icky Black Mould that will eat away as my lungs!
    No Black Sludge rolling around in the bottom of my bottle!
    No wasting hot water or Q-Tips or creating any type of useless manual labour!
    And, most important……No buying any special bottle scrubbers and Polident Denture Bubble Crap Tablets before my time!

    Scrub Fatboy Scrub!

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