How to Clean a Hydration Pack

How to Clean a Hydration Pack
Hydration packs provide hikers with hands-free water availability in addition to giving convenient day pack storage. There are many different types of hydration packs available for consumer purchase (such as CamelBak or Platypus); However, most packs have common, removable parts such as the water reservoir (or bladder), plastic tube and mouthpiece, and cloth/fabric pack. Follow the steps below to keep your hydration pack clean for the next excursion outdoors.

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Remove the reservoir bladder from the pack. Rinse it thoroughly with a small amount of liquid dish soap and warm water. Gently scrub the interior with a baby bottle brush or a foam paint brush. Rinse and drain reservoir several times until water runs clear and without soap suds. Utilize mostly water during the cleansing process to avoid a soapy taste while on the trail. Leave the bladder top unsealed and allow the reservoir to completely air dry. If cleansing solution contains baking soda or liquid bleach (for added deodorizing and disinfecting benefit), allow the bladder to soak in the cleanser overnight; then, continue to cleanse, rinse and dry it the next day. If mildew (or dark spots, slime) has appeared in the bladder, soak it overnight in 2 tablespoons of bleach and water mixture; ensure that you give it a thorough scrub, then rinse and dry it.
Step 2
Extend the hydration tube for cleaning. Utilize the dish soap solution for everyday cleansing. Scrub the tube interior with a general pipe cleaner or thin sponge/brush with hot water (not boiling). Use extreme care while cleaning to prevent plastic tube puncturing. After cleansing, flush the tube with cold water. Add 2 tablespoons of bleach to water for more intense disinfecting; allow an overnight soak, fully rinse and dry the following day. Use extreme caution when using harsher chemicals, as bleach can weaken the plastic lining and should be entirely flushed out before hiking usage.
Step 3
Handwash the cloth pack. While some manufacturers may suggest a cold cycle in the washing machine, consider handwashing the cloth pack after a hike to preserve pack longevity (and to not void a pack warranty). Clean in sink with a mild cleanser and cold water; Fully air dry before the next use.
Step 4
Utilize a consumer cleansing system for added help. If having difficulty with home cleansing processes, consider purchasing a hydration pack maintenance kit for sanitizing assistance (see Resources below). Additionally, cleaning tablets can help flush out bacteria, minimize bladder odors and keep a hydration pack smelling fresh.
Step 5
Reassemble hydration pack, once all parts are completely dry. Store hydration pack properly between hike usage. Prop hydration pack on a hanger between uses. Or, try an alternate storage solution: fill the water bladder with cold water, seal tightly and store in the refrigerator until the next hike.

Tips & Warnings

 
Only use a soft sponge (or similar) during the cleaning process to prevent puncturing a hole in the water reservoir. Use only water in the reservoir bladder to help quicken the post-hike cleansing process; Bring a bottle of sports drink, if additional beverage is desired while on the trail. Sugared beverages promote bacteria growth in hydration pack bladders.
 
Only use a soft sponge (or similar) during the cleaning process to prevent puncturing a hole in the water reservoir.
 
Use only water in the reservoir bladder to help quicken the post-hike cleansing process; Bring a bottle of sports drink, if additional beverage is desired while on the trail. Sugared beverages promote bacteria growth in hydration pack bladders.
 
Ensure all pack parts are completely dry before storage and future use to prevent the growth of bacteria. Clean with care to avoid puncturing hydration pack parts. If parts discolor, it may be time for parts replacement.
 
Ensure all pack parts are completely dry before storage and future use to prevent the growth of bacteria.
 
Clean with care to avoid puncturing hydration pack parts.
 
If parts discolor, it may be time for parts replacement.

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