How to Clean Water Bladders

How to Clean Water BladdersHydration packs with built-in water bottles offer an excellent upgrade over regular water bottles. Capable of holding more water, while providing a more convenient way to carry it, water bladders are a brilliant solution for hiking and backpacking. The one drawback of a water bladder is cleaning. Thorough cleaning is important for keeping microorganisms out of your water. Bladders, however, are not that easy to clean. Learn how to clean your hydration pack and bladder properly after each use to keep it fresh.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Baking soda or bleach
  • Scrub brush
  • Tube brush
  • Liquid detergent
Step 1
Pull the water bottle and hose out of the hydration pack. Take the lid off.
Step 2
Clean the plastic lid with warm water and dish detergent. Place it in a dish drain to dry.
Step 3
Fill the water bladder with warm water and a few drops of liquid detergent. Let it soak for a few minutes.
Step 4
Use a scrub brush to clean the interior. Take the bite valve off and use a special tube brush or pipe cleaner to clean the drinking tube. Rinse both the interior and the tube with cold water. Be sure to rinse off all suds.
Step 5
To disinfect, add 2 tbsp. of baking soda or 1 tbsp. of bleach to the bladder. Fill it with warm water. Allow it to sit for several hours.
Step 6
Dump the water out, and rinse the bladder thoroughly several times. Take the bite valve off and run water through the hose to rinse. Hang it upside down to dry.

Tips & Warnings

When you first use the bladder after cleaning, be aware that the first sip may contain residue that got caught in the hose--be prepared to spit it out.
Some water bladders are easier to clean than others, allowing you to get a full hand in to clean.
Accessories such as a cleaning brush and dissolvable cleaning tablets are available from manufacturers such as Camelbak.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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