If you're using a traditional water bottle right now, put it down until you read this!
Every time you use your water bottle, you may be drinking billions of bacteria. In fact, the average athlete’s water bottle has more bacteria than a toilet.
Types of Bacteria in Your Bottle
Most of the bacteria in your water bottle are called “gram-negative rod bacteria,” which includes E. Coli. There’s also gram-positive cocci bacteria (which can give you strep throat, blood poisoning and more), bacillus (a bacteria found all around you in nature) and gram-positive rod bacteria (which are mostly harmless).
For further information on the types of bacteria found in waters bottles check out this article "What's that growing in your bottle?"
How Do They Get Into Your Water Bottle?
How bacteria gets into your bottle and spreads throughout your bottle depends on the actual type of bacteria.
- Coli and its relatives are found in the digestive systems of warm-blooded animals (including humans). The only way for your bottle to get infected by this bacteria is if it’s exposed to infected feces. Yes, poop in your water! This may occur if you don’t wash your hands after going to the bathroom, if you toss your bottle into a dirty gym bag, or even if it just falls and lands on the gym floor.
The same is true with strep bacteria and other gram-positive cocci germs. If you share your water bottle with someone, or it’s just exposed to air after someone coughs or sneezes, the bacteria could make its way into your bottle.
Finally, dust and spores in the air can infiltrate your water bottle every time you use it or refill it.
Water Bottles: The Perfect Bacteria Breeding Ground
Bacteria love water bottles because they provide everything those little germs are looking for in a new home:
- It’s chronically moist. Most people don’t fully dry their water bottle after each use, and bacteria love wet conditions.
- It’s rarely washed. When was the last time you thoroughly cleaned your bottle after every use? Even if you do wash your bottle regularly, most traditional bottles have lots of nooks and crevices that are hard to reach.
- It is exposed to lots of dirty surfaces and air. From gym bags to locker rooms to the cupholder in your car, your water bottle sees a lot. At each and every point, dangerous bacteria have a chance of making their way into or onto your water bottle’s surfaces.
But don't be too alarmed. Simply be aware.
By investing in a hygienic water bottle, like MOUS, cleaning and drying it regularly, and washing your hands often, you can evict any bacteria that have decided to take up residence in your water bottle.