With all the sneezing, coughing, backwashing, and general not-covering-their-mouths-itis kids tend to do, keeping their water bottles clean and germ-free is essential. And while a dishwasher is a great option (and all of our kids water bottles ARE top-rack dishwasher safe), sometimes you want to do a more thorough, hands-on clean for your parental peace of mind.

We get that. Here’s your complete guide to how to wash kids water bottles.

Here’s What You’ll Need

Our secret weapon for parents who want to really clean their kids water bottles? An arsenal of water bottle and travel mug cleaning brushes. They’re wallet-friendly, and you can use them for washing other small household items too.

You’ll also need dishwashing soap. Some of the parents in our office prefer all-natural options, like Mrs. Meyers Dish Soap or Clorox® Green Works Natural Dishwashing Liquid. For a stronger clean, check your pantry for baking soda or white vinegar.

Finally, clear off a designated area of your counter and lay down a towel so you can store your water bottle upside down to dry overnight. If you have a dish drying rack, that works perfectly.

Here’s How to Do It

Pour out any leftover liquid. If your child has a kids water bottle with a straw, remove the straw for a more thorough clean. Fill the kids water bottle with a few drops of dishwashing soap and warm water, then screw the lid back on and shake the kids water bottle for 30 seconds or so (if you want to get the kids involved, this is a step they’ll probably love!).

Next, use your water bottle brush to scrub the inside of the bottle (this is especially crucial for kids bottles because they tend to have narrow mouths, so be thorough!).

You can also try soaking the kids water bottle, lid, and straw for ten minutes in hot, soapy water.

Need a deeper clean to get rid of any lingering milk or juice? Here’s where the baking soda or white vinegar come in. After your soap wash, rinse the kids bottle and fill it one-fifth with white vinegar, and the rest with water. Let it sit overnight, and thoroughly rinse it out in the morning.

Alternatively, add 1-2 heaping tablespoons of baking soda and warm water to your child’s water bottle. Allow to soak for a few hours, then rinse out thoroughly and let the lid and water bottle dry separately; then, store them separately too, so no hidden moisture gets trapped between the lid and the body.

Many kids water bottles also come with a straw. Again, Contigo kids water bottle straws are top-rack dishwasher safe, but they can also easily be hand-washed. We recommend using one of the smaller sizes of the water bottle cleaning brushes and using that to scrub the inside of the straw.

 

Once you’re done cleaning your kids water bottle or kids stainless steel water bottle, lay each piece out separately to dry (this means keep the lid removed and straw untwisted). Always store your kids water bottle this way to allow the parts to dry completely. When you’re ready to hand the water bottle back over to your child, just reassemble the lid, and fill up the kids bottle with their drink of choice!

 

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