Some days, you might have a space-out moment and leave your favorite reusable water container at home. Thirsty and on the run, you quickly buy a single-use disposable plastic water bottle at the gas station on your way to work. When you finish the 16 ounces, you decide to reuse the plastic water bottle all day to really get your money’s worth out of it (and okay, fine, to offset some of that guilt for what that plastic water bottle does to the environment). Heck, you might even get ambitious and decide to wash the plastic water bottle in the top rack of your dishwasher to make it last even longer before successfully recycling it. You’re just being environmentally friendly, right?

Your heart’s in the right place, but we have some bad news for you: reusing a disposable plastic water bottle that’s meant to be single use can be really bad for you. Here’s why.

Disposable Water Bottles Are Hard to Clean

Think about your typical plastic water bottle. It has lots of tiny ridges, a small opening, and an oddly-shaped bottom (hold your snickers in, please). Even with the best bottle cleaning brushes money can buy, you’ll have a hard time cleaning every nook and cranny. Bacteria and germs will then thrive in that wet, humid environment, and the gross-out factor should be enough to make you want to invest in a reusable water bottle right away.

They’re Breeding Grounds for Germs

All the aforementioned cracks and ridges? Yeah, they’re bacteria’s equivalent to a spacious sunlit 2BR with a den that can be turned into a nursery in a popular neighborhood – that is, ideal breeding grounds. Washing and rewashing the water bottle can make the plastic physically break down, which manifests in visible thinning and cracks. Dangerous germs and bacteria can set up residence in these ridges and cracks, turning your once-pristine disposable water bottle into something you wouldn’t want to touch with a ten-foot pole.

Even if you do wash your single-use disposable water bottle, that may not be enough to keep germs at bay. Again, like we mentioned above, disposable water bottles are hard to clean. Plus, if you wash at a too-high temperature, you can accelerate the breakdown of plastic, making it even more receptive to germs and bacteria. It’s a lose-lose situation.


Instead of trying to reuse your single-use disposable water bottle until it physically falls apart, make the investment in one (or a few) truly reusable water bottles. You’ll still stay hydrated on the go, and you’ll avoid the pesky bacteria that linger in disposable water bottles (especially if you follow our water bottle cleaning guidelines).


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