Using basic household items such as vinegar, baking soda, bleach, and hydrogen peroxide is the best way how to get mold out of water bottle. These cleaning and cooking agents are great antimicrobial chemicals that will remove nasty and possibly fatal molds and toxins.
Cleaning Agents for Mold Eradication
Aside from being a favorite condiment and souring agent in food, vinegar is also popular for its ability to clean various items. Owing to its low pH and high acidity, vinegar renders the environment unsuitable for mold growth.
Most molds grow at neutral pH (around 7). By combining equal amounts of vinegar and water, the pH is lowered, and the molds in your bottle are killed.
Leave the solution overnight, then rinse the bottle on the following day with water to eliminate the acidic odor. Air-dry the bottle. This method works well with stainless steel bottles.
Unlike vinegar, bleach was specifically made for cleaning purposes. From the chemical name of its salt form — sodium hypochlorite — you can have a good guess on how it works in killing microorganisms.
Once diluted with water, the highly reactive hypochlorous acid attacks the amino acids in the cells of the microorganisms. Amino acids make up the proteins.
Once it is destroyed, the integrity of the microbial cells is compromised. When this occurs, it cannot perform basic life functions anymore.
3. Baking soda
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, acts in the same principle as vinegar. This time, the pH is elevated due to the basic properties of baking soda. The shift in pH is not favorable for mold growth.
As little as one teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in hot water is enough to clean your bottles of molds. Leave the solution overnight, then wash with hot water to remove any remaining particles. Air-dry the water container.
4. Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide, or H2O2, is an antimicrobial agent commonly used in cleaning wound surfaces. The mechanism by which hydrogen peroxide works is very interesting, as will be discussed below.
Bacteria consume hydrogen peroxide and, in the process, release oxygen. This process is visible as bubbles forming upon application of the chemical in wounds. Once there is no more bubbling, it indicates that the area is already sterile.
The oxygen released by those bacteria is detrimental to molds. It oxidizes the mold surface, causing decomposition. Thus, you can kill both bacteria and molds with one chemical.
When using hydrogen peroxides for cleaning water bottles, pour half a cup of 3% solution and swirl. You may leave it overnight, but do not cover it since the oxygen produced must be released to prevent pressure buildup. Rinse and air dry.
The Hurdle Approach
The hurdle approach is a concept in food safety that employs various methods to prevent microbial growth. To understand this, we must know what the requirements for microorganisms to thrive are. Food technology professionals use the acronym FATTOM – Food, Acidity, Time, Temperature, Oxygen, and Moisture to easily remember these requirements.
All living organisms require nutrients to be alive. For microorganisms, the food residue left in your water bottle is a tasty meal. That is why it is crucial to wash your water bottles after every use regularly.
Certain microorganisms can survive in acidic (low pH) and basic (high pH) environments. For molds, most species thrive in the neutral range (around 7).
The time it took between your last use of the water bottle and cleaning it is also very crucial. If left unwashed for too long, you give the microorganisms enough window to grow.
Have you noticed that in the discussion of the cleaning agents, the chemicals are combined with hot water. The reason for this is because the majority of the molds do not tolerate high temperatures.
Like humans, microorganisms require oxygen to proliferate. These types of microbes are called aerobic microorganisms. Some are killed in the presence of oxygen (anaerobes), can function with or without oxygen (facultative anaerobes), or are indifferent to it (aerotolerant anaerobes).
Water is necessary for life. This statement is valid from the largest animals like elephants and whales to the smallest organisms like bacteria and mold. Unlike bacteria, though, molds require only a small amount of water to survive.
Now that you are already familiar with mold and microbial growth conditions, you can already see that you may attack multiple areas to address this problem. For example, combining baking soda and hot water changes the pH and temperature to unfavorable conditions. The microorganisms are now faced with multiple hurdles to survive.
All of these tips are applicable not only for water bottles, but also for other areas in your household that are favorable for mold growth. You may check out these guides on cleaning mold from fridge seals and cleaning fridge water dispensers for more details.
We usually take for granted how our water containers can easily harbor germs. In this article, you learned how to get mold out of water bottle and their requirements to grow. Hopefully, you can stay away from any food-borne illness with this knowledge.