A water bottle is one of the first things you invest in when you start a new workout routine—along with shoes and active wear. Some people pick a fancy metal sports bottle in psychedelic colors, while others rely on reusable plastic bottles for their hydration needs. Well, you should consider putting a little more thought into the bottle you buy because the water bottle you use during your workout could actually be making you sick.
These sealed traps of moisture breed bacteria and mold which aren't always visible to the naked eye. No matter how much you clean, scrub, rinse, and air dry some water bottles are just more likely than others to get a little grody. Not just for the germaphobes, every gym goer and workout enthusiast should arm themselves with the right information to keep their hydration pure througout their cardio, ab, or strength training workout.
|Plastic Sports Bottle
||Glass Sports Bottle
||Stainless-Steel Sports Bottle
|Understand The Make: According to the NHANE survey, BPA and phthalates were among the most dreaded chemicals present in plastic bottled water once upon a time. Fast-forward to today and you will find food grade bottles that are free from these chemicals. That said, if the temperature of the water is extreme (too hot or too cold), it could still cause the chemicals to be released into the water.
||Understand The Make: You can’t go wrong with glass bottles as the only byproduct they release is harmless silica (sand). The material has a long shelf-life and is recyclable. That said, don't drink water that's been sitting in the glass bottle overnight or is stale. It could've turned acidic because of the oxygenated dust and microbes it gets exposed to when you leave the bottle cap open.
||Understand The Make: These sports bottles are made with food grade stainless steel, so you needn't worry about the release of poisonous metals in your water. However, some reports have cited the occasional presence of BPA in stainless steel bottles. Again, don't have stale water from a stainless steel water bottle; the metallic taste will be a telling sign that something's amiss.
- It is the most durable material.
- High quality plastic bottles are air tight.
- They're available in a variety of attractive shapes and designs because plastic is so pliable.
- The bottles are light-weight and more or less scratch and dent-resistant.
- It is the most environmentally friendly—in manufacturing and recycling.
- With the right clasp, glass water bottles can be kept air tight.
- They do not alter the taste of the water in any manner.
- Glass is easy to clean and transparent enough for you to spot limescale, greasy patches or other toxins.
- With a strong make, stainless steel bottles can last you for years.
- They help maintain the temperature of the water to suit your needs for a period of time owing to the insulation the metal provides.
- Once the plastic has reached its expiry date (unidentifiable under the naked eye), it will begin to release toxins into your water without warning.
- The microbes present on the bottle and the chemicals from the plastic can change the taste of the water.
- Very bad for the environment, plastic bottles cannot be recycled and often end up in the oceans where they pose a threat to marine life.
- Breaks easy; that's perhaps the biggest disadvantage.
- Also, glass is quite heavy which makes it the least popular option among gym goers, even though the material is the safest.
- The release of BPA and metallic residue is a red flag.
- Also, because one can't see through the metal, it's very difficult to judge the cleanliness levels of the bottle on the inside.
Any place that traps moisture can grow bacteria if left unchecked. Over time you may even notice a green residue (moss), bmore noticeable in a glass or plastic bottle; but also totally likely in metal bottles as well.
To disinfect thoroughly, get rid of the limescale, germs, bacteria and residue, here are some best practices for cleaning your gym bottle:
- Everyday... Fill it with hot water, rinse with a clean sponge and detergent, and wash off the soap with warm water. Do the same with the lid and leave out to air-dry overnight.
- Weekly... Fill the bottle one-fifth way with white vinegar and the rest with soap water. Let it sit overnight before you wash thoroughly in the morning. You could alternately use a mix of 1-2tbsp baking soda with water.
- Monthly... Using a bottle cleaning brush with soft bristles that won't damage the metal or scratch the glass, get into the insides of the water bottle with your vinegar/bleach solution. Always, leave it in overnight and let it air-dry thoroughly the next day.
Things To Remember
- Don't share your training / sports water bottles with other gym goers/friends/family. Always keep it separately even at home for exclusive use.
- Remember that the shared space where everyone works out is already full of bacteria. As important as it is to clean the inside of your bottle, gym goers, Pilates enthusiasts and track runners must ensure they clean the surface of their sippers thoroughly, too.
- If you've been unwell recently, it's advisable to do the monthly cleaning ritual right away so that you don't experience a relapse due to the lingering viruses on your bottle.
- Try not to set your bottle down on the floor / ground which traps all the germs people track in with their shoes.
- Don't use your bottle to cool down your hot and bothered skin at the gym; this is just unhygenic and could contaminate both surfaces.
- Don't carry your bottle into the rest room, ever!