How to Get the Bad Smell Out of Nalgene Water Bottles

There's nothing like that stinky surprise when you put your water bottle to your mouth, ready to take a swig of fresh, clean water, only to realize your water bottle smells bad. That musty stench can make its way into all kinds of plastic bottles. Luckily, though, even if your Nalgene drink bottle has that nasty funk, there are easy steps you can take to quickly make it smell fresh as new.

Woman holding a water bottle
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How to Get the Bad Smell Out of Nalgene Water Bottles

Stopping the Smell

Whether you're using your water bottle to keep hydrated on the go or as a Nalgene protein shaker at the gym, it may have acquired a bit of a stale stench. It happens when water has sat in the bottle for too long. Maybe you got home from a long weekend and tossed it aside with your other gear. Or you may have let the water bottle you brought to the gym sit with all the dirty dishes for a few days. To avoid a stinky water bottle in the future, make sure you wash it with hot water and dish soap immediately after use. Dry it thoroughly right after washing, especially if you live in a hot or muggy climate, and then leave it hanging upside down on a drying rack to make sure all the moisture gets out before its next use. Keeping it dry while it's not in use will help minimize odors.

Nalgene Dishwasher Option

If your Nalgene isn't super stinky, a good wash might do the trick. If you have a dishwasher, try popping it in the machine and running it through a cycle with strong dishwasher detergent. The powerful wash might be enough to get rid of the funk. Just make sure to keep the bottle on the top rack so that the hot water doesn't melt the plastic bottle.

Eradicating the Stench

Sometimes, though, dish soap alone can't get out the powerful stink from a plastic water bottle. If that's the case, don't panic. There are Nalgene cleaning steps that can still get rid of it. First, measure a 1/4 cup of baking soda. Baking soda is a powerful tool against odors because it is a base, which means that it works to neutralize and absorb the acids that are causing the unpleasant smells.

Pour that baking soda in the Nalgene bottle, and add an eighth a cup of hot, but not boiling, water to it. Then, tightly seal the lid and vigorously shake the mixture around in the bottle. Make sure to shake it enough so that it gets into the underside of the cap, as well.

Finally, rinse the bottle with warm water and give it a sniff. The odor should be gone. If it's not, try the baking soda mixture again, but this time, leave it in there for up to 24 hours. The longer the mixture sits there, the more time it will have to absorb the odor and leave your Nalgene bottle smelling fresh and ready to use again.