How to Clean a Water Bottle. Cleaning water bottles may seem like an easy task to the casual observer, but the bottles do mysteriously get dirty when we only put water in them. Used water bottles can even smell like a wet dog. If they smell that bad and look that bad, there must be something bad in there. Clean that water bottle with these steps and eliminate the odor.
Wash brand new water bottles with warm water and a pea size amount of soap. Dry the bottle out with a dry bleached towel so you don't transfer more bacteria to the bottle. Let the bottle finish drying open and sitting upright. This will get rid of the plastic smell.
Add bleach to dirty water bottles and then fill the bottle with water. Keep the bottle far away from children. Allow the bottle to sit for at least 15 minutes. Rinse several times.
Clean the water bottle with a small amount of liquid dish detergent and water, real lemon, or bottle sanitizer. Add real lemon to the bottle with water and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Use bottle sterilizer if all else fails. This can be found near the baby bottles.
Air dry the bottle upright. Don't place the bottle upside down on a towel because if the towel hasn't been washed in bleach it may contain small amounts of bacteria. Air drying upside down on a rack works well.
Store the water bottle open with the lid in an easily accessible place. Don't lose the lid. Any leftover water will evaporate instead of starting a mold colony in the bottle.
Throw the bottle away if the mold is too thick to see through or is too difficult to clean off.