It’s an essential accessory for staying hydrated.
But there could be black mould lurking inside your reusable water bottle, if you’re not cleaning it properly.
On top of simply being incredibly gross, it could also be really bad for your health.
Experts say inhaling or touching mould spores can cause allergic reactions — with symptoms such as sneezing, red eyes and skin rash, as well as asthma attacks.
It comes after a mother revealed last week her daughter had become unwell due to the build-up of mould in her water bottle.
TikTok user @anahitasethi shared her mouldy water bottle (pictured) with the caption: ‘Is every two weeks not enough to wash a water bottle I’m confused and scarred’
And @zeeeeeeraaaa shared that she wondered why she was sick all the time before showing the mould sitting on her water bottle
Posting a cleaning hack using rice, baking soda and vinegar, @bobbibillard shared her mould-covered plastic water bottle
Researchers behind US-based waterfilterguru.com carried out one of the grimmest studies into the bugs lingering in our water bottles yet. The study examined how colony-forming units (CFUs) were inside four popular types of water bottle. This is a unit commonly used to estimate the concentration of bacteria in a test sample. On average, they contained 20.8million CFUs of gram-negative bacteria
Mould is a form of fungus that thrives in damp conditions.
This means that a constantly wet water bottle with little to no air flow is the perfect breeding ground.
And mould, of which there are 100,000 unique types, continues to grow until it is washed, so keeping on top of your water bottle cleaning is key.
Some types are harmless, while others are toxic.
And black mould, commonly found in water bottles, is one of the most potent.
TikTok hacks for banishing water bottle mould
The rice hack
Fill your water bottle with half a cup of uncooked rice, a squeeze of fairy liquid and top with half a cup of water.
Put the lid on and shake, then empty out the rice over a colander and rinse with water.
Hydrogen peroxide soaking
Soak your bottle, and any straws or lids in soapy water, then soak just the lids in hydrogen peroxide.
After soaking, use a toothbrush to scrub into the crevices. Rinse out with water and let air dry.
Crafty pipe cleaners
Soak the bottle and lid in hot soapy water.
Then scrub the bottle with a bottle brush and use a craft pipe cleaner to clean the straw – by threading it through and pulling back and forth.
Rinse both with water.
Dr Ross Perry, a GP at Chartfield Surgery in Putney, said that taking a few sips from a mouldy water bottle is unlikely to cause harm, but warned of the dangers of doing so regularly.
He said: ‘Drinking out of a water bottle containing black mould is going to make you sick if you ingest it. It can cause stomach cramps, diarrhoea, vomiting and generally make you feel unwell.
‘Other health issues may include sneezing, nasal congestion, dry, scaly skin, coughing, itchy nose, eyes, and/or throat
‘Continuing to drink out of a bottle with black mould will make even the strongest of immune systems weaken.’
But for people with asthma, allergies or a weakened immune system, drinking from a bottle riddled with mould could prove even more dangerous.
‘For individuals with respiratory problems such as asthma, this is also likely to make your symptoms worse alongside other potentially nasty infections,’ Dr Perry, who is also the founder of skin clinic Cosmedics, added.
And while there are several methods of cleaning the mould, Dr Perry recommends throwing the bottle away if the mould is visible.
He also suggested you opt for plain bottles in light colours, as he says it can be hard to spot mould when a bottle is patterned or in a dark colour.
Also, the warmer the weather, the more likely you are to find mould.
Jason Tetro, microbiologist and author of The Germ Files, said mould needs ‘a nice, warm environment to grow, which is over 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15C)’.
There are many ways you can clean your water bottle, with various tablets or home-remedies to choose from.
TikTok user @miseenplace_au shares videos on how to removed mould from water bottles (Pictured is one she showed during a TV demonstration)
Another of @miseenplace_au’s TikTok tutorials show her using rice, washing up liquid and water to remove mould from a water bottle
One user @healthsafetyfam tried what he called the ‘q-tip challenge’ – where you drag a cotton bud along a water bottle crevice to test how much mould there is
Mould is a form of fungus that thrives in damp conditions. This means that a constantly wet water bottle with little to no air flow is the perfect breeding ground
And one TikToker @fleximami shared a video of a radio show where a $200 water bottle was tested for mould. She put her finger around the top and then wipes the mould on a piece of paper
Some people suggest soaking the bottle overnight in white wine vinegar and water, while others opt for cleaning tablets such as Milton.
It comes after a mother claimed last week that a mouldy water bottle had made her child unwell.
Posting on a UK Facebook group, Toni claimed her daughter’s AirUp bottle – which makes water taste of flavours such as watermelon and cola – had black mould in the crevices of the lid.
In the post, entitled AirUp Bottles, she wrote: ‘Guys, I’m a real fan of the concept of these bottles but please check your lids.
‘We wash ours thoroughly with soap and water every single day.
‘Yet one of our five bottles has signs of black mould residue in the crevices in the lids.’
She went on to write: ‘I noticed it after my little girl had been saying she felt poorly for ages.’
In response, a spokesperson for AirUp said: ‘Our drinking system, though innovative, still needs regular cleaning – just as any other re-usable drinking container.
‘To clean our bottles, including the lid, we recommend using a small brush with water and mild detergent – that helps getting into the hard-reach areas.’
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