Having a hydration pack is the best way to keep hydrated on any outdoor adventure. The pack guarantees a constant and uninterrupted supply of water. Hydration bladders are convenient and easy to carry around like portable water purifiers. With the drinking valve inches away from your mouth, there is no other brilliant way of carrying water around. However, most people ignore or simply forget to keep their bladders clean and hygienic. In this article, we will discuss, how to clean a hydration pack properly after and before use.
If your hydration goes without proper cleaning for long, it will be affected by bacteria, mildew, mold, or bugs. Unclean hydration bladders are associated with bad odor and plastic taste as well. A clean hydration pack transforms into a healthy and enjoyable outdoor experience.
The following is a detailed breakdown of all you need to know about cleaning a hydration pack:
What is the importance of cleaning a hydration pack?
It is not healthy to use your hydration pack several times without cleaning. Why is this so? Most people do not just use their hydration bladders to carry water alone. Some of them carry flavored water or energy drinks. Energy and flavored drinks have sugar. Well, sugar is known to provide ideal breeding conditions for bacteria alongside other infection-causing agents.
On the other hand, unclean hydration packs host huge contents of moisture. Moisture encourages the formation of mildew, bugs, and mold. Such impurities can cause a bad stomach and yield an unpleasant odor. Besides, cleaning will increase the life of your hydration pack.
How to clean a Hydration Pack properly?
The importance of keeping your bladder clean goes without saying. Here is a comprehensive guide on cleaning a hydration bladder:
To begin with, you need to have an antiseptic or a disinfecting agent. This could be baking soda, lemon juice, bleach, or anything containing elements that can kill bacteria. Use warm water to fill up the bladder. NOT boiling water. Proceed by adding about two spoons of any disinfectant.
Mix the cleaning agent and water
- Mix the water and the cleaning agent by shaking the reservoir vigorously. It also ensures that the cleaning agent spreads to the corners of the bladder evenly.
- Similarly, remember to clean the tube and valve. Do this by holding the bladder upside down and squeezing the bite valve. Of course, doing this a couple of times results in a cleaner tube or valve.
Give sufficient time to disinfect
- Do not empty the bladder just yet. It is advisable to leave the water and the cleaning agents for about an hour or less. The strategy allows the disinfectant and warm water to sufficiently eliminate any bacteria in the reservoir.
- Empty the bladder and rinse it with a little soap to remove any remaining traces of soda or bleach. Repeat this with pure water to ensure all the cleaning liquid is out.
- The outcome will be better if you do the washing with a small sponge or brush. You can also buy special cleaning kits for bladders. They come in handy when cleaning the valve.
Dry it properly
- After washing thoroughly, it is now time to dry. Try to shake out any excess water from the bladder before leaving it to air dry. A thin paper towel or toilet paper will be efficient.
- The last stage of cleaning a bladder is drying. All the cleaning will be useless without proper drying. Spread it upside down, unsealed, on a coat hanger to air dry. Simply ensure that all moisture is eliminated. Moisture facilitates the growth of mold and algae.
How do you dry a hydration bladder?
It is imperative to have your bladder dry. This ensures top-notch hygiene, as it is the water reservoir. A wet or moist water reservoir is a perfect breeding ground for mildew and mold. Moreover, it yields a gross taste and a bad smell.
Always, you can evade such health risks by ensuring that it dries after use. Sadly most people do not know how to dry a hydration bladder. Let help you unravel this through the steps below:
Steps for drying your hydration bladder:
- After your run or hiking trip, drain out all the water from the reservoir. Squeeze water from the water bladder ensuring that it is above the mouthpiece. This will also get rid of any water in the hose.
- Next, you focus on the fill opening. You can wipe it dry using a clean dish towel or paper towel. Similarly, you can let it dry on its own though this is a long shot.
- The bladder needs to be dried thoroughly. Thus, hang the bladder upside down with the cap open.
- Make sure that it is hung in a cool dry place.
- Ensure the reservoir is completely dry before storage.
How do you clean a hydration bladder tube?
The tube is the hose that channels water from the reservoir of a hydration pack to your mouth. Just like the bladder, it deserves to be cleaned. It is vulnerable to bacteria too. Cleaning the tube is easy. You simply unplug it from the valve and bladder. After that, run soap or lemon juice water through its inner surface.
Allow some water to pour in through the end with the drinking valve. Then hold it upside down using the end attached to the bladder to drain out the water. Try this several times for better results.
How do you get the plastic taste out of a water bladder?
Having plastic taste in drinking water is unpleasant. The bladder is the most vital part of a hydration pack as it holds water. Most water bladders tend to have a slight plastic taste especially when new. It can be disgusting at times although it is pretty normal.
Fortunately, the awful plastic taste can be fixed. It is achieved by soaking the bladder with a variety of disinfecting agents. The agents include lemon, baking soda, vinegar, lime juice, or bleaching solution.
Disconnect the hose
First, disconnect the hose from the bladder then add a reasonable amount of disinfecting agent into the bladder.
Fill the bladder with water and place it in the freezer
Thereafter, fill the bladder with water to about three quarters and seal it up. Place the filled bladder in a freezer. Let it freeze for an hour or more.
Rinse with warm water
Get it from the freezer, shake it, drain the water and rinse it with warm water. Rinsing gets rid of any disinfecting agent that may be stuck in the bladder.
Now your hydration bladder is clean and fresh. Enjoy a plastic taste-free hydration pack on your next adventure!
I hope you have learned how to clean a hydration pack. You can always refer to the guide whenever you get lost. Just remember to clean, rinse and dry your water bladder in between outdoor activities. Store the water bladder in a refrigerator to avoid the formation of scum and mold.