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How To Keep Your Hydration System Clean

There is no need for your hydration bladder to become a microbiological testing ground. With a few simple care guidelines and some basic household supplies, it's easy to maintain a clean, fresh hydration system.

Cleaning

To clean a bladder made of food-grade polyurethane or vinyl you should:

  • Fill the bladder and hose with warm water and no more than a teaspoon of chlorine bleach.
  • Soak overnight
  • Rinse very well with warm water

To remove odors and flavors, try this easy method:

  • Mix 1/2 cup baking soda with 1.5 cups water
  • Pour this mixture into the bladder and shake well
  • Holding the bag away from your face, add 1/2 cup of lemon juice and shake. CAUTION: this will cause gas to build up in the bladder so be sure to let it vent it well
  • After the effervescence has settled (about ten minutes), expel as much air as possible, cap the bladder and let it sit for about 20 minutes
  • Rinse completely several times with hot water

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Storage

First and foremost, never, ever store a hydration bladder wet. Equally as bad is storing a partially full bladder in a pack until the next time you plan to head out.

If, after a particularly long storage period without proper cleaning you discover your bladder is hosting mold and bacteria, the following recipe may be enough to refresh it:

  • Using one teaspoon of chlorine bleach for every liter of warm water, soak the bladder for up to 12 hours
  • Rinse the bladder very thoroughly and dry it completely before storing

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