Aug 15, 2019
Drinking from a water reservoir.

Water reservoirs (or bladders) are popular ways to carry your water in a daypack and when you’re walking any of Life’s An Adventure’s pack-free guided walks your professional guide will encourage you to sip as you walk to keep your fluids up.

But after some use your water reservoir will need cleaning as bacteria can build up. The best advice is to clean your system regularly. It’s not hard to do, but the shapes are awkward and it helps if you have the right supplies and know a few tips.

Some brands provide their own cleaning products


1. Gather your cleaner, plus dish soap, brushes and drying aids. (you may have to by these seperate from the bladder but most brands like Camelbak sell cleaning products for them)
2. Mix hot water and cleaner, then fill the system.
3. Soak and drain, then scrub and rinse.
4. Allow to air dry.


You’re likely to clean your reservoir more often if you have the right supplies on hand. Special equipment isn’t required, but if you want to make the job easier and more thorough, it’s helpful to have tools designed for the task.

You’ll need a mild dish soap, plus any of the following cleaning solutions:

1. Reservoir cleaning tablets: Just pop in a tablet specifically formulated to remove deposits that can build up in your hydration system.
2. Baking soda: an all-around cleaner that’s effective against odours. We recommend ¼ cup of baking soda in ¾ cups of water per litre of volume in your reservoir.
3. Household bleach: kills bacteria and viruses. Use 2-5 drops of unscented household bleach per litre of water. For an even thorough job combine the bleach and baking soda together.
4. Lemon juice: helps neutralise strong odours. Use ¼ cup of lemon juice per litre of water. It can also be combined with bleach and/or baking soda.

Basic water bladder cleaning supplies


1. Cleaning brushes for reservoir and drinking tube: These can help you get into all the nooks and crannies more successfully.
2. Kitchen scrubbing pad or scrub brush: You probably already have these at home, but they may not get to all the hard-to-reach places.
3. A knotted cord: The cord has to be longer than your drinking tube and the knot should be large enough to fit snugly inside it. Simply pull the cord and knot through the tube a few times during the scrubbing process.


The key is to keep the bladder fully open to allow air to circulate. It’s preferable to hang or place the bladder upside down so water can drip out.

1. Reservoir hanger: Most will fit any bladder, but a few are only compatible with certain reservoir models.
2. Clothespins and a clothes hanger
3. Kitchen whisk: Slip it inside to hold the bladder wide open.
4. Paper towels: Stuff the reservoir with enough to hold it wide open.

And that’s it! Now get out there. Start walking – and stay rehydrated!

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