Study Finds Reusable Water Bottles Hold More Bacteria Than Toilet Seats, Pet's Drinking Bowls

From a sustainability aspect, reusable water bottles have been a trend for several years now. However, despite our love for our favorite reusable water bottles — Hydroflasks, Stanley Cups or collapsible bottles, you name it—a recent study found that, without proper care, these can harbor more germs than a toilet seat.

Yes, that’s right. These bottles can harbour around 40,000 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat.


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What study finds

A team of researchers from US-based swabbed different parts of water bottles including the spout lid, screw-top lid, straw lid and squeeze-top lid, three times each, and found two types of bacteria present – gram-negative rods and bacillus, HuffPost reported.

Gram-negative bacteria can cause infections that are increasingly resistant to antibiotics – while certain types of bacillus can result in gastrointestinal issues.

They compared the cleanliness of the bottles to household objects and stated that they contain twice as many germs as the kitchen sink, can harbour four times the amount of bacteria as a computer mouse, 14 times more than a pet’s drinking bowl and 40,000 times more than a toilet seat.


But, why are bottles so dirty?

“The human mouth is home to a large number and range of different bacteria,” Imperial College London molecular microbiologist, Dr Andrew Edwards, said, as per New York Post. “So it’s not surprising that drinking vessels are covered in microbes,” he added.

However, even though bottles may serve as a breeding ground for high numbers of bacteria, a microbiologist at the University of Reading, Dr Simon Clarke, said that it is not necessarily dangerous. “I’ve never heard of someone getting sick from a water bottle. Similarly, taps are clearly not a problem: when did you last hear of someone getting ill from pouring a glass of water from a tap? Water bottles are likely to be contaminated with the bacteria that are already in people’s mouths,” Clarke said.


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Which is the safest bottle to use?

Squeeze-top bottles were ultimately the cleanest of the three styles tested, with a tenth of the amount of bacteria as one with a screw-top or straw-fitted lid.

Additionally, cleaning your bottle needs to be a part of your daily routine.

Experts recommend washing it at least once a day with hot soapy water, and sanitizing it at least once a week – though increase the habit if you’ve been unwell, drink from it while eating, or are filling it with something other than water.

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