Can You Get Sick From a Camelbak?

CamelBak is best known for their hydration packs and water bottles. But many customers have complained of getting ill after using their CamelBak products.

Reusable water bottles are ideal for anyone who is particularly outdoorsy, as it cuts down on plastic waste from using single-use water bottles. But it’s important to make sure that your reusable bottles are properly cleaned out. Just like reusable straws, moisture can be trapped, allowing harmful bacteria to grow.

It is possible to get sick from a CamelBak, especially if you’re not cleaning it after every use or not cleaning it thoroughly enough. Make sure you know exactly how to clean your bottle and let it dry properly as well.

Are CamelBak water bottles safe?

As long as you take care of your CamelBak properly and clean it regularly, CamelBak water bottles are absolutely safe.

When you haven’t cleaned your water bottle thoroughly enough, moisture can make the perfect growing condition for mold, which can spread even further. The most common symptoms of exposure to mold are a sore throat, coughing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose. It can also induce asthma attacks or cause you to wheeze.

Mold isn’t always easily spotted, especially in a reusable water bottle. Many bottles aren’t transparent, and it’s possible for the mold to grow in small, unseen places. If a lot of mold has grown, you may find the inside of the bottle is slimy. Mold can also grow inside the drinking tube if you aren’t cleaning it with a brush.

Just rinsing isn’t enough to get rid of all traces of mold, so it’s very important to know how to properly clean your CamelBak between uses.

How to clean your CamelBak

The first step to cleaning your CamelBak is to get the proper equipment. CamelBak sells cleaning kits for their products, as well as brush kits and cleaning tablets. You can buy packs of CamelBak Cleaning Tabs as well as their cleaning kits on Amazon.

Instructions for cleaning different CamelBak products are included in their FAQ, but the following is applicable for all:

  • Use warm water and dish soap.
  • Clean after every use.
  • Don’t microwave and avoid very hot liquids.
  • Dry properly and fully.
  • If there’s a tube, use a brush to clean it.
  • Take apart the pieces before cleaning and only put them back together after drying.

If a CamelBak product tastes strange, the company advises filling it with water three-quarters full, adding a tablespoon of baking soda, and letting it sit for an hour before rinsing it out.

Check out their Care & Cleaning FAQs for more information about different product lines.

At the very least, you should properly rinse out your Camelbak after every use and clean it thoroughly after 2-3 uses with soap and water. Always make sure to let it dry fully before putting it back together or away.

Frequently Asked Questions about CamelBak

Some CamelBak products can be placed on the top rack of a dishwasher, as long as high heat settings aren’t used. Make sure to take apart things like lids so moisture doesn’t linger in any cracks. For instance, stainless steel water bottle lids can be washed on the top rack but they must be deconstructed into bottle caps, spout caps, tethers, and bite valves.

CamelBak products are designed to hold water, but plastic distorts with too much heat. You may shorten the life of a reusable water bottle by using it to hold hot drinks, so be prepared to replace them sooner.

It’s well-documented by many customers that CamelBak products do grow mold, usually because they haven’t been cleaned frequently or thoroughly enough. Follow the steps above to reduce your likelihood of getting sick from mold.

CamelBak is devoted to being eco-friendly, and their bottles are all recyclable, priding themselves on introducing BPA-free bottles. The company has a good track record of achieving sustainability goals, such as “pressuring [their supplier] for years for more sustainable material“.


  1. I’ve currently got a nasty tummy bug after drinking from my CamelBak without cleaning it since I last used it about 3 weeks ago….not a mistake I will ever make again! Thanks for the tips.

    1. The nipple on my insulated bottle is turning pink. I can’t get rid of the pink color. I now how bronchitis and am wondering it the two issues are related.

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