Stainless steel bottles are becoming more and more popular than their plastic and glass counterparts. This is because they are sleek, durable, and versatile. However, despite their ability to resist corrosion and many forms of contamination, they still need to be cleaned regularly. But how far can you go when cleaning stainless steel bottles? Can you sterilize, disinfect, or sanitize stainless steel bottles?
Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about in this post.
What is the difference between sterilization, disinfection, and sanitization?
Sanitization is the act of removing bacteria and other microorganisms from something, significantly reducing their numbers. Ultimately, the goal of sanitization is to bring down these numbers to a safe level that has been set by public health guidelines.
As such, sanitization is usually repeated regularly to keep the leftover microorganisms from multiplying to numbers beyond the set safe level.
Disinfection takes things a step further than sanitization. It kills harmful bacteria and viruses on surfaces. To achieve their goal, disinfectants need to rest on a surface for a certain duration.
But if you’re looking for a more thorough approach than disinfection, consider sterilization. This process kills all the microorganisms on a surface or object, including pores. That’s why it’s usually used on surgical instruments.
Do stainless steel bottles grow bacteria?
Although stainless steel bottles have sleek surfaces that are unsuitable for bacterial growth, they can get bacteria from time to time, especially when they aren’t cleaned regularly or stored properly.
How often should you clean/ sanitize stainless steel bottles?
To avoid dirt and dirt buildup, it’s best to rinse out your stainless steel bottle after every use, especially when you use it for drinks other than water. Once you do this, you can use soapy water only once a week and be okay.
After all, a 2018 study showed that stainless steel water bottles that were washed with soapy water had similar bacterial levels as those rinsed with tap water only.
Ultimately, the use of soapy water is just a measure we recommend to deal with any grime that may have built up in hidden spots over time. Whatever the case, the more frequently you clean your stainless steel bottle, the safer you’ll be.
Can you sterilize stainless steel bottles?
Yes, you can sterilize stainless steel bottles.
How do you sterilize stainless steel water bottles?
To sterilize your stainless steel water bottles, you’ll need to boil them for around 5 minutes. Keep in mind that sterilizing stainless steel bottles isn’t necessary these days – disinfection is usually more than enough.
Can stainless steel bottles be disinfected?
Yes, stainless steel bottles can be disinfected.
How do you disinfect a stainless steel water bottle?
You can disinfect a stainless steel water bottle using 3% hydrogen peroxide. This can even get rid of any odors coming from your bottle.
To do this, follow the steps below:
- Clean your bottle with warm soapy water as you usually would
- Add approximately 60 ml of 3% hydrogen peroxide into the bottle and close it with its lid
- Shake the bottle and then pour out the hydrogen peroxide
- Rinse the bottle thoroughly and leave it out to dry
Does vinegar disinfect stainless steel?
No, vinegar can’t disinfect stainless steel. This is because it doesn’t meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards of what a disinfectant should be able to do – kill 99.9% of harmful viruses and bacteria.
While vinegar contains a powerful substance called acetic acid that can dissolve grime, it can only kill or remove a few microorganisms. These include Salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli), Listeria monocytogenes, and in some cases Influenza A virus.
Do you need to sanitize stainless steel bottles?
While you don’t need to regularly sanitize stainless steel bottles, you’ll need to do it if your bottle grows mold or other microorganisms.
How do you sanitize stainless steel bottles?
To sanitize stainless steel bottles, you can use baking soda or distilled white vinegar.
If you choose to sanitize stainless steel bottles with baking soda, follow the steps below:
- Measure a teaspoon of baking soda and add it to your bottle
- Fill up the remaining space with water to make a solution
- Close the bottle with its lid and let it sit overnight
- In the morning, use the solution to scrub the bottle and its lid then rinse them thoroughly
If you choose to sanitize stainless steel bottles with distilled white vinegar, follow the steps below:
- Fill the bottle halfway with distilled white vinegar and fill the remaining half with water
- Close the bottle with its lid and shake it severally
- Let the bottle sit overnight
- In the morning, rinse the bottle and its lid thoroughly and then leave them out to dry
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t use any other type of vinegar to sanitize stainless steel bottles.
Can I put vinegar in my stainless steel water bottle?
Yes, you can store vinegar in stainless steel water bottles, but only if it’s diluted. The acetic acid in this vinegar isn’t strong enough to harm stainless steel. In fact, this vinegar can be processed in stainless steel barrels.
Other materials that can safely be in contact with vinegar include plastic, glass, wood, and enamel. Whatever you do though, don’t put vinegar in bottles made of aluminum or other metals – it will corrode them.
What happens if you leave stainless steel in vinegar?
If you leave stainless steel in concentrated vinegar for a long time, it can get corroded. You can only do this with diluted vinegar. That’s why soaking instructions always advise you to further dilute your diluted white vinegar before soaking your stainless steel objects in it.
Will a mixture of baking soda and vinegar damage stainless steel?
Since baking soda is a mild abrasive, it can’t damage stainless steel, even when it’s mixed with diluted white vinegar. This is only possible if it’s mixed with concentrated vinegar.
Only disinfect when necessary
When it comes down to it, you don’t have to sterilize, disinfect, or even sanitize stainless steel bottles regularly. They usually do okay with daily rinses and regular washes with soapy water.
It’s only when you notice unpleasant smells, mold, or other microorganisms that you’ll have to sanitize or disinfect your stainless steel bottles.