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How do I solve a moldy-smelling Nalgene bottle?
June 25, 2004 8:00 AM   Subscribe

How should I get the mold smell out of my Nalgene polycarbonate water bottles? Efferdent failed.
posted by trharlan to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I usually just use really hot water, soap, shake it up, and let it sit for a day with the lid on. But that probably didn't work for you. There's probably some sort of special soap or something, without having to resort to something like bleach.
posted by gramcracker at 8:04 AM on June 25, 2004


See this thread.
posted by BlueTrain at 8:09 AM on June 25, 2004


I thought the whole point of Nalgene bottle was that it didn't get moldy smell?

(I'm seriously wondering, not trying to be a smart ass this time)
posted by falconred at 8:23 AM on June 25, 2004


I use strong green tea to get rid of the smells when I reuse glass jars. I have a bunch of stale old green tea and I just put in a couple of scoops with some boiling water and leave overnight. Seems to do the trick for me, ymmv.
posted by milovoo at 8:26 AM on June 25, 2004


I second all the suggestions from the coffee thread for white vinegar. Vinegar managed to get out the moldy smell fine, though I had to scrub with a soap a few times after to wash out the vinegar stench.
posted by Zosia Blue at 8:43 AM on June 25, 2004


With other plastic containers (not polycarb, so YMMV), I've successfully used a very strong mix of water & baking soda, left in the container overnight & shaken occasionally.
posted by aramaic at 8:58 AM on June 25, 2004


I use a tablespoon of bleach in about a quart of water left to soak overnight to clean water bottles. Removes odours and will kill anything up to even the most resistant bacteria.
posted by bonehead at 9:14 AM on June 25, 2004


In the future, store them with a tablespoon of baking soda in 'em.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:23 AM on June 25, 2004


Baking soda will help with the odor but unlike bleach, it doesn't have any intrinsic anti-mold properties. I know that white vinegar is germicidal, but it needs to sit on the affected surface for a while to do its magic. A more eco-friendly option than bleach is good ol' hydrogen peroxide (plus baking soda, for some 6th grade science fun). Another option: Borax.
posted by Izzy at 10:11 AM on June 25, 2004


I'm doubting he's got any sort of mold. I certainly never have found any sort of mold in my Naglene. Mind, I wash them after use. I think the "mold smell" is just the stale smell of a long-sitting Naglene bottle.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:33 AM on June 25, 2004


Try sodium hydroxide (NaOH) or sodium carbonate (NaCO2).
posted by the fire you left me at 10:40 AM on June 25, 2004


I definitely had real mold-- or some other semi-oganic black goo. I cleaned the mold off, but the odor persists. Good suggestions so far, thanks everyone.
posted by trharlan at 11:00 AM on June 25, 2004


Related question: I get a weird, white, filmy build-up around the top of my Nalgene bottles where the caps screw on. Is that just from hard water? Unlike five fresh fish, I almost never clean mine, or even completely empty them out before refilling...is this a major health hazard?
posted by jbrjake at 11:14 AM on June 25, 2004


Molds can be resistant to vinegar---some can grow on pickles, for instance. Either peroxide or bleach are fine: both are "cold sterilizers". No other common substance is considered acceptable, from a medical or decontamination perspective. Peroxide leaves less (no!) residue, but doesn't have a long shelf life (a month or two away from light).
posted by bonehead at 12:33 PM on June 25, 2004


Ewwww, then. Might be worth pitching 'em, then. Naglenes aren't very expensive, and mold can be very health-hazardous.

You can puchase 35% hydrogen peroxide from a farm supply or hydroponics store. Should nuke the mold no problem.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:34 PM on June 25, 2004


I usually soak the whole bottle in a dishtub full of water and white vinegar overnight, then run it through the dishwasher. The vinegar does a miraculous job of getting out the old orange juice taste, alcoholic residue, etc.

Otherwise, buy another one. Target has fake nalgenes now that seem to be just as good, and may not support animal testing labs quite as directly. Maybe.
posted by bonheur at 5:05 PM on June 25, 2004


If you have access to a microwave, fill your nalgene partway with soapy water and don't cover it tightly. Nuke on high for ~5mins, and you should have a nearly brand new bottle. Works for me every time.
posted by nprigoda at 8:38 PM on June 25, 2004


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