Drinking From Moldy Water Bottle

Society may not discuss mold very often, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be aware of hotspots where mold loves to grow. Since one such place happens to be our beloved water bottles, it’s up to us to actively work on preventing this fungus among us from contaminating our water. Clean water doesn’t just stop at filtration; it also extends to the bottle itself.

While you may be attached to that specific bottle, moldy particles are also attached to it as well. They may not be visible, but an entire colony can grow inside (which could be way longer than you think), producing spores and potentially toxins as well. It means that every surface inside and outside is more than likely covered in contamination.

No one wants to drink from a moldy water bottle, which is why it’s important to know how to prevent mold in a water bottle. To know these, simply follow this article which will help you a lot in near future.

Key Takeaways

  • Mildew and mold will develop within 24-48 hours of water exposure. Even worse, it will continue to grow until steps are taken to eliminate the source of moisture, and effectively deal with the mold problem.
  • Drinking from a moldy water bottle can make you sick because you are swallowing mold.
  • Drinking water bottles are often left in humid conditions with limited air supply, which creates a perfect place for mold to grow.
  • Water damage mold appears fuzzy and nearly transparent when still new. Once fully developed, however, they form unmistakable dark spots on the affected surfaces.

What are Molds?

Molds are microscopic fungi that live on plant or animal matter. They can be found indoors and outdoors and are part of our natural environment. They play an important role in the environment by breaking down and digesting organic material.

When mold is present in indoor environments, it can often be found growing on walls, ceilings, floors, or HVAC systems. For outdoors, molds can be found in shady, damp areas, or places where leaves or other vegetation is decomposing.

Types of mold

There are numerous types of molds surrounding us.  But most of us have heard about 2 types of mold.

Types of mold

1. Black mold: This type of fungi is very common in our homes. It can grow on tiles, fabrics, carpets, wood, and other materials when moisture is present. You can recognize black mold spores by their color, which is often black or greenish-black, and by their irregular growth patterns.

2. White mold: The species commonly found in homes are aspergillus and penicillium. You can recognize white mold spores by their color, which is often white or cream-colored.

In expert opinion, another 2 types will be:

a) Floaties: This is a kind of mold that floats on top of water surfaces. It is bacteria and fungi in water. If you like your portable water purifier infused with a bit of lemon, lime, cucumber, or mint, you might expect to find “floaties” if you don’t wash your bottle regularly.

b) Biofilm: Biofilm mold grows on the inner surface of the bottle and it can harbor toxicity, allowing access to several different species – from bacteria to fungi – to grow on it. Biofilms tend to be sticky, meaning that these bacteria are quite persistent. So a simple bottle rinse is not enough to get rid of them!

How Do Molds Appear in Drinking Water?

Mold can enter your drinking water in several ways. Most of the time, mold enters water on its journey into your home. Most homeowners in high-humidity areas are aware that mold is a risk, and that any amount of flooding or water damage can make it possible for mold to grow in your walls, under your furniture, and in damp piles of laundry. It can enter through cracks and holes in pipes, or it can be carried by animals, such as birds or rodents.

How do molds appear into drinking water

A. Through Water Pipe

It’s not as common for mold to grow in the interior of water pipes of your supply. While it’s not likely, the bad news is that your drinking water can contain mold. Water leaks and cracks which are caused by many different things, such as corrosion, damage from freezing temperatures, or natural disasters are common causes of mold. This is especially the case when they go undetected and occur out of view, such as from a leak inside a wall. In many cases, the mold has already begun to grow by the time you discover the leak.

B. Mold in Water Bottle

Mold can grow and accumulate in bottled water to the extent that it is visible, feeding on organic matter present in the source water or introduced during or after the bottling process. Studies indicate that certain types of molds produce toxins (mycotoxins) and other secondary metabolites in water. When you’re cleaning your moldy water bottle, be sure to use a bottle brush to reach all the nooks and crannies where mold might be hiding. If you see mold growing in your water bottle, it’s important to clean it immediately and then replace the water.

C. From Water Filters

Water filters are an incredibly effective way to provide clean water to your entire home, but they are not flawless. One recurring problem that they can have is mold. Mold can grow on a paper filter cartridge if it is not replaced frequently enough because it needs a warm, dark environment and a food source, like the mineral build-up in the paper in your sediment filter cartridge.

What Happens if You Drink from Moldy Water Bottle?

What happens if you drink from moldy water bottle

It is not really bad to drink from a moldy water bottle. Different types of mold spores have different health effects and some mold has no health effects whatsoever. Mold will typically not cause negative reactions in individuals because we have our own immune systems. As a precaution, it is advised not to drink from moldy water bottles due to potential health risks. People most sensitive to the effects of mold are children, the elderly, people with lung disease, and people with compromised immune systems.

When mold is in a water bottle, though, the immune system isn’t simply facing a few particles a day. It’s facing an army of them whenever someone takes a sip of water from their bottle. That’s an enormous task and can lead to the immune system eventually getting overrun and stop functioning. A compromised immune system is an open door for autoimmune conditions such as Lyme disease and Epstein-Barr virus to walk right in. If you drink from a moldy water bottle regularly then you may experience digestive issues related to an upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, and even temporary nausea.

Typically, mold will not cause any negative reactions until it is mixed up with bacteria, dust, and organic materials present in water and develops toxicity. Sipping water with plenty of black molds can be harmful. The mold species contain toxins that can cause health problems.

The most common effects of mold are seen in people who have mold allergies. The symptoms of a minor mold allergy are:

  • Sneezing
  • Red or watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Skin rash
  • Itching
  • Scratchy throat

A serious mold allergy may cause the following reactions:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Asthma attacks
  • Tiredness
  • Coughing
  • Weight loss

Some types of mold (especially black mold) are toxigenic, meaning that they produce mycotoxins which make you sick.

According to scientists, symptoms of mycotoxicosis (mold poisoning) are:

  • Headaches
  • Body aches and pains
  • Mood changes
  • Nosebleeds
  • Memory loss

Drinking moldy water has its own set of potential health effects:

  • Nausea
  • Respiratory problems
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Unexplained infections

If you are concerned that you may have mold in your drinking water, it’s important to have the problem tested by a professional. A water test will identify the type of mold present and the levels of contamination.

✨ You May like: What’s the Best Eco-friendly Mulch

How to Know About Mold in A Water Bottle?

Mold needs air, water, and food to grow. The water bottle is moist inside and contains air, and the mold has found some edible matter on the rubber or on the plastic lid. The inner surface of a water bottle can essentially harbor biofilms, and these will allow numerous different species including bacteria and fungi to grow, and they’ll be able to stick there because biofilms are very sticky. Determining if there’s mold in a water bottle requires using our senses, including a visual inspection with a flashlight, a good sniff, and an assessment of our overall health.

How to know about mold in a water bottle

1. Visibility of Mold in Water Bottles

There are hundreds of thousands of mold species on our planet which are surrounding us. You can compare them with the colors in nature. They can be green, grey, brown, black, yellow, red, white, or a mixture of any of those colors. The important fact is that no single color of mold represents a “dangerous species”.

Toxic black mold is the most commonly known fungus, but while that refers to Stachybotrys chartarum, many other species can look dark in color. Aspergillus, a “common mold,” isn’t naturally toxic, but it can produce mycotoxins and trigger a condition called Aspergillosis in those exposed. For these reasons any mold growth, regardless of color, should be taken care of immediately and properly. Otherwise, there’s a potential for adverse health reactions.

2. Smell of mold in a Water Bottle

Smell of mold is often one of the key indicators that it is starting to grow. Mold often creates an earthy, musty, and/or damp odor while growing. If you start to notice this smell coming from your water bottle, it’s a pretty good indication that something funky is going on within the container.

Use a flashlight to see if anything is visible, but keep in mind that it could be growing in a hidden location, be a color that blends in with the bottle, or be still in the microscopic stage and isn’t quite visible to the naked eye yet. Then you have to depend on your nose to smell some odor and clear about molds.

3. Without visible indicators or weird smell

Since mold spores are microscopic, it takes some time for them to build up into a visible mold colony. And, not all mold growth creates a smell. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to how we feel. Chronic symptoms that just never seem to go away and can’t be diagnosed by a doctor may be caused by environmental factors like mold exposure.

Our body has phenomenal warning systems. If you feel unwell every time you drink out of the bottle, that’s your body’s attempt to alert you that something is wrong. Listening to that warning signal is crucial so that the exposure does not continue.

How to Clean a Moldy Water Bottle?

If you are staring at a visible colony of mold or smell something weird then it is the right time to suspect that there is a problem in your water bottle. Mold in a water bottle is something that should be treated by simply throwing out the bottle or container and buying a new one. On the other hand, you can attempt to remediate the mold and get rid of all of those contaminants, but the chances of many of those particles being left behind are high. But there are some ways to remove mold from your water bottle.

How to clean a moldy water bottle

1. Boiling water method

It is one of the most perfect fixes you can use to remove mold from your metallic bottle. If water is over about 160 degrees Fahrenheit, the mold bacteria and fungi won’t grow—they die. But it does not apply to plastic containers. Soak the bottle in boiling water for a few hours or overnight. Then use a bottle brush and soap to scrub the bottle vigorously. Rinse and let the bottle air dry.

2. White vinegar

Another step is to disinfect the bottle, which usually requires pouring inside boiling hot water. That’s a step recommended especially for metal bottles and thermoses that can also contain mold.  Add a little vinegar if you want because as an acid it helps to break up some of the stuff. Then let it sit for about three minutes. That’ll pretty much kill everything. White vinegar can kill about 82% of mold spores. If you have plastic water bottles, then simply use vinegar with normal water and let it sit overnight, and in the morning wash thoroughly and air dry. And if you’ve gotten rid of the biofilms with a brush and on the lip with a towel, you’re pretty much going to have a clean water bottle.

3. Baking Soda

Baking soda works well with moldy water bottles. It is a safe and mild disinfectant. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda with warm water and then soak for several hours and wash.

4. Bleach with baking soda

Mix one teaspoon of baking soda and half a teaspoon of bleach in a tiny bowl. Soak the bottle and its parts in the water for 4-6 hours. Thoroughly wash and rinse the bottle.

5. Rice rub

If you don’t have a bottle brush, add warm water, dish soap, and some rice to your water bottle. Close the lid or cover and shake the bottle to remove the mold and any other grime.

6. Denture Cleaning Tablets

This cleaning tablets work perfectly on any bottle or container with mold and foul odor. Toss a few of the tablets in your bottle and let them do wonders.

7. Cotton Swab Method

It’s ideal for pull/squirt bottles. Soak a cotton swab in alcohol and clean your bottle. The cotton swab can effectively reach mold growth in your bottle’s tight areas.

If your water bottle has reusable straws. You can combine it with any of the above methods. Mycotoxins and bacteria are particularly difficult to remove.

How to Prevent Mold in Water Bottles?

The best way to handle mold is to prevent it from growing in the first place, especially when it comes to water bottles. Following the steps below can help ensure you’re not drinking moldy water.

How to prevent mold in water bottle

1. Wash Everyday

You introduce lots of little particles to your water bottles, like bacteria, viruses, and organic matter in a whole day. To help prevent buildup and ensure they stay clean, wash the bottle with a gentle cleanser and water or throw it in the dishwasher (if possible) every night. Use a bottle brush to reach every part and grab a small brush if necessary for any hard-to-reach cracks and crevices.

Make sure to allow the bottle to dry completely before reassembling it. Remember, mold can grow in as little as 24 hours, so removing the water removes the ability for a spore to move into your bottle. If you can’t clean the water bottle every day, aim for every other day at the minimum. The more frequently it’s cleaned, the better.

2. Deep Clean Once a Week

Sometimes, spores and particles manage to sneak in even with daily cleaning. That’s why deep cleaning is super important. Tools needed to do so are-

  • Gloves
  • Vinegar
  • Microfiber Towel
  • Bottle Brush

After throwing on the gloves, disassemble the water bottle completely and scrub every part with vinegar. Use that bottle brush and the smaller brush as well, if needed. Then, soak all of the parts in the vinegar overnight. The next morning, wipe everything off with a microfiber towel. These are 100 times better at wiping away microscopic particles than regular rags. From there, wash the bottle with soap and water to remove any lingering vinegar.

3. Stick to the Shelf-life

There is no hard rule related to changing your water bottle. When it comes to plastic water bottles, the general consensus for replacement is around the one-year mark. For metal water bottles, it’s more determined by everyday wear and tear; the more battered they are, the faster they should be replaced.

To avoid an icky and contaminated situation, make sure to keep a close eye on the state of the water bottle and replace them when necessary.


1. What are the common black molds in our homes?

Two black molds commonly found in homes are Cladosporium and Alternaria fungi. Another black mold is Stachybotrys chartarum, which can release specific toxins like mycotoxins that are harmful to humans.

2. Can black mold kill you?

Black Mold, also known as toxic black mold or Stachybotrys chartarum, is assumed to be deadly for infants and toddlers.

3. What is meant by an HVAC system?

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. It refers to the systems that regulate and move heated and cooled air throughout residential and commercial buildings, from homes to offices to indoor stadiums.

4. Is there a safe limit for mold in drinking water?

There is no safe limit to mold in drinking water, as even low levels of mold exposure can cause health problems.

Final Words

An older or well-worn-in water bottle offers more opportunities for mold to start growing. Any sort of minuscule crack, crevice, or hole provides a nice secluded home for not only mold growth, but also bacteria and viruses. Being that they’re difficult areas to clean, those particles aren’t going to want to leave once they’ve found their way inside. The older the bottle is, the more this problem will develop. Considering mold touches your mouth continuously throughout the day, it’s best to just err on the side of caution and toss the entire bottle. That way, you can be 100% certain you’re no longer dealing with mold in a water bottle every time you take a sip.

✨ Next Attraction: How to Make Eco-friendly Toothpaste?


Todd Smith is a trained ecologist with five years of experience in environmental conservation and sustainability. He has a deep passion for promoting sustainable practices and has developed a thorough understanding of the natural world and its complex interconnections.

Leave a Reply