Drinking Water

How To Clean a 5 Water Jug

Five gallon water jugs provide chilled drinking water for families, offices, sport teams and more. But without careful cleaning, bacteria and mold can accumulate in these reusable jugs over time.

This guide covers the necessary steps and best practices for fully cleaning and sanitizing a 5 gallon water bottle to provide pure, refreshing water.

Why Proper Cleaning is Crucial

Before diving into the cleaning details, let’s review why it’s so important to fully clean water coolers:

  • Eliminate Odors – Stale water creates unpleasant smells if left too long. Thorough cleaning removes any odors.
  • Improve Taste – Rancid water or absorbed flavors alter taste. A clean jug provides pure, untainted water flavor.
  • Remove Residue – Mineral deposits, dirt, and other residues inside a dirty jug end up in your drinking water. Cleaning eliminates these.
  • Prevent Mold – Damp environments foster mold growth, which can release spores into water. Cleaning kills mold.
  • Stop Bacteria – Germs and bacteria rapidly spread in standing water. Disinfecting kills these microbes to make water safe.
  • Clear Biofilms – A sticky biofilm allows layers of bacteria to accumulate over time. Only comprehensive cleaning can disrupt these bacterial colonies.

Neglecting to regularly clean water coolers puts your health at risk and makes water taste unpleasant. Follow the steps below to keep your 5 gallon jug pristine.

How Often To Clean Water Bottles

Five gallon jugs should be fully cleaned:

  • Monthly at minimum
  • Whenever swapping out empty bottles
  • After any evidence of odor or mold
  • Following use by anyone who was sick
  • If water tastes off or soapy
  • If bottles sit unused for prolonged periods

Mark your calendar to clean bottles every 4 weeks as a useful rule of thumb. Cleaning before refilling empty jugs is especially important.

Supplies Needed

Gather these supplies to thoroughly clean a five gallon water bottle:

  • Bottle brush – To scrub inside
  • Dish Soap – Removes residues
  • White Vinegar – Disinfects and deodorizes
  • Baking Soda – Deodorizes and scrubs
  • Lemon Juice – Cuts grease and odors
  • Hydrogen Peroxide – Disinfects and deodorizes
  • Spray Nozzle – For rinsing fully
  • Hot Water – To dissolve and cut residue

Having these inexpensive supplies on hand ensures you can refresh dirty water bottles whenever needed.

12 Step Cleaning Process

Follow this 12 step cleaning regimen to fully wash a five gallon water jug:

1. Empty Water

First empty any remaining water from the jug. This is best done outdoors for easiest water disposal.

2. Remove Labels

Peel off any labels or stickers from the jug exterior. Labels trap dirt and grime underneath.

3. Wash Exterior

Use dish soap and hot water to wash the jug exterior, handle, nozzle and underside. This removes surface dirt and grime.

4. Detach Parts

Take apart any removable parts like nozzles, caps, filters or valves. Set aside to clean later.

5. Add Cleaner

Put 2 tbsp dish soap + 1⁄4 cup baking soda + 1⁄2 cup vinegar into the empty jug. Adding ice helps scrubbing action.

6. Attach Brush

Use a long bottle brush designed for water jugs to scrub the interior. Agitate the cleaner mixture against all walls.

7. Rinse Soap

Keep rinsing with clean hot water until no more soap bubbles emerge when agitating the brush.

8. Disinfect

Spray hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice or diluted bleach solution inside and let sit 5 minutes to kill germs.

9. Final Rinse

Rinse thoroughly with hot water again until jug interior smells fresh.

10. Air Dry

Remove any standing water and let jug fully air dry upside down. A fan speeds drying.

11. Clean Parts

Place removable parts like nozzles into boiling water for 1-2 minutes to sanitize. Air dry fully.

12. Reassemble

Once fully dry, reattach any parts like spouts, caps or filters to complete cleaning.

Following this regimen monthly keeps 5 gallon water jugs sparkling clean and free of grime.

1Empty any remaining water from the jug, preferably outdoors.
2Remove labels or stickers from the jug exterior.
3Wash the exterior, handle, nozzle, and underside with dish soap and hot water.
4Detach any removable parts like nozzles, caps, filters, or valves, and set them aside for later cleaning.
5Add 2 tbsp dish soap, 1⁄4 cup baking soda, 1⁄2 cup vinegar into the empty jug (adding ice helps with scrubbing).
6Use a long bottle brush to scrub the interior of the jug, agitating the cleaner mixture against all walls​1​.

Alternative Cleaning Methods

Here are some other effective cleaning approaches if you don’t have all the suggested supplies:

  • Use diluted bleach or white vinegar only to disinfect
  • Try denture cleaner tablets dissolved in hot water
  • Swish with hot water and abrasive salt
  • Scrub with a water/baking soda paste
  • Use unscented antibacterial soap and hot water only
  • Rinse well with boiled water for heat disinfection
  • Let jug sit overnight filled with diluted hydrogen peroxide

Experiment to find which cheap, natural cleaning solutions work best for your needs. Avoid any toxic chemicals.

Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Follow these tips for optimal water jug cleaning:

  • Fully disassemble jugs to access all surfaces
  • Target crevices where grime accumulates
  • Use the hottest possible water to dissolve residue
  • Let cleaners sit 10-15 minutes before scrubbing
  • Agitate with cleaners and brush to disrupt biofilm
  • Visually inspect inside after rinsing to check for grime
  • Air dry upside down to allow all water to fully evaporate
  • Replace filters after cleaning per manufacturer instructions
  • Clean Exterior minimally once a week between full washes
  • Add ice cubes when shaking jug to enhance scrubbing
  • Monthly cleaning prevents extensive buildup needing harsh chemicals
  • Rinse thoroughly to prevent soapy residue lingering

With practice, cleaning water jugs becomes a quick and hassle-free routine.

Keeping Water Coolers Clean Longer

Certain habits help keep water jugs cleaner longer between washes:

  • Empty and fully dry bottles between uses if sitting awhile. Eliminate standing water.
  • Wipe down exterior surfaces whenever refilling to remove new grime.
  • Follow manufacturer instructions on replacing water filters.
  • Use only purified water to limit mineral deposits.
  • Avoid touching interior surfaces when refilling to minimize germ transfer.
  • Store unused jugs upside down with nozzle cap off for air circulation.
  • Refresh water before it becomes overly stale or takes on plastic tastes.
  • Disinfect nozzle tip daily with lemon water or diluted alcohol to kill germs.
  • Close nozzle cover whenever not in use to prevent airborne bacteria entering.

With extra care between cleanings, five gallon jugs stay fresher longer. But monthly full cleaning is still essential.

Why Artic Refresh Water is Best

While five gallon home water coolers provide convenience, the water purity diminishes over time. For fresher drinking water, rely on Artic Refresh:

  • Convenient Access – Our water vending machines located at gyms, offices, stores, colleges and more allow quick water refilling any time.
  • Purified Water – Our rigorous 5-stage filtration removes impurities, chemicals, bacteria and odors for pure, clean tasting water.
  • Chilled Water – Our machines chill water to an ideal 41°F for refreshing cold water always available.
  • Improved Taste – Our activated carbon filtration eliminates any plastic tastes or odors that bottled water can take on.
  • Eco-Friendly – Our water refilling reduces landfill plastic waste and pollution from delivering bottled water.
  • Sanitary Operation – Our equipment is professionally cleaned and sterilized monthly to provide pure water.

Skip the hassle of constantly refilling and cleaning bulky jugs. Enjoy Artic Refresh premium purified water on demand.

FAQ About Cleaning 5 Gallon Bottles

How often should you clean a 5 gallon water jug?

Ideally, clean jugs at least monthly. Always clean before refilling empty jugs. Clean immediately if water tastes bad or shows mold.

What supplies are needed to clean 5 gallon jugs?

Bottle brush, dish soap, white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, spray nozzle, hot water.

What is the best process for cleaning 5 gallon jugs?

Fully disassemble, wash exterior, add soap + baking soda + vinegar, scrub interior with bottle brush, rinse fully, disinfect, final rinse, air dry, reassemble.

What natural cleaners sanitze 5 gallon jugs?

White vinegar, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda paste, diluted bleach solution. Avoid toxic cleaners.

How can you improve water jug cleanliness between washes?

Empty when not in use, replace filters regularly, use purified water, don’t touch interior, wipe exterior often, rinse nozzle with lemon water.

Where can you conveniently get purified drinking water?

Artic Refresh water vending machines provide chilled, filtered water on demand 24/7. Located at gyms, offices, gas stations. Use our locator to find one nearby.

How often should water jug exterior be cleaned?

At minimum, do a basic wipe down of exterior surfaces whenever refilling or weekly. Monthly full cleanings are still needed.

What causes mold and bacteria growth in water jugs?

Standing water supports mold and bacteria. Infrequent cleaning allows biofilm buildup. Used jugs require more frequent sanitizing.

How can you optimize water cooler cleaning?

Use hottest water possible, let cleaners soak before scrubbing, fully air dry upside down, inspect before reassembly, replace filters regularly.

What indicates it’s time to clean the water cooler?

Bad odors, off or soapy taste, residue, mold, sickness after drinking, expired filters, exterior dust/grime, sitting unused awhile.

Cleaning 5 gallon water jugs thoroughly monthly ensures your drinking water stays pure, clean and refreshing. Utilize Artic Refresh machines for conveniently filling with premium purified water whenever out and about.