When you're out and about in the wilderness for some time (say, a week), it might be difficult to keep your Camelbak clean and free from bacteria/mold. Sure, I can regularly drop water purifying tablets into water, but they taste yucky...

My grandma used to keep a silver spoon inside a water jug "to keep water from going bad".
If I put a silver dollar inside a Camelbak, would that help or is this an old-[grand]-wives-tale?..

  • How do you keep your water bottle when you are not using it? Inverted, without the stopper in place, and in a dry environment? Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 18:59
  • @WeatherVane yes, and in a freezer.
    – Alexander
    Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 11:19

1 Answer 1


Silver apparently has an antibacterial affect under certain conditions. Another possible origin of the idea is dinnerware made of German Silver. German silver is a bass with addition of several per-cent nickel to make the color silver. The copper in the alloy would inhibit bacteria; copper metal and compounds are commonly used to inhibit bacteria, etc.

  • Silver dollars in milk containers were used, whether they worked or not. Nano silver particles are used on fabrics these days to reduce body odor.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 15:16
  • Silver really does have an antibacterial effect. "The antibacterial activity of silver has long been known and has found a variety of applications because its toxicity to human cells is considerably lower than to bacteria." pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18476264 Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 21:22
  • The NIH article seems mostly to refer to silver ion as might result from adding silver nitrate to water; but I will change my answer. Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 0:36

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