After using water bladder, how to dry it thoroughly besides simply pouring out the water content so any remnant of water inside it is cleanly eliminated?

  • Are you having problems when rinsing out your water bladder with clean water and just hanging it out to dry? Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 22:36
  • It tends to collapse and not ari very well @hillsons
    – user2766
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 7:42
  • Here is a few videos on how you can clean your hydration pack. <br> youtube.com/watch?v=T7KZlSuc0t0<br> <Br> And a further list of other ways to clean the bladder and straw<br> youtube.com/…
    – GeistvonPA
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 21:19

6 Answers 6


I clean my drinking system with lots of hot water then sterilise it using baby bottle sterilising tablets. Once it is clean, I don't dry it - I store it in the freezer. :-)

Additionally, I don't use anything but water. People I know who use powdered drinks or sugar solution tell me the black mold grows really quickly inside the drinking tube and valve.

  • 3
    Freezer! Great idea.
    – user2766
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 10:51
  • 1
    That is a neat idea, but I'd guess you need to handle it carefully while frozen as the plastic may become more brittle.
    – nekomatic
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 11:32
  • +1 For the freezer. If you don't want to use any chemicals, use vinegar - it kills 99% of all molds. Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 17:47
  1. Drain all the water out of the tube
  2. Remove the tube from the bladder and the bite valve and hang it up
  3. Bend a metal coat hanger in half (make sure no sharp edges are exposed)
  4. push the coat hanger into the bladder and hang the coat hanger up

You can also buy airers but the coat hanger works just as well.

From a cleaning point of view you just need baby bottle steriliser and some brushes. The clean the inside of the tube you can by specialist brushes, they're a brush on the ned of a flexible wire.


I drain mine thoroughly, hang/suspend it with the open end down, and stick an empty paper towel tube stuffed with paper towels into it to keep it open. I've found that if I only use water, and let them air dry promptly, I never have a problem.

I only use filtered water in my bladder.

If I feel I want to clean them, I use a warm white vinegar water solution and rinse and flush that way.

  • Good answer, I have a canteen that is is 20 or 30 years old and draining to dry has worked fine. Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 13:52

I bought a water reservoir cleaning kit for about $7 from Walmart.

Disclaimer: I haven't used it yet (I only got it a month or two ago. I haven't gone on a longer hike where I wanted to go to the effort of filling a water reservoir, instead of just bringing a little bottle).

Outdoor Products Hydro Cleaning Kit

It came with a cleaning brush for the tube and one for the reservoir itself, but most importantly for this question, it comes with a little coat hanger type piece of plastic (similar to Liam's method above). You fold up the coat hanger thing, then push it into the reservoir and let it pop back into shape, then hang it up. Before, I always ended up going to a lot of effort to try to balance the reservoir with the hard opening vertical and the rest of the bag flat, so some air could get in. It would always flop flat after a few hours, or someone closing a door in the next room, etc. I'm looking forward to not doing that.

  • 1
    Glad you have something as Walmart. Deuter e.g. sells those cleaning kits for their Camelback very overprized. So I won't buy them.
    – Wills
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 19:15

take a fish tank pump or air mattress pump and run a plastic tube into the bladder. It circulates air and takes about 30 minutes. For the tube itself, I remove the bit valve off the end and swing it around to get the centrifugal force to get most of the water out--then I use the pump--takes about 5 minutes.

  • I just tried this but the pump seems to put out so little air I doubt it will do anything. What size/type of pump works for you?
    – Josh
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 14:16

When I need to wash a drinking water bottle, canteen, bladder, etc. I fill it part way with warm water, and add table salt. This particularly effective for areas that have growth or contaminates and can not be effectively scrubbed. Add lots of salt, to the point of saturation (when shaken salt still settles to the bottom), Shake well.

Most anything that grows well in drinking water gets killed by high levels of salt. The additional salt works as an abrasive to remove build up. You can let it sit for a couple of hours, or overnight.

Rinse well and hang upside down to air dry. For soft sided containers you may need to use a clean item to keep it from collapsing as mentioned in this answer by M Kenyon II

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