Author Topic: I've worked out how to clean the inside of a plastic gallon water jug!  (Read 2897 times)

Syonyk

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And most people are immediately asking, "... huh?  Why on earth would you do that?"  I expect a few people are very interested, though.

I go through a lot of water, and I typically carry it around in a gallon jug.  A typical milk jug doesn't work for long - they don't hold up.  However, some places sell water in a heavier plastic jug.  Mine, based on the faded label, is Nestle Pure Life.  The heavier plastic (and more rounded edges) hold up great to the stresses of being a jug...

But the insides turn green over time.  I drink straight from the jug mostly, and for reasons I probably don't want to understand, over time, I'll get a green buildup on the inside.  Yuck.  That's been my normal "end of life" for the jug in the past - I just haven't been able to find a good way to clean it out that works.  Sloshing water around won't clean it, and I don't have any brushes that get the whole thing clean.

But I've found a solution!  Ice cream rock salt!

I discovered that sea salt worked moderately OK for cleaning it a while back, but it tends to dissolve too quickly to be useful - it takes a bunch of times to clean it out, and it doesn't do a very good job.  But ice cream rock salt (for an ice cream mixer)?  That stuff works wonderfully!  It's larger, heavier salt chunks that don't dissolve quickly - so I can put a couple cups of water in, toss some rock salt in, and shake it like a polaroid picture for a minute or two.  Drain it, rinse it, and it's good as new!

My current jug is over a year old and still good as new inside!

Hopefully someone finds this useful!

FrugalFisherman10

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I did!! Good to know.
Not sure when I'll use it but I'm sure I'll remember this at some point when I need it thanks for sharing

nereo

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Good tip!

Ive used crushed ice before with some success, but the salt might work better with more abrasive edges.

Car Jack

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Don't know if it would be cheaper, but what about rock salt for salting sidewalks in the snow country.  That stuff is really cheap, big and sharp.  Might be cheaper than what you're using.

Syonyk

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Ive used crushed ice before with some success, but the salt might work better with more abrasive edges.

I've tried crushed ice, and it's better than nothing, but only barely - it doesn't really dig in, and it melts into rounded bits quickly.  The salt seems to hold an abrasive edge longer - and the ice cream rock salt is pretty abrasive to start with.

Don't know if it would be cheaper, but what about rock salt for salting sidewalks in the snow country.  That stuff is really cheap, big and sharp.  Might be cheaper than what you're using.

Most places I'm familiar with don't actually use salt anymore.  It has some issues with literally "salting the land" around the roads.  They use various other ice melters or various combinations of things that I'm not sure I'd want inside my drinking bottle.  The ice cream salt is just salt, and while it's not "food grade," I'm not that worried about it - it rinses out cleanly, and even if it does leave a bit of salt behind, that's a perfectly human-safe option.

Besides, we have the ice cream salt anyway for making ice cream. ;)

katscratch

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That's brilliant! I've used a combination of dry white rice and dish soap and really vigorous shaking -- I can picture how much better and easier rock salt would be!

SunnyDays

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I've used raw rice for such things and it works too.  Plus, if you're really mustachian, you can save the rice for later!

nereo

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I've used raw rice for such things and it works too.  Plus, if you're really mustachian, you can save the rice for later!
uh.... the rice that's now covered with the green-stuff from the inside of the glass bottle you were trying to get rid of in the first place?  I don't think my frugality goes that far where I'd attempt to eat that 10 worth of rice.  Call me a big spender...

SunnyDays

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I've used raw rice for such things and it works too.  Plus, if you're really mustachian, you can save the rice for later!
uh.... the rice that's now covered with the green-stuff from the inside of the glass bottle you were trying to get rid of in the first place?  I don't think my frugality goes that far where I'd attempt to eat that 10 worth of rice.  Call me a big spender...

Suit yourself - people pay good money for green drinks!

kpd905

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You could also check out a brewing supply store and grab a carboy brush like this: https://amzn.to/2YjpxpX

Canadian_Fire_tobe

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YMMV. Where I live most grocery stores have bottle cleaning stations (mostly for the 19L jugs) but they work just as well with smaller bottles as long as it's solid plastic.

What I do for reusable plastic bottles usually is just to put in vinegar and water, shake it up and let it sit for an hour or so then pour it out and rinse with water to make sure I don't get a shot of vinegar on my next drink.

socaso

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Another thing that might work are these stainless steel beads you can get for cleaning wine decanters. I have a set and I have used them to clean out other bottles, as well. It's the same idea as the rock salt, pour them in with a little water and shake like crazy. I've even put a bit of dish soap in with them for extra cleaning. When you pour it out just empty it over a mesh strainer to catch the beads and put them back in their case. I've had mine for over a decade. Google "decanter cleaning beads" and you'll find them.

fuzzy math

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Plastic does degrade after a while, especially with constant use. I'd say a fond farewell to my jug and buy a new one.

Syonyk

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Plastic does degrade after a while, especially with constant use. I'd say a fond farewell to my jug and buy a new one.

How often?

The thicker plastic seems to be holding up just fine.

mtnrider

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Plastic does degrade after a while, especially with constant use. I'd say a fond farewell to my jug and buy a new one.

I'd worry about this too. 

I've read that cleaning plastic that's supposed to be disposable with an abrasive breaks it down, and also creates lots of little microscopic gouges in the plastic.  The gouges are a place that bacteria like to live, and you might be drinking tiny pieces of plastic that are breaking off.

I'm all for reuse.  I reuse plastic bottles myself, but not for too long, and I wash them only with liquid dish soap by hand.

On the other hand though, the plastic is supposed to be food-safe, so it probably won't kill you right away.



Fishindude

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Re: I've worked out how to clean the inside of a plastic gallon water jug!
« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2019, 07:12:20 AM »
I put about a shot of bleach then fill our one gallon ice tea jug with water to clean it.   Just let it set a few hours and it's pretty clean, rinse thoroughly before using.
Before you squeal about using chemicals in a drink container, they routinely clean out water wells with bleach.

topshot

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Re: I've worked out how to clean the inside of a plastic gallon water jug!
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2019, 08:22:08 PM »
I put about a shot of bleach then fill our one gallon ice tea jug with water to clean it.   Just let it set a few hours and it's pretty clean, rinse thoroughly before using.
Before you squeal about using chemicals in a drink container, they routinely clean out water wells with bleach.

+1. Cleans out the plastic ice tea jug quite well.

Kind of shocked if you go through water so quickly why the jug would turn green, especially if it is "city" water (i.e., chlorinated). I've let jugs sit for months without any discoloration.

Dicey

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Re: I've worked out how to clean the inside of a plastic gallon water jug!
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2019, 10:48:42 AM »
I put about a shot of bleach then fill our one gallon ice tea jug with water to clean it.   Just let it set a few hours and it's pretty clean, rinse thoroughly before using.
Before you squeal about using chemicals in a drink container, they routinely clean out water wells with bleach.

+1. Cleans out the plastic ice tea jug quite well.

Kind of shocked if you go through water so quickly why the jug would turn green, especially if it is "city" water (i.e., chlorinated). I've let jugs sit for months without any discoloration.
I used to be a hardcore, long distance cyclist, and grungy green water bottles was definitely a thing. The solution was a few drops of bleach. Even for a gallon jug, a shot of bleach is overkill. Try a capful at most. And really rinse well.

And topshot - there's a world of difference between a sealed, undisturbed bottle and one that's being actively consumed from.

I've used raw rice for such things and it works too.  Plus, if you're really mustachian, you can save the rice for later!
 
Lol, I get it. You meant dry it out in the sun to purify it and use it again next time a water bottle needs cleaning, right?

Malcat

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Re: I've worked out how to clean the inside of a plastic gallon water jug!
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2019, 05:45:18 AM »
I put about a shot of bleach then fill our one gallon ice tea jug with water to clean it.   Just let it set a few hours and it's pretty clean, rinse thoroughly before using.
Before you squeal about using chemicals in a drink container, they routinely clean out water wells with bleach.

+1. Cleans out the plastic ice tea jug quite well.

Kind of shocked if you go through water so quickly why the jug would turn green, especially if it is "city" water (i.e., chlorinated). I've let jugs sit for months without any discoloration.

OP drinks directly from the jug and human mouths are absolutely filth ridden, the green isn't coming from the water, it's coming from the person.

nereo

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Re: I've worked out how to clean the inside of a plastic gallon water jug!
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2019, 07:16:32 AM »
I put about a shot of bleach then fill our one gallon ice tea jug with water to clean it.   Just let it set a few hours and it's pretty clean, rinse thoroughly before using.
Before you squeal about using chemicals in a drink container, they routinely clean out water wells with bleach.

+1. Cleans out the plastic ice tea jug quite well.

Kind of shocked if you go through water so quickly why the jug would turn green, especially if it is "city" water (i.e., chlorinated). I've let jugs sit for months without any discoloration.

OP drinks directly from the jug and human mouths are absolutely filth ridden, the green isn't coming from the water, it's coming from the person.

It's not "city" water - OP lives in a very rural area, so I'm almost certain it's well water - which certainly can harbor other microscopic critters.  Chlorine-treated municipal water will carry 'residual chlorine' for weeks (particularly if left capped and out of the sun), which is why a bottle filled with such water can sit for months with no apparent discolorization

While contaminants certainly are coming from the human mouth, it's also coming from the environment.  The air is filled with tiny particles (e.g. dust, pollen) which are covered in unicellular critters (bacteria, plankton, protists) that get into your coffee, tea and uncapped water jug.

Fill a sterile container with DI water (sans-chlorine) and a teeny-tiny trace of medium, leave it uncapped for just a few hours and within days it will be crawling with a whole ecosystem of life.  How do I know?  I culture stuff for a living, and environmental contamination is the bane of my work life.  Even working with sterile containers and medium and in a clean room it's sooooo easy to ruin a culture.

Malcat

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Re: I've worked out how to clean the inside of a plastic gallon water jug!
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2019, 07:26:42 AM »
I put about a shot of bleach then fill our one gallon ice tea jug with water to clean it.   Just let it set a few hours and it's pretty clean, rinse thoroughly before using.
Before you squeal about using chemicals in a drink container, they routinely clean out water wells with bleach.

+1. Cleans out the plastic ice tea jug quite well.

Kind of shocked if you go through water so quickly why the jug would turn green, especially if it is "city" water (i.e., chlorinated). I've let jugs sit for months without any discoloration.

OP drinks directly from the jug and human mouths are absolutely filth ridden, the green isn't coming from the water, it's coming from the person.

It's not "city" water - OP lives in a very rural area, so I'm almost certain it's well water - which certainly can harbor other microscopic critters.  Chlorine-treated municipal water will carry 'residual chlorine' for weeks (particularly if left capped and out of the sun), which is why a bottle filled with such water can sit for months with no apparent discolorization

While contaminants certainly are coming from the human mouth, it's also coming from the environment.  The air is filled with tiny particles (e.g. dust, pollen) which are covered in unicellular critters (bacteria, plankton, protists) that get into your coffee, tea and uncapped water jug.

Fill a sterile container with DI water (sans-chlorine) and a teeny-tiny trace of medium, leave it uncapped for just a few hours and within days it will be crawling with a whole ecosystem of life.  How do I know?  I culture stuff for a living, and environmental contamination is the bane of my work life.  Even working with sterile containers and medium and in a clean room it's sooooo easy to ruin a culture.

lol, yes, I know, my world revolves around bacteria and biofilm, but I maintain my point that the main culprit is the disgusting human mouth, not the only culprit, but far more of a raging cesspool than the air.

nereo

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Re: I've worked out how to clean the inside of a plastic gallon water jug!
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2019, 07:48:04 AM »
...while we are on the subject and veering off the OP's topic, I used to manage a pool in the summertime, and I'd watch as person after person tried to wash their children's eyes our after swimming to "get the chlorine out". 
I regularly tested both the pool water and the water coming out of the tap, and often there was **more** chlorine coming directly from the tap (i.e. muni water). A few times it was higher than what we let people swim in.

Bottom line, what makes your vision all blurry and burning after swimming in a pool isn't the chlorine, but the mismatched pH between your eyeballs and the pool water.  'Rinsing' it with fresh tap water won't do a damn thing - in fact it's likely to make it worse. 

JLee

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Re: I've worked out how to clean the inside of a plastic gallon water jug!
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2019, 09:13:26 AM »
Somewhat related, I've found the Costco mango juice gallon jugs to be nearly indestructible.  I've been using one for maybe a year (or longer) to fill up my water filter, and it looks just the same as it did the day I got it.  They're really heavy plastic with a screw-on lid.

Syonyk

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Re: I've worked out how to clean the inside of a plastic gallon water jug!
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2019, 12:17:19 PM »
I have noticed it will last longer before turning green if I pour water into a cup first. :)  I think it's my mouth.

But I'm not going to haul a cup around the property along with a perfectly good jug of water.

MilesTeg

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Re: I've worked out how to clean the inside of a plastic gallon water jug!
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2019, 03:26:03 PM »
And most people are immediately asking, "... huh?  Why on earth would you do that?"  I expect a few people are very interested, though.

I go through a lot of water, and I typically carry it around in a gallon jug.  A typical milk jug doesn't work for long - they don't hold up.  However, some places sell water in a heavier plastic jug.  Mine, based on the faded label, is Nestle Pure Life.  The heavier plastic (and more rounded edges) hold up great to the stresses of being a jug...

But the insides turn green over time.  I drink straight from the jug mostly, and for reasons I probably don't want to understand, over time, I'll get a green buildup on the inside.  Yuck.  That's been my normal "end of life" for the jug in the past - I just haven't been able to find a good way to clean it out that works.  Sloshing water around won't clean it, and I don't have any brushes that get the whole thing clean.

But I've found a solution!  Ice cream rock salt!

I discovered that sea salt worked moderately OK for cleaning it a while back, but it tends to dissolve too quickly to be useful - it takes a bunch of times to clean it out, and it doesn't do a very good job.  But ice cream rock salt (for an ice cream mixer)?  That stuff works wonderfully!  It's larger, heavier salt chunks that don't dissolve quickly - so I can put a couple cups of water in, toss some rock salt in, and shake it like a polaroid picture for a minute or two.  Drain it, rinse it, and it's good as new!

My current jug is over a year old and still good as new inside!

Hopefully someone finds this useful!

Don't reuse single-use plastic containers. The plastic in those breaks down really fast, leeches chemicals into the water and harbors bacteria and other pathogens. Just because the green is gone doesn't mean the problem is gone. It's not even remotely worth any potential savings.

This is definitely a "penny wise, pound foolish" attempt to save money.

Just go buy a water jug for $10 that will last decades and end up being cheaper even if you don't manage to give yourself medical problems.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 03:27:44 PM by MilesTeg »

Syonyk

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Re: I've worked out how to clean the inside of a plastic gallon water jug!
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2019, 04:11:34 PM »
Got a link for a $10 gallon jug that isn't plastic crap?

Ideally one that won't break being hauled all over the place?

It's been working fine for me so far.

MilesTeg

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Re: I've worked out how to clean the inside of a plastic gallon water jug!
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2019, 04:55:33 PM »
Got a link for a $10 gallon jug that isn't plastic crap?

Ideally one that won't break being hauled all over the place?

Ahh, so you're perfectly happy with your plastic-crap-flimsy single use jug that's poisoning you and can't be easily (or thoroughly) cleaned, but the only suitable replacement has to be a rugged metal container eh?