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Is Your Water Bottle a Germ Collector

I am one of those people who only owns one water bottle. I know what you’re thinking — what? Yes, it’s sad, but I am planning to invest in more—and not because cute water bottles and that workout/yogi lifestyle are trending. It’s because my water bottle needs a break — or at least a hot bath.

I don’t know anyone who actually washes their water bottle on the daily. Not just a quick rinse wash but a hot and soapy water wash. Think of what we touch during one day: door handles, handles when we stand on the bus, stair rails… all of these public surfaces on our way to and from classes, meetings or work. Do you use your phone on the toilet? Because you wash your hands after you use the restroom, but you don’t wash your phone screen. 

The bottom line is water bottles that go unwashed are covered in poop particles! Those germs and bacteria travel from our hand to our water bottles to our mouths. According to a study done by EMLab P&K, water bottles carry an average of more than 300,000 colony-forming units of bacteria per square centimeter. They found that slide top bottles are the worst with 933,000 colony forming units per square centimeter. A better option is stainless steel bottles. These are naturally antibacterial and don’t have the cracks to house as many germs.

College students experience close living quarters, and every space on campus is shared. When cold and flu season comes knocking, washing our water bottles might just be our saving grace. Think of how many times you touch your mouth to your water bottle during the day. Probably more than you touch your mouth to any of your household dishes, yet we do a better job of washing those. Plus, your plates and forks aren’t road-tripping with you day after day through a germ-infested campus like your water bottle does.

I hope you walk away from this article enlightened and on your way to the sink to do some scrubbing. Kudos to those who wash your bottles, and kudos to those who have more than one to trade off between washings. I strive to be like you. 

Hi everyone! I'm Stephanie Hoff, a graduate of UW-Madison as of December 15, 2019. My degree is life sciences communication which is all things communications from journalism to broadcast to marketing with an emphasis on tough topics like science and agriculture. I also have certificates in folklore which is an ethnographic, cultural studies discipline, and entrepreneurship, because I wanted to learn how to use my work ethic and professional skills in a start up setting. I have a great mix of interests because I have a great mix of experiences that make me an open-minded, well-rounded individual who is excited about learning and communicating. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to learn more about me and to find my online portfolio.
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