Cleaning a CamelBak

Has your CamelBak lost its not so fresh taste? Or worse, did you pull it out of winter storage, only to find the remains of a science experiment long forgotten? Thankfully there is a pretty easy way to restore your drink system’s freshness.

Cleaning a CamelBak
Cleaning a CamelBak

Most drink systems never taste pristine, but it’s very disheartening to get up in the mountains and have nothing to drink but throat burning brackish water when you’re terribly thirsty. The water bladder needs to be periodically scrubbed and sanitized to kill the junk that grows in that warm, moist micro environment.

CamelBak sells scrub brushes, and I’ve seen them in a couple packaging options. I bought the $10 package that included a big brush for the bladder and a little brush for the tube. More expensive packages included some special cleaning tablets. It’s unlikely that I’d have access to the cleaning tablets when I really need them, so I use just a little bleach to do the sanitizing.

I fill the CamelBak reservoir with water, and add just a teaspoon of bleach.  I let it set overnight, and turn it over once to make sure all parts of the interior get sanitized.  I also let a little run out the hose to make sure the bleach solution reaches this part too.  The next morning, I use the brushes to scrub it out, and I rinse it several times.

The bleach can add a little taste to the water, so make sure you rinse it well. It might even be a good idea to let it set for a while with water in it, and then rinse it again. I’ve also read that a final soak with a water/baking soda mixture can further remove any aftertaste.

Does anyone have any cleaning tips or tricks they’d like to share or add?

5 thoughts on “Cleaning a CamelBak

  1. I use dish soap and extremely hot water. I don the yellow dish gloves so the hot water doesn’t burn me. I put a drop or two of dish soap in the bladder and then fill it with the hot water. I shake that around for a while and then rinse it until the dish soap smell is gone. I do the same for the drinking tube except I pry the mouthpiece apart, and put a drop of soap in there. I rinse the mouthpiece the same way. I let everything dry outside in the sun if possible or I’ll hang it from the showerhead so that air gets inside.

  2. Have you ever tried Skweet? I use it on my water bottle for the gym. It too is a CamelBak with a hard to clean mouth piece. Soap and sponge just didn’t seem to do the trick. Anyway, I buy mine online: It works awesome and is made with non-toxic ingredients, probably much safer than the bleach! 🙂
    Take care.

  3. I empty mine and store it in the fridge when not in use. Still pristine after 18 months with no cleaning needed, but I only have water in it, not sports drinks.

    I have been told that baby bottle sterilizing tablets work well and they are much cheaper than the Camelbak ones.

  4. Has anyone tried sterilising their Camelbaks using the sterilising tablets for fruit and veg/ baby bottles? If so, does it work well? Any replies gratefully received

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