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Old 06-03-09, 10:36 AM   #1
Lebowski
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so my camelbak was full of black mold :(

i remember on my last ride i didn't drink too much water because it tasted "funky"

next ride after that i began the arduous task of cleaning the bladder. it was full of black mold. i decided to let it set this next one out.

im wondering how i should go about cleaning it. i used bleach and cleaned out the hose with a clean shoe lace jammed on to a straitened out coat hanger. its clean now but the water tastes like its from the city pool even though i washed it out for about 15 minutes.

so i did a 30 mile ride with a backpack full of water bottles. oh and it was 82 degrees Fahrenheit, that's hot for Wisconsin, im used to wearing t shirts when its 40-50 degrees.

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Old 06-03-09, 10:45 AM   #2
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Why not just buy a new bladder?
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Old 06-03-09, 10:53 AM   #3
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well first of all bleach and a hose is the wrong thing to use :rofl: secondly, why werent you sanitizing it after every use?
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Old 06-03-09, 10:59 AM   #4
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i've never had mold growing in mine, but i've had that "funky taste."

I don't use chemicals like bleach - you're going to be drinking out of the thing - why would I use bleach?

I use vinegar. I'll then add a bunch of baking soda after i clean it with vinegar. after cleaning i'll let it hang dry.

I've cleaned it twice over the course of two seasons.
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Old 06-03-09, 11:03 AM   #5
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yeh id highly recommend you replace your camelback, i think theres a good chance your probably tasting parts of the liner lol
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Old 06-03-09, 11:04 AM   #6
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If it's actually black mold, I'd just toss the bladder and buy a new one. Since black mold is toxic if inhaled, you're not actually supposed to scrape at it. Skin contact is also a no-no...so I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that drinking it is probably not going to be a good thing. Generally, bleach is the way to go to clean black mold, but in this case, I just don't think it's worth the trouble and potential risks associated with not only the possibility of not getting it completely removed, but also the risks that go along with the actual cleaning process.
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Old 06-03-09, 11:27 AM   #7
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I cleaned out a bladder with bleach once. Turned it kinda green/yellow. Tasted weird after that. Replaced bladder.

The newer Camelbak bladders have anti-microbial treatment if I recall correctly. I have let them sit for months after last use and have had no mold/funk issues. But I always shake and rinse with hot H2O before filling.

Another thing is that the new Camelbak bladders I have used all seemed to have the plastic taste until I have used them a bunch of times- bad taste finally went away then.
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Old 06-03-09, 11:32 AM   #8
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Rinsing the new ones out with hot water should get rid of that plastic taste. More then likely they arent cleaned real well after production so your probably still getting some of whatever was left in there from the production line.
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Old 06-03-09, 11:48 AM   #9
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If it's actually black mold, I'd just toss the bladder and buy a new one. Since black mold is toxic if inhaled, you're not actually supposed to scrape at it. Skin contact is also a no-no...so I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that drinking it is probably not going to be a good thing. Generally, bleach is the way to go to clean black mold, but in this case, I just don't think it's worth the trouble and potential risks associated with not only the possibility of not getting it completely removed, but also the risks that go along with the actual cleaning process.
+1...bad mojo, man.
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Old 06-03-09, 12:05 PM   #10
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In the future, empty it and toss it in the freezer after use. That has kept mine fresh for years.
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Old 06-03-09, 12:42 PM   #11
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I never clean mine but then I only put water in it. Im prepared to buy a new bladder every year or so, generic ones are the same price as 5 inner tubes here . Good tip on keeping it in the freezer Junkyard. I guess that inhibits bacteria growth while its not being used.
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Old 06-03-09, 12:43 PM   #12
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As an aditional tip always make sure you completely empty any liquid out of it after every ride. Bacteria grows in stagnant water
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Old 06-03-09, 01:04 PM   #13
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This subject comes up all of the time. Just happens that I've just cleaned out my bladder and came on here and the second post is mold in the bladder.

I had Lucozade sport in my bladder from the weekend in the fridge. Took the bladder out and emptied it, then rinsed it with cold running water. Next I put it into some hot soapy water and used a Camelbak brush and hose cleaner to get out any debris.

It is now sitting in the kitchen with some cold water and Milton (Or equivelent US baby bottle sanitizer) in it. I'll leave this in for about an hour as I've not used it for 4 days, otherwise it would be soaking for about 5 minutes then rinse it out thoroughly with cold running water.

I also dry mine with a new teatowel and make sure there is no residue left in the bladder. If it's my regular bladder I store it in the fridge (2 litre trail use) or in the freezer if it's going to be stored for a while.

I know it seems a lot of work, but then again if you've ever had bad guts from your bladder then you will know exactly why it's worth it. No fun being stuck out on a trail without a proper toilet for miles when it's tipping it down with rain.

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Old 06-03-09, 01:19 PM   #14
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replace that bish. the materials the camelbacks and platypus bottles (HDPE nalgene bottles too) use absorb flavors. be it drink mix, coffee, gotorade, juice, mold, or bleach. that's why if you go backpacking in bear country you're supposed to put any bottle that has ever had juice in it outside or up in the bear bag. those dudes can smell 3 month old juice in the bottle. your system will never be the same. just replace it. the bleach can seep in and over the long term cause brittleness and cracking. if you replace it now you don't have to worry about the fatigue of age and possible leaks from that.
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Old 06-03-09, 01:29 PM   #15
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In the future, empty it and toss it in the freezer after use. That has kept mine fresh for years.
That's the best idea I've heard on this site in a long, long time.
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Old 06-03-09, 01:32 PM   #16
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That's the best idea I've heard on this site in a long, long time.
mold isnt like viruses and bacteria, its spores, im not exactly certain that freezing your bottle would sanitize it against mold growth to be honest
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Old 06-03-09, 01:34 PM   #17
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I've never had mold grow in the freezer...but it's grown in the fridge before.

I still think it's stellar advice.
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Old 06-03-09, 01:35 PM   #18
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i suppose it prevents the growth from forming but doesnt exactly sanitize it
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Old 06-03-09, 01:35 PM   #19
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A small booger is easier to eat than a full grown one.
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Old 06-03-09, 01:36 PM   #20
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A small booger is easier to eat than a full grown one.
i prefer no boogers in my water bottles, so i sanitize them with heat before use
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Old 06-03-09, 01:40 PM   #21
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Old 06-03-09, 01:42 PM   #22
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As stated above, ya might as well replace it. I had one go bad on me and I did what you tried: strong bleach, etc. It never completely makes the skunky go away no matter how hard you try.

Freezer idea is a good one. I read it here a couple years ago and have done it ever since. Keeps it good all season.
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Old 06-03-09, 01:50 PM   #23
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Not all bacteria forms spores so freezing is a good idea.
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Old 06-03-09, 02:25 PM   #24
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I freeze mine as well...
although now that i think about it.... I haven't emptied my bladder since last ride..... last week...
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Old 06-03-09, 02:42 PM   #25
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In the future, empty it and toss it in the freezer after use. That has kept mine fresh for years.
you have restored my faith in bikeforums with this one, simple suggestion.

many thanks and God bless you.

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