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Method for removing plastic taste from water bottle

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Method for removing plastic taste from water bottle

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Old 04-09-12, 11:08 AM
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m_yates
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Method for removing plastic taste from water bottle

I have a number of cheap water bottles, and the water in them always tastes horrible at the end of the day. It has been bothering me for some time, so I set out to do some research and come up with a way to fix it. The water bottles in question are all made from low-density polyethylene (or "LDPE" marked with recycle code 4). This type of plastic is free of bisphenol-A (BPA), and is commonly used in squeezable water bottles.

The plastic taste does not come from the LDPE itself, but rather the products of degradation of the plastic. When the plastic is melted and extruded into the bottle shape, some small part of it degrades to produce a mixture of chemical compunds: ketones, aldehydes, and carboxylic acids. The degradation products are mixed into the bottle itself, and slowly leach out into the water, giving it a "plastic" taste. Some manufacturers have found ways to minimize degradation of the plastic, but chances are if you have a cheap bottle, the plastic taste will make the water almost undrinkable after a long day of riding.

Here is a method that helps to remove a lot of the awful taste, and uses very cheap supplies:

1. Fill the bottle with isopropanol (rubbing alcohol). The rubbing alcohol will dissolve some chemicals that don't dissolve well in water. You can leave the bottle filled with rubbing alcohol as long as you wish, I recommend a few hours or overnight at least. Rubbing alcohol won't dissolve LDPE.

2. Dump out the rubbing alcohol and wash with soap and water. Then, fill with half white vinegar and half hydrogen peroxide. Let that sit overnight or longer.

3. Rinse out the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, add two tablespoons of baking soda and fill with warm water. Let that sit overnight or longer.

The above process works pretty well at removing nearly all of the bad taste from some ultra cheap bicycle bottles I bought from wal-mart. After doing this, you should avoid heating the bottle, as that will cause more stuff to leach out. I wash mine with soap in cold water. Unfortunately, it only takes part per billion concentrations of some of the chemicals in your water before you notice an off-taste. I don't think there is any way to eliminate 100% of the bad taste from a cheap LDPE bottle, but if anyone has a better method, please let me know.

A rigid polycarbonate (has BPA) or Tritan polyester (BPA free) bottle doesn't have the bad taste, but you can't squueze it and a Tritan bottle will crack if you drop it while riding.
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Old 04-09-12, 11:13 AM
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Buy better quality water bottles. The thicker plastic Bontrager bottles, for example.
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Old 04-09-12, 11:21 AM
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Good to know thanks.

I try to avoid them and invested in a nice stainless steel bottle and just throw it in the dish washer when we do a load.
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Old 04-09-12, 11:45 AM
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That taste is your body telling you not to poison it.
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Old 04-09-12, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by weshigh View Post
Good to know thanks.

I try to avoid them and invested in a nice stainless steel bottle and just throw it in the dish washer when we do a load.
How do you "squeeze" a stainless steel bottle?
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Old 04-09-12, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
How do you "squeeze" a stainless steel bottle?
I don't. I use gravity and suction. There is a tiny valve in the lid that lets air in when I suck the water out, I don't have to squeeze to deduce the room inside and squirt water out.
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Old 04-09-12, 12:03 PM
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the water bottles you have are not too cheap, they are not cheap enough. get a bottle of gatorade or poweraid (sp). the plastic bottles are free with the purchase and don't taint their contents.
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Old 04-09-12, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan View Post
the water bottles you have are not too cheap, they are not cheap enough. get a bottle of gatorade or poweraid (sp). the plastic bottles are free with the purchase and don't taint their contents.
Repeated use of water or Gatorade bottles can be dangerous. They were not meant to be reused, and can trap bacteria in the plastic.
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Old 04-09-12, 12:15 PM
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Specialized & Camelbak both sell pretty cheap bottles that don't taste plasticky. I use the Camelbak ones & they are great. Haven't used the Specialized ones, but they are the pure line or something like that. I think I saw them at the LBS for $7.
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Old 04-09-12, 12:27 PM
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My Camelbak Podium Big Chills work pretty good. The insulation isn't anything extraordinary, but better than nothing. An evening of soaking in baking soda gets rid of the plastic smell.

I personally prefer HydroFlasks though. I can bike for hours in 90 degree weather, and still have ice cold water to drink, without any chemicals or funny after taste. When you can have that, you don't mind pulling over for a drink.

If I'm timing a long ride, and really need a lot of water, I grab my Camelbak MULE.
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Old 04-09-12, 12:28 PM
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I'm not a shill for Camelbak. But my current fav's are the Podium Chill bottles. BPA free, and squeezable, and have an insulating layer. good in the summer and the in the winter, and no foul taste. Well worth the $12-$14.
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Old 04-09-12, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by m_yates View Post
I have a number of cheap water bottles, and the water in them always tastes horrible at the end of the day. It has been bothering me for some time, so I set out to do some research and come up with a way to fix it. The water bottles in question are all made from low-density polyethylene (or "LDPE" marked with recycle code 4). This type of plastic is free of bisphenol-A (BPA), and is commonly used in squeezable water bottles.

The plastic taste does not come from the LDPE itself, but rather the products of degradation of the plastic. When the plastic is melted and extruded into the bottle shape, some small part of it degrades to produce a mixture of chemical compunds: ketones, aldehydes, and carboxylic acids. The degradation products are mixed into the bottle itself, and slowly leach out into the water, giving it a "plastic" taste. Some manufacturers have found ways to minimize degradation of the plastic, but chances are if you have a cheap bottle, the plastic taste will make the water almost undrinkable after a long day of riding.

Here is a method that helps to remove a lot of the awful taste, and uses very cheap supplies:

1. Fill the bottle with isopropanol (rubbing alcohol). The rubbing alcohol will dissolve some chemicals that don't dissolve well in water. You can leave the bottle filled with rubbing alcohol as long as you wish, I recommend a few hours or overnight at least. Rubbing alcohol won't dissolve LDPE.

2. Dump out the rubbing alcohol and wash with soap and water. Then, fill with half white vinegar and half hydrogen peroxide. Let that sit overnight or longer.

3. Rinse out the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, add two tablespoons of baking soda and fill with warm water. Let that sit overnight or longer.

The above process works pretty well at removing nearly all of the bad taste from some ultra cheap bicycle bottles I bought from wal-mart. After doing this, you should avoid heating the bottle, as that will cause more stuff to leach out. I wash mine with soap in cold water. Unfortunately, it only takes part per billion concentrations of some of the chemicals in your water before you notice an off-taste. I don't think there is any way to eliminate 100% of the bad taste from a cheap LDPE bottle, but if anyone has a better method, please let me know.

A rigid polycarbonate (has BPA) or Tritan polyester (BPA free) bottle doesn't have the bad taste, but you can't squueze it and a Tritan bottle will crack if you drop it while riding.
All these steps sort of get to the point where you wonder if you're really saving money in the end.
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Old 04-09-12, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
All these steps sort of get to the point where you wonder if you're really saving money in the end.
+1. Spending days soaking bottles in various solutions to save a dollar or two, and still end up with a sub-par result, is kind of backwards thinking.

I'll drink water from a backyard hose, though, so what do I know?
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Old 04-09-12, 12:48 PM
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Metal bottle with sports top.
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Old 04-09-12, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by weshigh View Post
I don't. I use gravity and suction. There is a tiny valve in the lid that lets air in when I suck the water out, I don't have to squeeze to deduce the room inside and squirt water out.
So how do you get a refreshing squirt of water on your head or back... take the cap off?
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Old 04-09-12, 01:22 PM
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If water is bottled under sterile conditions,it's shelf life is forever.If you bottle it with tap water,you should change it every 6 months or so.

The bottles of water at the store are good for at least 2 years in the original bottles,everybody that bottles water is trying to kill off it's customers?If it doesn't leach in that amount of time,why would it leach when I fill it everyday?

If your water bottle taste bad after a few hours of riding in the sun,might try using something different......

If using the bottles the water comes in is bad for me,it better hurry up and do something,I could use a third arm at work......since one of them has a cell phone in it at all times!

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Old 04-09-12, 01:28 PM
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why is the water sitting in your bottle all day? shouldn't it be gone in like an hour or so?
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Old 04-09-12, 01:31 PM
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Simple way to not only have the water taste ok, but to clean bottle. I squirt a little toothpaste in bottle about once every week(about as much as you use to brush teeth). Add water and put lid on and swill it around for a bit then dump it out and rinse it out good with water.
Always when not in use, leave it empty and lid off. Works great for me.
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Old 04-09-12, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
So how do you get a refreshing squirt of water on your head or back... take the cap off?
I don't. I guess there is your trade off. I can't spray water, only pour but I don't have to deal with plastic taste. Or I bring a plastic one for spraying head and back and drink out of my other one.
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Old 04-09-12, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
why is the water sitting in your bottle all day? shouldn't it be gone in like an hour or so?
I actually don't drink that much on my 15mile commute. So I'll use the same water in my bottle for a few days.
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Old 04-09-12, 03:19 PM
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I only use stainless steel bottles. No bad taste, and they last almost forever.
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Old 04-09-12, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by AlmostGreenGuy View Post
Repeated use of water or Gatorade bottles can be dangerous. They were not meant to be reused, and can trap bacteria in the plastic.
That's a bonus. They help develop your body's immune system.
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Old 04-09-12, 04:07 PM
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I do a similar thing, except I use Wild Turkey.
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Old 04-09-12, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I do a similar thing, except I use Wild Turkey.
But doesn't that make your Wild Turkey taste like plastic?
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Old 04-09-12, 04:13 PM
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use a one liter soda bottle. no bottle taste unless you use it for a few weeks.
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