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Do water bottles go bad?

Old 04-19-10, 04:54 AM
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ChiefWellHung
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Do water bottles go bad?

I have a couple of those Polar bottles that are fairly well used. This morning, the water in one of them tasted fairly plastic-y. Should I be tossing these things ever so often? Does anyone have any good brand recommendations for bottles that leave the water tasting like water?
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Old 04-19-10, 07:12 AM
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There's a lot of threads on plastic-y tasting bottles. See the search function.

I always hated that plastic taste, too. Now I use Camelbak Podium bottles. I left water in one for 2 days as a test, with no plastic taste.

Good:
No plastic taste.
The valve keeps water or drink mix from splashing out.
No top to pull up with teeth or fingers. Just squeeze the bottle.
I can tip the bottle, and aim at dogs with no water running out, then squeeze to squirt them when they are in range.
The bottle is just slightly bigger in diameter than most bottles, so it's a secure fit.
I can fill them right to the top with no drips.

Bad:
Ugly graphics and colors. I got the clear with black logo version.
The valve makes a hissing noise when the air rushes back into the bottle after squeezing for a drink.
It might be a too tight fit for some carbon cages.


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Old 04-19-10, 07:20 AM
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I have a couple of these, I find the water starts tasting plastic if it's been in there too long. You can remove the pop up nozzle for a thorough cleaning, which is a good idea say, once a week. I drain and refill mine for the homeward commute, 8 hours is plenty of time for the taste to go off.
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Old 04-19-10, 08:01 AM
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I have a couple of 24 oz insulated Polar bottles and have had no problems with them. As coldfeet said, don't leave the water in them indefinitely and clean the bottles thoroughly every so often.
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Old 04-19-10, 08:10 AM
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I use a variety of water bottles with the squishy plastic being my least favorite. Lexan or stainless steel are my usual choices. I use the Nalgene lexan bottles for the most part. Kleen Kanteen for the stainless steel. Cleaning them regularly and letting them air out is a good idea for any water bottle.

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Old 04-19-10, 08:14 AM
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I think CWF is onto something.
I've been buying the same Elite bottles for a half a decade. LBS has a stockpile. The ones I've had for the longest are different than the less used ones, even though they're all the same model year. The oldest have a bit more smell/taste now than they did. Looking inside, they're less shiny. The plastic seems stiffer too.
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Old 04-19-10, 08:20 AM
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I read a suggestion, a while back that denture cleaning tablets work great in bike bottles (Efferdent). I haven't tried it, but it might be worth a shot.
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Old 04-19-10, 08:28 AM
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I just use a tiny amount of chlorine in my bottles and Camelbak bags from time to time, like a teaspoon per gallon of water, leave it in there for a few minutes then rinse thoroughly with cold water. That's to kill the bacteria and prevent water from smelling bad.

And yeah, when not in use, wash them and keep them dry and opened, that will help with the plastic smell.
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Old 04-19-10, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Metzinger View Post
I think CWF is onto something.
I've been buying the same Elite bottles for a half a decade. LBS has a stockpile. The ones I've had for the longest are different than the less used ones, even though they're all the same model year. The oldest have a bit more smell/taste now than they did. Looking inside, they're less shiny. The plastic seems stiffer too.
We make the mistake of calling something 'plastic' as if 'plastic' is only one material. There are many broad classes of materials and many of them physically look and act nearly the same. But, chemically, they may be much different in how they react with common materials. For example, most flexible water bottles are made of either polyethylene or polypropylene. They may be made of a blend of these plastics too. Where you are in the world may have an influence on the blends too.

We also make the mistake of saying that 'water' is just water. It can be a complex mixture depending on what is used to purify it, where the source is, whether it flows through an aquifer or a river and what is in those sources.

Lots of municipalities in the US use either chlorine or chlorine dioxide to purify their water. The levels of Cl2 or ClO2 can vary widely and may not even be the same within the pipes at any given minute. Chlorine compounds can have an effect on the polyethylene or polypropylene in the bottles. A taste can be imparted to the plastic that might be hard to get rid of.

Additionally, there are other purification methods used...ozone being common...which can also have an effect on the physical properties of the plastics. Ozone could cause embrittlement of either these common plastics. UV exposure can also lead to the polymers becoming harder and more brittle.

The good news is that water bottles are cheap. If they smell bad, just get a new one. If they become stiff or crack, buy new ones also. Look for the number on the bottom of the bottle, too. A #2 is high density polyethylene, a #4 is a low density polyethylene and a #5 is polypropylene. If it says #3 that PVC and you shouldn't really use that at all. It gets funky fast.

Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
I just use a tiny amount of chlorine in my bottles and Camelbak bags from time to time, like a teaspoon per gallon of water, leave it in there for a few minutes then rinse thoroughly with cold water. That's to kill the bacteria and prevent water from smelling bad.

And yeah, when not in use, wash them and keep them dry and opened, that will help with the plastic smell.
I avoid using household bleach for anything I'd be ingesting. Not good stuff if you don't get it all out. And it might end up imparting a taste to the plastic, depending on what the plastic is. Hydrogen peroxide is a very good oxidizer and should kill any organisms in the bottles without some of the issues of household bleach. Washing bottles (won't work for the Camelbak bladders) does a good job too. There is some chlorine in the detergent and the temperature inside the dish washer is hotter so not much survives it.

You can avoid lots of beasty growth in Camelbak bladders by not using anything but water in them. Drying when not in use is also a good idea.
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Old 04-19-10, 01:08 PM
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I switched to stainless steel Kleen Kanteens. NO taste and easy to run through the dishwasher. End of problem. bk
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Old 04-19-10, 01:43 PM
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I only use water and I still get some buildup, particularly in the tube, and I keep it dry on a special hanger with the mouthpiece removed to provide airflow. I'll try hydrogen peroxide then, so far chlorine was the only thing that worked for me.

I use water filtered through a Brita filter and I believe it doesn't remove all the common, harmless bacteria that causes the buildup in water containers. Bottled water doesn't do that, but I don't like buying bottled water.
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Old 04-19-10, 04:54 PM
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Given enough time, yes, water bottles can "go bad".

Most bottles are made of some variety of polyethylene which is essentially the same thing as the bases of my skis. The bases of my skis absorb wax and "dry out" through the season as the wax wears off and water bottles will absorb and subsequently exude tastes in much the same way. Put the wrong stuff in it or leave some small amount of the Gatorade in there when you refill it with water for way too long and I'm sure the taste will linger.

Although I doubt the percentage of amorphous polyethylene that allows the wax to penetrate ski bases is very high in a water bottle, I'm sure there's some. I suspect they're most likely made with a very high percentage of crystalline polyethyene and other additives intended to prevent absorption. When they're brand new, I figure they will exude what are mostly shorter chains of polyethylene molecules. When they've had water in them for too long, more of them are bound to leech out as well.

BTW, if the molecular chain of PE is short enough, it's called paraffin.

I fill brand new bottles with a tablespoon of baking soda and hot water, let it sit for a few hours, and then rinse it. I repeat the procedure when they've had water in them for too long or haven't been used in several months. Works for me.
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Old 04-19-10, 06:21 PM
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If it's a matter of chemicals from the bottle being absorbed into the water, that probably gets better rather than worse as the bottles age.

I have had some old Nalgene camping bottles that just split open after a few years, they do get more brittle.
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Old 04-19-10, 06:40 PM
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Here's what I use. No plastic taste.
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Old 04-19-10, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by bkaapcke View Post
I switched to stainless steel Kleen Kanteens. NO taste and easy to run through the dishwasher. End of problem. bk
+1 on Klean Kanteens. Best bottles I've ever used.
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Old 04-19-10, 07:20 PM
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I use a little Oxyclean when cleaning out the bottles and tea cups. The stains come out and there is no taste left behind.

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Old 04-19-10, 07:39 PM
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I put some water/mouthwash in bottle and put it in the freezer. The alcohol in the mouthwash prevents freezing.
Everything tastes good and clean afterwards.
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Old 04-19-10, 07:53 PM
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Klean Kanteen all the way. The 270z standard models fit perfectly in a water bottle holder, as do the 20 oz insulated bottles.



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Old 04-20-10, 04:31 AM
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its not good to use old bottles too long. I read somewhere that it breeds bacteria. There are certain grade of plastic that does not have these problem. I usually use bottled water container and dump it after use. I do not use a fender so dirt sometimes get flung onto the bottle.
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Old 04-20-10, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Buzzbait View Post
You know, most other logos are nicely visible, but the "Bontrager" text in the seat post is partially obscured. Could you rearrange the seat bag mounting a bit?

I use general hiking/outdoors 0,75 litre plastic bottles from local supermarket. I keep only water in them. Occasionally I may use the bottle to mix an energy drink in it, but it gets rinsed immediately after. I wash them in the dishwasher every now and then and store them upside down, dry and opened. Manufacturer claims they use "medical grade material" for the bottles, but fails to mention exactly what that material is. Couple of those bottles don't add any taste to water, one seems to have a hint of taste. I don't know if that one is older than the others or what.

I once got a freebie water bottle with some online order. It had apparenly been sitting closed in packaging on a shelf for a loooong time. Even after repeated washes I could not get the plasticky smell off. The bottle was useless, so I cannibalized it for a battery holder in a DIY light project.

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Old 04-20-10, 09:46 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Buzzbait View Post
Klean Kanteen all the way. The 270z standard models fit perfectly in a water bottle holder, as do the 20 oz insulated bottles.
If you like them, that's great. The old ones were a 2 handed operation to open so I never even considered them, but though I can't see the pics you posted it looks like from the side that they came out with ones you might be able to open like a regular water bottle.

Though ever since I threw out all the "charity ride" bottles and only use plastic bottles I bought at a bike store, I've never had a problem with taste from a water bottle again (a couple of times I though I did - but then I drank some of the water straight from the tap and realized it was coming from the tap that way - you notice it more when it's no longer cold).

But I've always though the Kleen Kanteen thing was a bit of a gimmick. Seems like every couple of years something that was "healthy" is now "bad for you". I mean, if you just happen to like them that's cool, but they always give the impression that they're cleaner and better - but in reality all those metal containers are coated on the inside with chemicals to keep them from corroding. They used to coat the Sigg bottles with something that contained BPA, I think pop and soup cans are still coated with something containing bpa. And just because "plastic is bad" is trendy right now doesn't mean that in a couple of years they won't be back to saying "storing your food or water in aluminum containers is bad for you" to (more below). And sometimes people seem to forget - water travels a long ways to your house, and sits in metal or plastic pipes for quite a while before it comes out your tap.

While I'm not actually saying "aluminum is bad for you", I'm just saying that it's not like it's a non-controversial material any more than plastic is. From Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium

"Despite its natural abundance, aluminium has no known function in living cells and presents some toxic effects in elevated concentrations. Its toxicity can be traced to deposition in bone and the central nervous system, which is particularly increased in patients with reduced renal function. Because aluminium competes with calcium for absorption, increased amounts of dietary aluminium may contribute to the reduced skeletal mineralization (osteopenia) observed in preterm infants and infants with growth ***********. In very high doses, aluminium can cause neurotoxicity, and is associated with altered function of the blood-brain barrier.[58] A small percentage of people are allergic to aluminium and experience contact dermatitis, digestive disorders, vomiting or other symptoms upon contact or ingestion of products containing aluminium, such as deodorants or antacids. In those without allergies, aluminium is not as toxic as heavy metals, but there is evidence of some toxicity if it is consumed in excessive amounts.[59] Although the use of aluminium cookware has not been shown to lead to aluminium toxicity in general, excessive consumption of antacids containing aluminium compounds and excessive use of aluminium-containing antiperspirants provide more significant exposure levels. Studies have shown that consumption of acidic foods or liquids with aluminium significantly increases aluminium absorption,[60] and maltol has been shown to increase the accumulation of aluminium in nervous and osseus tissue.[61] Furthermore, aluminium increases estrogen-related gene expression in human breast cancer cells cultured in the laboratory.[62] These salts' estrogen-like effects have led to their classification as a metalloestrogen. Because of its potentially toxic effects, aluminium's use in some antiperspirants, dyes (such as aluminium lake), and food additives is controversial. Although there is little evidence that normal exposure to aluminium presents a risk to healthy adults,[63] several studies point to risks associated with increased exposure to the metal.[64] Aluminium in food may be absorbed more than aluminium from water.[65] Some researchers have expressed concerns that the aluminium in antiperspirants may increase the risk of breast cancer,[66] and aluminium has controversially been implicated as a factor in Alzheimer's disease.[67] The Camelford water pollution incident involved a number of people consuming aluminium sulphate. Investigations of the long-term health effects are still ongoing, but elevated brain aluminium concentrations have been found in post-mortem examinations of victims who have later died, and further research to determine if there is a link with cerebral amyloid angiopathy has been commissioned.[68]
According to The Alzheimer's Society, the overwhelming medical and scientific opinion is that studies have not convincingly demonstrated a causal relationship between aluminium and Alzheimer's disease.[69] Nevertheless, some studies, such as those on the PAQUID cohort,[70] cite aluminium exposure as a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Some brain plaques have been found to contain increased levels of the metal.[71] Research in this area has been inconclusive; aluminium accumulation may be a consequence of the disease rather than a causal agent. In any event, if there is any toxicity of aluminium, it must be via a very specific mechanism, since total human exposure to the element in the form of naturally occurring clay in soil and dust is enormously large over a lifetime.[72][73] Scientific consensus does not yet exist about whether aluminium exposure could directly increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease.[69]"


My apologies if I've gone a little off topic, just a subject I ended thinking about recently. If I tried a kleen kanteen bottle and was like "wow, this is tastier" I'd figure healthwise it was 6 of 1, half a dozen of the other healthwise and go with the one that tasted better. :-)
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Old 04-20-10, 11:21 AM
  #22  
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klean kanteen is 18/8 stainless steel (food grade), no coating i believe. Sigg is still aluminum?
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Old 04-20-10, 01:07 PM
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I had a couple that were fine when they were pretty new. Then they started hanging out at the pool hall, drinking beer and chasing loose women. Ended up robbing a convenience store for dope money and got shot full of holes when the clerk pulled a sawed off shotgun on them.
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Old 04-20-10, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by cachehiker View Post
Given enough time, yes, water bottles can "go bad".
Just sitting dry on a shelf: No. Even filled with water, it will depend on the water source. If you fill your bottles from a garden hose (PVC), you'll end up with a worse taste than if you fill from a tap. If the water has a lot of chlorine in it, it can also effect the taste.

Originally Posted by cachehiker View Post
Most bottles are made of some variety of polyethylene which is essentially the same thing as the bases of my skis. The bases of my skis absorb wax and "dry out" through the season as the wax wears off and water bottles will absorb and subsequently exude tastes in much the same way. Put the wrong stuff in it or leave some small amount of the Gatorade in there when you refill it with water for way too long and I'm sure the taste will linger.
Different mechanism and different materials. Your skis 'dry out' because of mechanical wear of the ski surface. I don't that there is any real absorption of the wax into the polyethylene base. Prehaps small amounts but nothing really significant. You are sliding the ski over a rough surface and wax is soft, so abrasion takes off the wax coating.

Some of the taste comes from plasticizers and antioxidants that are added to the plastic to make it last longer...UV is hard on PE. Chlorinated chemicals and chlorine derivatives may absorb into the PE as well. These probably cause the 'bad taste'.

Originally Posted by cachehiker View Post
Although I doubt the percentage of amorphous polyethylene that allows the wax to penetrate ski bases is very high in a water bottle, I'm sure there's some. I suspect they're most likely made with a very high percentage of crystalline polyethyene and other additives intended to prevent absorption. When they're brand new, I figure they will exude what are mostly shorter chains of polyethylene molecules. When they've had water in them for too long, more of them are bound to leech out as well.
I'd suspect that most PE waterbottles (not polypropylene) are low density PE which doesn't have much crystaline character at all. It is more flexible, however. I doubt that it would have the density of the PE on your ski bottoms.
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Old 04-20-10, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
I had a couple that were fine when they were pretty new. Then they started hanging out at the pool hall, drinking beer and chasing loose women. Ended up robbing a convenience store for dope money and got shot full of holes when the clerk pulled a sawed off shotgun on them.
Water bottles full of holes are worth nothin' to nobody.
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