cleaning a canteen?!

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today i helped a friend to move his workshop and scored a canteen he once got from an army surplus store (i believe). It says U.S.
on the bottom and has a nice solid feel to it: its stainless steel (if it would be aluminium i would not bother!), one-piece construction and a well-machined thread. my guess is that it somehow ened up in Korea during the war (in which a total of 23 nations got involved)....... .
i'd like to put it back to use if possible-- problem is only my friends daughter used it for playing (NOT to drink from it!) and it's filled with yucky persimmons- not to mention accumulated gunk since the day it left the factory :yikes:
my friend suggested using acid or drainage cleaner but that seems a wee bit hefty to me....

anyone an idea what else may work?!

(the cap is still attached to the bottle but as i have some doubts about it i'll either use a cork or see if i can find a replacement somewhere....)



Full Member
May 23, 2014
either baking powder or bicarb is great for cleaning limescale out of kettles and suchlike.....cant remember which though lol


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 29, 2003
Denture cleaning tablets or baby sterilizing tabs work well. I've even dissolved a dishwasher tab in a canteen with hot water straight from the kettle, removes a lot of detritus.



Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 8, 2005
Handful of rice / BBs (ball bearings)... anything small and hard to shake and scour the inside.


Nov 30, 2011
Use denture tablets, two for the bottle, and chuck in a handful of clean small stones / pebbles from the garden. Swirl about for a few mins then rinse out. If you can try and get underneath the rubber seal in the cap as no doubt its never seen the light of day and who knows whats in there. If you find any gunk etc.. coming out then fill with boiling water, washing up liquid and a few of the pebbles, wrap in a towel and give a good shake, then let it cool. That'll shift nearly everything.

washing up liquid, hot water and sand sound much better to me than acid or drainage cleaner and are easier to come by (especially in a small korean country town:rolleyes:)-- i'll see if i can find baking podwer in the supermarket next time i go there (not sure if its used over here....)

does anyone have any idea where i might find infos reg. the age of the canteen?! i presume "1944" might be the production year, but that could be wrong......


M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
either baking powder or bicarb is great for cleaning limescale out of kettles and suchlike.....cant remember which though lol

We always ran vinegar through the drip coffee maker to descale it when I lived where that was a problem.


M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
As far as cleaning it, I'd try immersing it in boiling, soapy water and scrubbing the inside with a bottle brush first. If there's built up lime scale, change the boiling liquid to a 50% vinegar solution. To remove odors and tastes pour baking soda inside after it dries and let it sit long enough to absorb those odors/tastes then rinse well.


Jun 26, 2013
North Dorset
I find hot water, a dishwasher tab and a whole lotta shaking makes a hell of a difference. The weight of the tab swirling shifts stubborn residue.

Milton fluid then sterilises beautifully or dilute household bleach and a really thorough flushing afterwards.

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Full Member
Dec 31, 2012
Penwith, Cornwall
All the above will work a treat; I've also used washing powder and boiling water for bottles - all the gunk peels off and sits on the top of the water. Needs bicarbonate or lemon juice after to freshen the taste and remove any residue, but works great on any undesirable container.

Sent from my hidey hole using Tapatalk... sssh!
thanks for all the advice so far, folks!:eek:

i had it filled with water overnight to soak the rotten persimmons inside the canteen :yikes: - when i gave it a good shake and held it upside-down there was a bit of water dripping out: not sure if it's through the pin which attaches the chain to the cap or the cap itself (which is just a piece of some kind of plastic without any seal) but that's something I should be able to fix....
next step will be boiling water with dishwashing liquid and as soon as it stops pouring down (= rainy season over here) i'll start "hunting" for some clean sand to give it a good scrubbing inside and then apply some of the suggestions above depending on availability....

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