Water bottle residual taste

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oldtimer

Full Member
To carry our water we each have a Sigg bottle and a Platypus bottle as back up when we expect a long, hot day with limited replenishment opportunities. I also use a pilots' flask as EDC around town and as an occasional spirit flask on trek. When not in use, the bottles are kept empty and unstoppered.

Every once in a while, I clean our bottles by scalding them out then steeping them, and their stoppers, in a mix of lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda before giving them a final thorough rinse in water from a trusted source, such as a tap.

Despite this treatment, my wife insists that she can detect a strange taste in her Sigg and especially in her Platypus bottles. If pushed, I too can detect a slight taint, but I'm not so fussy and, unlike her, I am not susceptible to digestive problems. I notice a strong taste of brandy lingering after a couple of refills of my pilot's flask but treat this as a bonus and am in no hurry to remedy this.

Has anyone else encountered a similar problem and if so, what did you do about it?
 

Toddy

Mod
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Jan 21, 2005
35,774
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S. Lanarkshire
For plastic ones buy some of the baby bottle sterilising sachets (poundstore ones are the same chemical mix as the expensive 'branded ones', or the tablets that some folks need to clean false teeth.
Mix up and fill the flask/platypus, etc., and leave for as recommended for the baby bottles. Rinse, and rinse. The worst there'll be is the faint air of the bleach, but it's just the same as in treated tap water. Personally I'd rather have that than the miasma of something gone rotten.

Plastic's plastic. Even the best stuff slowly degrades. My oldest platypus finally delaminated at one rounded corner. It's still useable, but I'm a bit wary now....then Himself pointed out I bought it twenty years ago :rolleyes:

Metal bottles I just scrub with fairy and a bottle brush, rinse them out with boiling water, and make sure they're dry as dust before I put them by.

M
 

Ascobis

Forager
Nov 3, 2017
128
69
Wisconsin, USA
Try the acid and the base in separate steps : Fizzy saltwater isn't cleaning anything. Try vinegar instead of lemon juice. Try lye (carefully!) instead of baking soda. Don't stop at scalding. Boil it.

I've noticed that the translucent silicone gasket on newer bottles holds on to flavorings more than the old flat rubber washers did. Hydrophobic plastics grab onto hydrophobic aromatic compounds. Try a hydrophobic solvent on your bottles. Rubber washers would dissolve but the silicone should hold together. Ask swmbo if the inside of the bottle smells musty or just the o-ring does.

I use chlorine bleach in cold water to remove stubborn odors. If the smell is a complex organic molecule it won't be for long. (Footnotes: 1. Always use chlorine bleach mixed with water. It's an aqueous chemistry thing. 2. Always use chlorine bleach in cold water. Chemistry, not safety, is the reason.)

I got a jar of sodium metabisulfite at a vintner supply shop. I add a smidgen of it to water containers that will be idle for a while.

Do not use scented hand sanitizer on the bottle lid you dropped on the office carpet. damhikt.

Bushcraft was easier back when there were 7 * 10^4 of us wandering around the slopes of Kilimanjaro. It's a little more knowledge-intensive with 7 * 10^9 of us.
 

oldtimer

Full Member
Try the acid and the base in separate steps : Fizzy saltwater isn't cleaning anything. Try vinegar instead of lemon juice. Try lye (carefully!) instead of baking soda. Don't stop at scalding. Boil it.

I've noticed that the translucent silicone gasket on newer bottles holds on to flavorings more than the old flat rubber washers did. Hydrophobic plastics grab onto hydrophobic aromatic compounds. Try a hydrophobic solvent on your bottles. Rubber washers would dissolve but the silicone should hold together. Ask swmbo if the inside of the bottle smells musty or just the o-ring does.

I use chlorine bleach in cold water to remove stubborn odors. If the smell is a complex organic molecule it won't be for long. (Footnotes: 1. Always use chlorine bleach mixed with water. It's an aqueous chemistry thing. 2. Always use chlorine bleach in cold water. Chemistry, not safety, is the reason.)

I got a jar of sodium metabisulfite at a vintner supply shop. I add a smidgen of it to water containers that will be idle for a while.

Do not use scented hand sanitizer on the bottle lid you dropped on the office carpet. damhikt.

Bushcraft was easier back when there were 7 * 10^4 of us wandering around the slopes of Kilimanjaro. It's a little more knowledge-intensive with 7 * 10^9 of us.

Thanks for that. I'll give it ago. You have reminded me that when we lived out in the bush some years ago, we used chlorine routinely to disinfect water containers. Also the what we used to disinfect our boys baby bottles -Milton Solution- was probably sodium metabisulphite.

I hated chemistry at school and didn't work at it because of a really bad teacher. This is just another example that one is the poorer for rejecting any knowledge. Thanks for redressing some of the balance!
 

KenThis

Full Member
Jun 14, 2016
825
120
Cardiff
I noticed this with aluminium bottles, even after using milton sterilising tablets.
I moved to stainless steel and haven't had any problems since...
 
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Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Milton's is 1% Sodium hypochloride plus a dash of table salt ( sodium cloride) plus water.

Not a good idea to rinse an Aluminium bottle with acid. Any acid.
The surface gets etched = more likely for stuff to stay on it.

Want to get your old Aluminium casserole shiny clean? Stew some Rhubarb in it..

No, there is no connection between Alzheimer's or Dementia and Aluminium.
 
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Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
I found an extremely effective water bottle snap cap on a drink in York railway station of all places.
I kept the top. I can return plastic soda bottles for deposit so I avoid 'bottle stink' altogether
and use those. Change out every month or so.
 
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Ascobis

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Nov 3, 2017
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Wisconsin, USA
Milton's is 1% Sodium hypochloride plus a dash of table salt ( sodium cloride) plus water.

Not a good idea to rinse an Aluminium bottle with acid. Any acid.
The surface gets etched = more likely for stuff to stay on it.
<snip>
You don't find bare Al anywhere you're alive to see it. It almost immediately oxidizes to a thin coating of aluminum oxide with a Moh's hardness around 9. It laughs at acid. Mechanical scrubbing of an Al vessel would scratch that thin surface layer and subsequent acid would indeed etch the metal. So, scrub that bottle with a soft plastic scrubber to get off the big stuff and then, once fully dry, a brief acidic rinse followed by a water rinse shouldn't cause problems. Or just follow Janne's advice and avoid acids.

Do avoid combining strong bases and aluminum. (I was imagining plastic bottles up-thread when I mentioned lye.) Drano powder is (or was, 5 decades ago...) a mix of lye and aluminum shavings. In very low pH solution the reaction is very exothermic. You will have no bottle, very quickly.

A few months ago I read Rust: the Longest War by Jonathan Waldman. Aluminum cans have particular coatings for particular contents. I would be surprised if commercial water bottles don't have coatings. Tl;dr: Don't store your soft drink cans on their sides.
 
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Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Al oxide is hard indeed, makes fantastic dental crowns and bridges when sintered.

But the adhesion to the parent metal is fairly weak. That is the reason Al pans and pots clean up nicely with an acid.

I have always wondered how the today so common beer, juice and sift drink cans can work. Must he coated somehow.

I am old enough to remember steel beer and soft drink cans.
It was an important ’coming of age’ cermony, to be able to drink a 455 ml can of beer in one go, emit a very large burp, then crushing the can with one hand.
 

Ascobis

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Nov 3, 2017
128
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Wisconsin, USA
<snip>
I have always wondered how the today so common beer, juice and sift drink cans can work. Must he coated somehow.

I am old enough to remember steel beer and soft drink cans.
It was an important ’coming of age’ cermony, to be able to drink a 455 ml can of beer in one go, emit a very large burp, then crushing the can with one hand.
That book I mentioned in this or another thread, "Rust-The Longest War" has fascinating stories about the coatings of Al cans. Beer, juice, and soft drinks all require different coatings.

When all one has is spruce pitch smeared on a basket one makes do. Did pottery glazing and ever-higher sintering temperatures evolve because our forebears were faced with such problems?

... Yes. Crushing a steel can on my forehead convinced bystanders I was stupid. Rotating it so the soldered seam was opposite my forehead proved I wasn't... imho
 
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