How to Clean a Water Cooler

Clean and Sanitize Your Water Cooler Regularly

We are aware of the many necessary health benefits that come from drinking filtered or treated water. In many offices, that clean and clear water comes from a bottled water cooler. However, if you don’t take the time to make sure that the water cooler itself is clean, you’re very possibly re-contaminating the treated water. It doesn’t make sense to clean your water and not your water cooler.

Here is what you need to know.

How Often Do You Clean a Water Cooler?

You should clean your water cooler on a scheduled basis, depending on how frequently it is used. A good rule of thumb is to get in the habit of cleaning it every time that you change the water bottle.

Given that there are so many different hands touching your water cooler regularly, as well as many people filling refillable water bottles that may have germs on them, there is a high probability that your water cooler can get dirty pretty quickly.

It’s not just where people are touching the cooler (like the water dispenser) that gets dirty. The inside of the water bottle can get contaminated with things like algae and chemical residue.

Is the water cooler the hub of your office? Make sure it is always sparkling and a healthy place for you and your colleagues to chat during the day by cleaning it regularly.

How to Clean the Water Cooler

First, don’t forget to unplug the cooler before you remove the water bottle for cleaning, for safety’s sake.

One of the most effective and natural ways to clean your water cooler is to use a vinegar solution. To prepare this disinfecting solution, mix 15 ml of vinegar with 5 L of warm water. 

After you’ve unplugged the cooler, remove the water bottle and drain it of excess water. Take the lid off and take the baffle (the plastic funnel or disc) off of the reservoir. With a clean cloth and a little bit of hot water and dish soap, clean and rinse the reservoir completely.

Fill the water bottle with the cleaning solution and scrub out the bottle with a brush. Let the solution sit for a couple of minutes in the bottle. Drain it completely through the reservoir, and then dispose of the disinfecting solution.

Fill the reservoir with clean, cold water (it can be purified or from the tap at this point). Drain the water out through the spigots. Replace the water and repeat this process at least 2 or 3 more times to make sure that your cleaning solution is thoroughly removed.

Don’t forget to clean the outside of your water cooler. Wipe it down with warm water and a small amount of dish soap. 

Cleaning the Additional Parts

It’s not just the water bottle that needs cleaning. Don’t forget the plastic parts too, like the drip tray, baffle, spigots, and reservoirs. Don’t use harsh cleaners here as they can scratch your water cooler.

Soak these parts in hot water and soap. Rinse them well with clean water. For extra cleaning, use a clean cloth and a small amount of the cleaning solution you used for the rest of the cleansing to wipe the parts out.

Rinse again with warm water, and dry completely. 

How Do I Clean a Hot Water Cooler?

Don’t use bleach on a hot water cooler as a cleaning solution. Instead, boil water and fill the reservoir. Allow the hot water to sit in the cooler for a few minutes so that it will kill any bacteria and germs. Scrub the inside of the cooler with a brush. Drain the hot water and fill the water bottle a few times with clean, cold water.

Given the suggested frequency and work involved to clean a water cooler, this is a good job to outsource to professionals. You want to make sure that you aren’t drinking contaminated water at work, and maintaining your water cooler is one of the best ways to ensure the health of your colleagues and the cooler.



  • Share this article