How to Clean and Maintain a Water Cooler or Dispenser

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We don't often think about our water coolers - unless it's in need of a water bottle replacement! Most people assume water coolers don't need any sort of cleaning or maintenance as water does not stain, rot, or cause odors to emit from the dispenser. However, this is far from the case.

Water dispensers can harbor bacteria, mold, and water stains that are not only difficult to remove as time goes by, but they are also harmful to your health when you drink from a contaminated water dispenser. Here's how you can clean and disinfect your water cooler at the same time:

What You'll Need

First, you'll be cleaning and disinfecting the water reservoir. You can safely use a diluted bleach solution to do so as long as you flush out any remaining cleaning solution before you drink from the water cooler again. Here's what you'll need:

  • Chlorine bleach (unscented bleach)
  • Warm water
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Long-handled scrub brush
  • Basins

You'll also need to clean the removable parts like the nozzle, faucet, and drip tray which may have grown mildew over time. You may notice black, gray, or brown residue around moist areas, which will tell you mildew is present. Here's what you'll need:

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Hot water
  • Soft-bristled brush

How to Clean a Water Cooler: A Step-by-step Guide

Step 1: Unplug the Water Cooler

Unplug the water cooler for your own safety. You will be working with water, after all, so cutting the power to your water cooler will prevent any electrical accidents, as well as accidental burn from the hot water dispenser.

Step 2: Prepare the Cleaning Solution

Prepare the cleaning solution on the side: mix 15mL of 5% unscented bleach with 5L of pure, clean water. You will be using this to clean the inside of your water reservoir, as well as the pipes that run through your bottled water cooler.

Step 3: Remove the Bottle

Remove the empty water bottle from the dispenser, and set it aside. This will give you access to the reservoir, and allow you to properly clean your water cooler with ease. At this point, you may already notice some mildew forming around the reservoir, which we'll get to later on.

Step 4: Drain the Water Reservoir Clean, and Fill with Cleaning Solution

Drain any remaining water in the reservoir through the tap, and fill reservoir with the prepared cleaning solution. You may need to remove the spill guard and the baffle before doing so, and you can clean these removable parts separately.

Step 5: Scrub Clean

Use the long-handled, soft-bristled brush to scrub the entire area clean. Focus on the mildew stains, as well as the nooks and crannies that you can see through the reservoir. Clean your water cooler starting from this point, then prepare a basin to catch the water as you drain the cleaning solution.

Step 6: Drain, Rinse, and Dry

Drain away all the cleaning solution from the water dispenser, and catch it using a basin. By doing so, the solution gets through the tubes and pipes, cleaning and disinfecting them along the way. Let all the cleaning solution drain out.

Once the bleach solution is fully-drained, do 2 or 3 rinse cycles to remove any remaining residue. Fill the reservoir with plain, clean water, and keep rinsing your water cooler until the solution is completely removed from your cooler. It is a good idea to allow the dispenser to dry completely.

Step 7: Clean the Removable Parts

You can now move onto cleaning the removable parts with a vinegar solution. Soak the faucets, taps, drip tray, and any other removable part in some diluted vinegar cleaning solution made with vinegar and hot water. Do not clean the water bottle, however, as it may take on the smell of vinegar.

Let the parts soak for at least 10 minutes, then scrub clean with a brush. Rinse these parts, then let them dry before placing them back into the water cooler. The vinegar should have lifted any stains, and killed off any mildew in the process.

How to Keep a Water Dispenser Clean

  • Clean your water cooler each time you make a bottled water change. This will keep your drinking water sanitary, while keeping mold and mildew at bay.
  • Avoid placing anything other than water in the reservoir when in use. Sugary juices, sodas, fruit-infused waters, and other drinks can cause bacteria to grow in the internal parts of the cooler, and can damage the cooler as well.
  • Wipe down the exterior of the water dispenser and water bottle daily. You can use a damp cloth to clean the exterior, or add a drop of mild soap to remove any grease, oils, and fingerprints.
  • Drain the drip tray frequently to prevent mold from forming in the water.

Keep it Clean with Luce

Luce Home is your trusted cleaning partner for your home. The services we offer are well-received by our roster of clients, who trust us to keep their houses pristine quickly, efficiently, and at moderate costs! Keep your home clean with Luce!

We're just a call or email away, so contact us today to schedule your housekeeping sessions.

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