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Drinking plenty of water is needed to keep your body going year-round, and as we head into summer, it’s critical to stay hydrated. You can imagine my shock that the healthy water bottle I had chosen for my family was hiding something unhealthy. I stay away from the chemicals in plastic water bottles.

Like other health-conscious consumers, I’m not cool with what leaches from these bottles into my water when plastic is heated or cooled. I thought stainless steel brands, like Hydroflask and Yeti, were good alternatives. Who would expect mold to be hiding in your healthy water bottle?

It was hiding in each and every one of our water bottles and making us all sick in different ways with low-level mold toxicity. Now, before you think I just didn’t clean my water bottle, we clean them every day with good, natural soap and a bottle brush. But when I shined my flashlight in each of our water bottles, I found mold. I found mold under the lid around the seal, on the sides of the water bottle, and where the straw inserts into the lid. I swabbed the sides of the water bottle with a paper towel, and what came off was black mold.

Now, I encourage everyone to take a flashlight to their water bottle and follow up with a white glove test because mold could be in your water bottle, too.

Is Mold in Your Water Bottle?

Mold can grow in your water bottle from debris from your saliva or bacteria in the water. Even if you are just using your water bottle for water, it needs to be cleaned daily.

There are many people who leave their water bottles on their desks every day or leave them in their gym bags without washing them. Nope, that’s not enough! Mold is microscopic and only becomes visible after some time of mold growth.

We were cleaning ours daily and it wasn’t enough, so if you are going some time without using it, then you will likely have mold exposure. I no longer trust stainless steel water bottles and whether most people can ensure their water bottles are mold-free.

Why is this a big deal? All of us were getting exposed daily to mold. Mold exposure symptoms vary depending on the level and length of time you have been exposed.

What Are Some Symptoms of Mold Exposure?

Our family was experiencing symptoms that had me concerned about low level-mold exposure, so I was checking the usual suspects like the pillows, coffee maker, washing machine, and bathroom.

Symptoms of Mold Exposure Can Include:

  • sneezing and coughing
  • allergies
  • eye irritation
  • vision problems
  • rashes
  • hormonal imbalance (mood swings, irregular cycle for women, libido issues, etc…)
  • headaches
  • sore throat
  • hair loss
  • headaches
  • memory loss
  • autoimmune disease
  • chronic fatigue
  • muscle aches
  • weight gain
  • vertigo
  • tremors
  • confusion and disorientation
  • numbness and tingling
  • temperature regulation problems

High-level or long-term mold exposure can lead to even more serious symptoms. Chronic symptoms include respiratory disease, peripheral neurological defects, cancer, chronic fatigue type illnesses, and more.

Over time, the toxicity suppresses the immune system, which can trigger other types of illnesses. You may have read some of the stories from The Wellness Way community, such as Dr. Alex’s and Erin’s. Mold can seriously impact your health and is often a hidden enemy. I threw out my stainless-steel water bottles that were tainted with mold.

So, what can most of us do to make sure we’re using a healthy water bottle with no hidden mold?

5 Tips to Keep Your Water Bottle Mold-Free

  1. Check all of your water bottles using a flashlight and the white glove test. You can use a white towel or Q-tip, too. Check under the seal and where the straw inserts into the bottle. Check your straws, too!
  2. If using stainless steel, follow the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning. This often includes using vinegar and baking soda after every use and putting the lid in the dishwasher.
  3. Choose glass. That’s what I will be using for my family from now on. You can see what’s inside and feel the smooth surface to know it is clean. You can use a glass bottle or go old school with a Mason jar.
  4. Have you seen the UV caps? If you don’t want to give up your stainless steel check out the UV Caps. I haven’t tried them yet and they do require an initial investment that costs more than the water bottle. The cap uses UV light to sanitize the bottle and contents. It seems like a great alternative for people who are concerned.
  5. Leave your water bottle for water and choose containers that are easy to clean for some of those harder-to-clean beverages. Chia seeds are great in a smoothie for protein and omega-3sbut they are also super sticky.

Keep Your Water Bottles and Your Family Mold Free

Many of us would never think that something we use every day, like our healthy water bottle, could be hiding something so unhealthy. My family was experiencing symptoms even though we practice healthy habits including drinking plenty of water. That’s when I put it together and did some digging. If you are experiencing symptoms that are unexplained, do some digging. Make sure mold isn’t hiding in your healthy water bottle or anywhere else. If it’s not that, then keep digging to get to the bottom of what is making you sick.

Written by Dr. Jacqueline Berens of The Wellness Way, Centennial, CO
Originally published June 5, 2020. Updated May 9, 2024.

Want to hear more about Dr. Jacqueline Berens’s experience and the dangers of mold? Check out her video here.


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Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes only. It’s not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your Wellness Way clinic or personal physician, especially if currently taking prescription or over-the-counter medications. Pregnant women, in particular, should seek the advice of a physician before trying any herb or supplement listed on this website. Always speak with your individual clinic before adding any medication, herb, or nutritional supplement to your health protocol. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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