How to Clean Hydration Bladder

For those not familiar, hydration bladders are soft-sided plastic packs with drinking tubes to allow people to drink without stopping their run. They are small enough to fit inside backpack pockets while also capable of carrying enough water to keep you hydrated during the most strenuous outdoor adventures. It’s also simple to use. Just take the drinking tube and just suck it like you’re drinking water from a straw

You might be asking yourself, “why do I need to clean my hydration pack since I’ve already filled it with clean water?” Because, your hydration pack can be infested by bacteria and mold if left uncleaned. Well, since you clicked on this article on how to clean your hydration bladder, we are here to guide you.

1. Gather your cleaning supplies

How To Clean Hydration Bladder | PTT Outdoor
A hydration bladder cleaning brush set, comprising a long brush for cleaning the pack, a small brush for cleaning the bite valve and a flexible snake brush for cleaning the drinking tube. (Image credit:

Obviously, the first and most important step is to have your supplies ready before cleaning the hydration bladder. Typically, the tools you will need include a long brush for cleaning the pack itself, a small brush for cleaning the bite valve and a flexible snake brush for cleaning the drinking tube. You will also need a mild dish soap with cleaning solutions such as household bleach, baking soda and lemon juice as well as clothespins or hangers to dry it once you’re finished cleaning it.

2. Soak it

How To Clean Hydration Bladder
Pinching the bite valve to allow the cleaning mixture to enter the drinking tube. (Image credit: REI Co-op)

Now we can start cleaning the hydration bladder. First, start by adding warm water to the bladder and any cleaning solutions, seal the bladder up and shake it. After that, lift the bladder up, leaving the drinking tube to aim at the sink. Then, pinch the bite valve until water flows through the tube. This ensures that both the bladder and the tube are filled with the cleaning mixture. The soaking should take about 20 minutes after which you can drain the mixture and proceed with the next step.

3. Scrub and Rinse it.

How To Clean Hydration Bladder
Scrubbing the bladder with dish soap. (Image credit: REI Co-op)

Same as the previous step, fill up the bladder and tube with warm water but mix it with a little dish soap. Disassemble the bite valve from the tube and use the brushes to scrub all the pieces of the hydration bladder separately. Use the long brush for the bladder itself, the short bladder for the bite valve and the flexible snake brush for the drinking tube. Once you’re done, thoroughly rinse the pieces until no traces of the soap mixture remain.

4. Dry it.

How To Clean Hydration Bladder
Hanging hydration bladders to dry. (Image credit: @azolyak/Twitter)

Now that the cleaning is done, the last step is to leave all pieces of the hydration bladder to dry. It is better to leave the pieces somewhere where there is little to no moisture which invites mold growth such as a drying rack outside beneath the hot sun.


And there you have it, those are the 4 steps of how to clean hydration bladder. With a clean hydration bladder, you won’t become sick from drink mold or bacteria-infested drinking water. That is why it is important to always clean them once you come back home from your outdoor adventure. Now that you know how to clean hydration bladder, why don’t you share it with your friends as well so that they know how to?

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