Many members of the CCB and BCC favor the use of Camelbak water bottles. A
number of members fill the bottles with water or some form of energy drink. In both
cases, the bottles and the bottle caps may be subject to growth of mold, which, in my
opinion, is not only unsightly, but potentially detrimental to one’s health.
We have four Camelbak water bottles at home which I rinse with dish soap and warm
water after every ride. First I soak the water bottles in warm, sudsy water and then
rinse both parts with cool, clear water. Then I fill the bottle with cool water, screw on the
top and squeeze the water out of the bottle so as to remove any residue soapy residue
from the drinking valve at the cap. I then remove the cap to allow the bottles to air dry
Until recently I thought this was keeping our bottles clean, but about a week ago, I
purchased a new bottle to replace one that we had lost. When I cleaned the 3 plus one
new bottle for the first time, I noticed that the Jet Valve in the cap of the new bottle was
a bright blue and that of the older bottles was black. The liquid we drink passes through
that Jet Valve before entering our mouths. Why was it black?
Upon closer inspection of the cap and the Jet Valve (see Photo 1) and relying on my
child hood mischievousness, I sought to determine how I could clean the black Jet
Valve. I first managed to remove the soft rubber mouth piece. I accomplished this by
using the dull side of a dinner knife wedged between the lower, bottom part of the
rubber mouth piece and the shut-off valve (see Photo 2). I then slowly levered the knife
against the hard plastic so it pushed up the edge of the soft rubber while I
simultaneously pulled at the top of the mouth piece. With a little patience, the mouth
piece came off.
Once I had removed the soft rubber mouth piece, the Jet Valve was readily accessible.
It was black while the new one was a bright blue. I took a soft, clean and moist cotton
rag (about 5 x 3 cm in size) and slowly wiped the top of the Jet Valve. To my surprise
and applying a very soft touch, underneath the black coating hid the original blue color.
Once the top of the Jet Valve was back to its true blue, my continued curiosity
questioned whether the internal parts of the Jet Valve were also dirty. To check, I slowly
twisted one corner of my cloth into a small spiral and pushed the pointy end of the spiral
into the top of the Jet Valve (see Photo 4). I pushed and simultaneously screwed the
spiral further into the valve. When about 3 cm of the cloth had entered the valve, I
slowly and carefully pulled it out. As it emerged, the cloth was completely covered in
black “stuff”. Regardless of what the black material really was, I knew it needed to be
removed so I repeated this procedure several times until the cloth came out clean.
I then filled the bottle with water, put the cap back on and flushed the internal parts of
the cap by squeezing out the water.
Photo 1: Camelbak cap, fully assembled
Photo 2: Using back side of a dinner knife to wedge off the soft rubber mouth piece.
Photo 3: Rubber mouthpiece removed, showing blue Jet Valve (black if dirty).
Photo 4: Using a clean cloth pushed into the top of the blue Jet Valve to clean internals
Then praying to all the gods I knew, I went about re-assembling the valve. I slowly
pushed the soft rubber mouth piece back onto the valve while lining up the various
curvy bottom parts and to my eternal joy, it was soon back to its original state. I then
proceeded to clean the two other bottle caps which I also found to be very dirty.
What surprised me more than anything is the amount of black mold that had been
hidden inside the valve itself. I recommend that you clean your bottles and caps
frequently, especially if you use sugary, energy drinks. I also assume there are other
ways of cleaning the inside of the Camelbak Jet Valves, so consider this a “homegrown”
uncertified, means to an end.
(1) Please don’t hold me responsible for any damage you may cause to your bottles. If
your patient and careful, there should be no damage, but there are no guarantees given
(2) The underside of the caps and interior of the bottles should be cleaned throughly
with a small bottle brush as well.
(3) I don’t recommend using Javex to clean the bottles as I don’t know the impact that
the chlorine will have on 2the plastic and rubber components
(4) I also do not recommend cleaning the bottles in dishwasher as the heat may deform
(5) Camelbak does sell cleaning tablets for the bottles, but after I spoke to their
customer care staff, they don’t know if the tablets will also throughly clean the cap