A water cooler is a convenient way to provide your guests and employees with clean, chilled H2O. But just like anything situated in a moist environment, germs, bacteria and unsavoury growths, like mould, occur quickly if it’s not regularly sanitised.
In order to reap the health benefits and enjoy the clean, refreshing taste of filtered water, your water cooler or fountain needs to be maintained and cleaned on a regular basis. Most water companies recommend sanitising a cooler every six months. However, there is no harm in doing it more often. In fact, we recommend cleaning your bottled unit at least every 3 months.
Here are 6 quick DIY steps to clean your bottled water cooler:
- When your bottle is empty, remove it and unplug the cooler.
- Remove the lid and baffle (the baffle will be either a white or blue plastic funnel or disk, depending on the manufacturer) from the reservoir.
- Add 1 cup of vinegar to about 2 litres of hot water and use a soft, clean cloth to wipe the inside of the reservoir. Then drain all excess water from the cooler’s taps. Alternatively, you can use 1 tablespoon of household bleach dissolved in 3 litres of water.
- If possible, unscrew and remove the taps and proceed to wash them with a regular detergent. Otherwise, just wipe them with the vinegar solution before draining the water.
- You have to rinse the reservoir about four times to remove all traces of bleach or vinegar. Simply fill it with water and drain through the taps.
- Put the baffle and lid back, insert a new water bottle into the cooler, plug it in and you’re good to go.
Note: If your water dispenser has a hot and cold tank, it’s important that no cleaning materials get into the hot tank as it sanitises itself with the heat. Make sure to plug the hot section with a rubber stopper before cleaning the cooler.
Also make sure to keep to the dilution ratio (e.g.: 1 tablespoon/3litres) so as to not damage your cooler with harsh chemicals that can degrade the seals.
Below are some manufacturer-specific guidelines on how to clean a water cooler.
How to clean an Elkay water fountain
Thelkay range of water fountains are mainly encased in a stainless steel body and require a little extra care to stay clean and in a perfect, shiny condition.
Here are some handy cleaning tips to make sure your fountain lasts and maintains its shine and luster:
- Use a clean, soft cloth. Flannel or microfiber are good materials and keep the stainless steel shiny without leaving scratches.
- Rubbing alcohol is great to clean stainless appliances. It removes finger prints and grime and dries completely streak-free.
- You can also use a mild detergent or white vinegar to remove grease and other dirt.
- Alternatively you can buy a stainless steel polishing solution from your nearest home and hardware store.
How to clean an Oasis water cooler
The Oasis experts set out a comprehensive process to clean your water cooler without damaging it.
There are two types of Oasis coolers, those with a removable plastic reservoir and those with a stainless steel, non-removable reservoir. Below are the steps to clean these units.
- First remove the air filter at the back of the unit and be careful not to get it wet.
- Then remove the lid and baffle and proceed to unscrew the faucets.
- Remove the plastic reservoir and clean it along with all the other parts you just detached. You can use a mild detergent or a tablespoon of bleach dissolved in a few litres of water. (Do not soak in the bleach solution for more than 5 minutes.) Make sure to rinse everything thoroughly.
- To clean the reservoir of the stainless steel cooler, unscrew the back and lift off the lid. Remove the baffle and use a rubber plug to seal the opening to the hot water tank you just opened, as you don’t want any detergent getting into the hot water. Proceed to wipe the inside of the stainless reservoir with a soft cloth and detergent.
- Assemble all the parts and add your water bottle for a refreshing, clean drink.
In addition to the above tips on cleaning your cooler, you may want to invest in a few items to ensure your water is clean and safe for consumption.
- Plastic bottle hood: most bottled water or cooler distributors sell these specialised plastic hood covers. You place one of these covers over the bottle on top of the cooler so that sunlight can’t affect the water inside.
- Water cooler sanitation kit: your water company should sell a sanitation kit that contains all the materials, as well as specific instructions, you need to clean your cooler effectively.