The 7-Step Process for Keeping Your Water Cooler Spotless

It might be time to give your water cooler a thorough cleaning if you've noticed that it appears soiled and possibly even moldy. Microfibers and germs can enter your water cooler if you don't clean it frequently, making it unsafe to drink (1).

This process need not be time-consuming. Our seven-step process requires only 15 minutes. If you want to know how to clean a water cooler in the simplest and most efficient way possible, keep reading. For countertop, bottom-loading, and top-loading dispensers, use these instructions.

If you adhere to this cleaning schedule, your water will be much fresher and safer to drink.

Checklist for Cleaning a Water Cooler

Let's first review a brief summary. Here's how to sanitize and clean your water cooler right now:

  • Unplug water dispensers before cleaning them. When the bottle is empty, pour the extra water into a basin.
  • Remove and clean the plastic components, including the water guard, baffle, and drip tray. Before cleaning, wash in the dishwasher or soak in hot, soapy water.
  • Mix distilled white vinegar and water in a 1:3 ratio to create a cleaning solution.
  • Pour the cleaning solution into the reservoir to fill it. To get rid of dirt and grime, scrub Before draining through the water cooler, let the solution sit for two minutes.
  • Rinse: Fill the reservoir with plain water and drain it. Three times, repeat
  • Mix one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water to sanitize. Fill the reservoir with the solution, then wait two minutes for it to drain through.
  • Rinse: Fill the reservoir with plain water, then drain it. To make sure there is no bleach residue left behind, repeat five times.
  • Put all the plastic components back onto the cooler after cleaning and reassembling. Include a fresh bottle. Reconnect the appliance Use antibacterial wipes to clean the outside.

Expert Opinion

Never use bleach to clean stainless steel surfaces Bleach can harm your appliance and corrode stainless steel (2).

The frequency of water cooler cleaning

Every time you change the bottle or every six weeks, whichever comes first, we advise cleaning the water cooler (3).

By regularly cleaning, you can combat contamination. Since people drink from it, you want your water cooler to be very hygienic.

At least twice a year, try to sanitize the water cooler.

Cleaning a Water Cooler

Let's discuss the most effective way to clean a top-loading water cooler. We'll discuss the interior, exterior, as well as plastic parts.

There are no harsh chemicals used in this technique. Instead, we'll clean with non-toxic, environmentally friendly distilled white vinegar.

You'll require:

  • Dishwasher, if desired
  • A basin or bucket
  • Large jug for pouring
  • Hot water
  • Dish soap
  • Alcohol-based white vinegar
  • Cleansing brush
  • A microfiber cloth
  • Spray with several uses

1 Get the water cooler ready.

Remove the water cooler's plug before you begin. In accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations, take out the empty bottle and dispose of it. Fill a sink with the cooler's excess water, then flush the toilet.

2 Remove and clean plastic components.

Remove all the plastic components that are removable, including the drip tray, the baffle, and the water guard. You can put these in the dishwasher to clean them, if the manufacturer permits.

If not, prepare a sink or basin with hot, soapy water. Prior to using a cloth or brush to remove dirt and grime, soak the parts in there for 20 minutes. Let it air dry flat on a towel.

3 Make a vinegar cleaning solution.

Mix distilled white vinegar and water in a large pouring jug at a 1:3 ratio. This will serve as your cleaning agent.

4 Reservoir With Cleaner Filled

Your cleaning solution should be added to the reservoir. To get rid of dirt and grime accumulation, scrub well. After two minutes, let the solution drain through the water cooler.

Fill a bucket with water, drain it, and flush it down the toilet.

5 Rinse the inside of the cooler.

Rinse with plain water once more after the previous step to remove all vinegar traces. To make sure the water is fit for drinking, repeat this procedure three times.

6 Rebuild the cooler

Reattach all the plastic parts to the cooler. Include the fresh water bottle To check that everything is operating properly, run the water.

7 Keep the Outside Clean

Spray a multipurpose spray onto a microfiber cloth. Clean the water cooler's exterior thoroughly, paying attention to the new bottle, the body, and the faucets. This will eliminate grime and germs.

A Bottom-Loading Water Dispenser's Cleaning Procedure

The instructions vary slightly if you're wondering how to clean a bottom-loading water cooler. But it's still simple and fairly quick. Additionally, your cleaning kit doesn't require as many items.

You'll require:

  • Alcohol-based white vinegar
  • Water
  • A funnel, if desired
  • Two microfiber rags
  • Spray with several uses
  • Jug or basin

1 Set up the water dispenser

Remove the water bottle's plug first. Remove the water bottle next, and then pour any remaining water from the reservoir into a bowl or water jug. Drain it into the toilet

2 Combine the cleaning agent

You will mix your cleaning agent into the water cooler directly this time. Fill the water bottle with a 1:3 mixture of distilled white vinegar and water. It need not be completely filled. Three cups of water and even one cup of vinegar will suffice. Using a funnel makes pouring the liquids easier.

Shake the bottle to mix the vinegar and water.

Replacing the bottle in the cooler

A Different Step

Baking soda can be used to clean it in the absence of vinegar. Apply the same ratio and strategy as before.

3 Pump out the reservoir

Once all of the cleaning solution has been drained from the system, turn on the taps to stop the draining process.

4 Clean the water dispenser.

Fill the bottle with about three liters of water to finish cleaning the interior of the water cooler. To thoroughly rinse the water bottle and taps, turn on the spigots.

5 Keep the Outside Clean

Apply multipurpose spray to a microfiber cloth. Clean up the exterior of the device. Take out the drip tray and scrub that as well. On the drip tray, a lot of grime can accumulate.

6 Cooler Drying

Clean up the water cooler with a dry microfiber cloth, making sure it's completely dry. Put fresh water in the water bottle or put in a replacement. Reconnect it, and you're good to go.

How to Clean a Water Bottle

The aforementioned procedures thoroughly clean your water cooler, but you might want to go the extra mile and sanitize it with bleach. Instead, you can use the self-cleaning feature on your water cooler if it has one.

Wear safety gear because bleach is corrosive, as you should be aware. To make sure there are no traces of bleach in the taps, you must also thoroughly flush out the system.

Are You Aware?

If your water cooler hasn't been cleaned in a while, this is a great option. Bleach will be the best cleaning solution because you might notice mold and mildew.

You'll require:

  • Dishwasher, if desired
  • An urn or basin
  • Giant jug for pouring
  • Hot water
  • Dish soap
  • Bleach
  • Cleansing brush
  • A microfiber cloth
  • Spray with several uses
  • Mask, goggles, and gloves
  • Disinfectant wipes

1 Get the water cooler ready.

To prepare the area before cleaning a water dispenser, follow these steps.

Disconnect the water cooler's power, take out the empty bottle, pour the extra water into a sink, and flush the container down the toilet.

2 Remove and clean plastic components.

Unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer, remove the plastic components and wash them in the dishwasher. If not, soak them in hot, soapy water for 20 minutes before scrubbing with a brush or cloth. When they're clean, lay them flat on a towel to air dry.

3 Create a cleaning solution with bleach.

We advise against using undiluted bleach. Create a solution instead. But first, put on your safety gear.

Mix one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water in a sizable bucket or pouring jug.

4 Reservoir With Bleach Filled

Fill the cooler reservoir with the bleach solution and scrub it thoroughly. Wait two minutes before letting the solution drain through. Fill a bucket with water, then flush it down the toilet.

5 Rinse Well

In order to remove any bleach residue from water coolers, this is the most important step to take. Five times through the reservoir with plain water Though it may seem excessive, it is essential.

6 Rebuild the cooler

Place the clean plastic components back on. Reconnect the water dispenser and add a fresh water bottle.

7 Exterior Cleaning

Use antibacterial wipes to thoroughly sanitize the exterior. Clean the exterior of the water cooler, including the new bottle, the body, and the tapes, to get rid of any dirt or germs.

Upkeep of a Water Cooler

Maintaining a water cooler after purchase will ensure that it lasts for a long time and is safe for people to use. We recommend the following:

  • Hire a cleaning service: If the cooler hasn't been cleaned in a while and you're unsure how to proceed, think about hiring a water dispenser cleaning service. This is a smart move, especially if your system has mold or mildew.
  • Dust can accumulate on the wires of water coolers, so vacuum them. Dust accumulation can damage appliances. Dust the water cooler frequently, but also vacuum the inner wiring system with your soft-bristled vacuum attachment to get rid of extra dust.
  • Clean frequently: Every time you replace the bottle, you can carry out this 15-minute cleaning procedure. This will maintain the condition of your water cooler.
  • Avoid lubricating the compressor because it needs an airtight seal.
  • When a bottle is finished but you intend to wait a few hours before replacing it, unplug the water cooler. It is an energy waster.
  • Purification filter replacements should be made every six months. Otherwise, the water quality may deteriorate, making it unsafe to drink.


Your water cooler should last about five years with proper care, especially if you purchased a commercial-grade model.

However, if you neglect the cleaning and upkeep, your water cooler may only last for a year.

Yes Mold thrives in warm, humid environments with little airflow. Therefore, don't be alarmed if you notice mold in your water cooler. Regular deep cleaning can stop mold growth before it has a chance to take hold.

Having said all of this, you might want to refrain from utilizing water coolers at all. If you have one in your house and keep it clean, everything will be fine. However, if you share a water cooler with coworkers, you run the risk of getting sick.

Your coworkers might not always have clean hands before they touch the taps, even if a shared water cooler is cleaned daily and sanitized once per week (4). On the outside of the water cooler, germs and bacteria can quickly accumulate and contaminate the water or your drinking glass.

Legionnaires' disease and Pontiac fever-causing bacteria are frequently discovered in office water coolers (5).

So even if you thoroughly clean a water dispenser, bacteria can still grow there. It's unfortunate if your business has spent money on a commercial water dispenser, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

Definitely Water from a filthy dispenser that has been tainted will never taste good. Cleaning the cooler thoroughly will improve the taste of your water.

To start, look in the user manual for your specific model to find the relevant troubleshooting advice. If none of them function, speak with the manufacturer to see if they can send a repairman or a replacement. Your water system may even be covered by a warranty.

However, in general, you can try the following:

  • Leaks from the cooler: The bottle is probably the source of the leak if it is coming from the cooler. The plastic could crack, leading to a leak. Take the bottle out and try another one. If the leak stops, you'll know the bottle was to blame.
  • Leaks from the drip tray: Regularly empty the drip tray to prevent it from filling up. This will stop drip tray leaks on its own.
  • The time may have come to tighten the taps if there are leaks from them. They can be slightly twisted to stop the leaking. If that doesn't work, you might need to have the taps' springs or washers replaced. To complete this task, remove the water bottle, drain the cooler tank, and call an engineer.

Do not use the water cooler if there are still leaks. Before resuming use, contact the manufacturer and wait until the issue has been resolved.

Pristine and cool

Your water cooler will be free of bacteria, germs, and tainted water now that you know how to clean one. Additionally, it will look much better, especially if you previously had mold and mildew buildup.

Remember that while bleach works best for sanitizing the water dispenser, you can also use distilled white vinegar for a thorough clean.

Make sure to sanitize the system 2-3 times per year and to clean the cooler each time you change the bottle.

Last but not least, never use bleach to clean a stainless steel system. This might lead to damage and corrosion.

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