Pollution, overconsumption of plastic, microplastics found in mineral water bottles, skyrocketing prices… There are many reasons why we buy a water bottle. Reusable bottles are popular on the corner of the table, in our backpack or in the car. But do these eco-friendly properties only have advantages? How to prevent them from becoming a real breeding ground for bacteria during daily use? We asked this question to Marc-André Selos, a biologist and professor at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris (Île-de-France). Western France responds to you.
Where do bacteria come from?
First of all, it is important to remember that most bacteria are not dangerous to health. “There are microbes that are vital to the functioning of our digestive tract and our immune system, and they come through our diet,” – says Marc-Andre Selos.
But then, where do these bacteria come from? Involuntarily, when we drink from a gourd, we deposit saliva and pieces of skin from our lips, which stick to the mucous membrane, promoting the growth of bacteria. Solution: Use water in a glass. However, the professor wants to reassure: This is more of a taste risk than a health risk, the bacteria that develop are not necessarily pathogenic to humans. »
But be careful if you store coffee or syrup in a bottle, for example. “Sweet drinks have more molecules that can promote microbial growth, and they can become a little less healthy.” – adds the teacher.
Read also: PODCAST. Are water bottles really greener than plastic?
How to properly wash a water bottle?
Although your water bottle does not pose any danger to your health, it is still important to clean it regularly to eliminate biofilms, those layers of microorganisms that have stuck to the surface. To do this, it is advisable to clean the bottle with a swab with water and a small amount of soap. This cleaning should be done every two to four weeks, except for sugary drinks, where you need to clean the reusable bottle more often.
However, this delay can be increased if your water is filled with limestone. “If you notice lime stains forming during drying, as they are a good place for germs to get stuck, don’t hesitate to rinse with white vinegar for a long time before brushing your teeth.” – says the biologist.
It is also not recommended to put the bottle in the dishwasher, as water will not penetrate well inside. “In other words, wash the bottle every day, let it dry, this will prevent germs from growing. And, from time to time, clean it. »
Choosing the right material
There are many different brands of reusable bottles on the market today. They can be plastic, glass, aluminum or stainless steel. Their composition is an important criterion.
This is why Marc-André Selosse bans plastic water bottles, because they can emit microplastics, which themselves emit molecules that are harmful to the body. Aluminum is also not recommended, as“It releases aluminum lesions that are harmful to health”. To avoid these formulations, it is recommended to use stainless steel or glass bottles instead.
“As much as we have to clean our items that are lying around, every now and then we clean a water bottle and that’s it.” – continues the biologist. And in conclusion: “The real problem is taste, not health. So, by brushing too often, we are killing the microbes that are good for us. »