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Mold in Camelbak drinking tube

Old 10-02-22, 03:53 AM
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BikeGuy2
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Mold in Camelbak drinking tube

Hello fellow riders,
I have noticed a lot of this stuff that looks like mold in my Camelbak drinking tube. I have tried using vinegar, dish soaps and letting it soak but this does not work. Can anyone tell me a solution to getting rid of it?
Thanks
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Old 10-02-22, 04:48 AM
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What I do if/when I get mold…take the tube off the bag, and mouth fixture off tube. Straighten out a wire coat hanger (make sure it’s at least as long as the tube). Spray a bleach solution into the tube. Then force a small wad of cotton or cloth through the tube with the wire until the mold is cleaned off. Rinse thoroughly, and reassemble.

To prevent mold in the future…if you’re putting sugary drinks in the bag…make sure everything is rinsed thoroughly after each use. If it’s necessary to keep unused beverage in the bag…keep the bag in the garage fridge between uses.

Dan

Last edited by _ForceD_; 10-02-22 at 04:56 AM.
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Old 10-02-22, 05:56 AM
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I push a ball of wet paper towel through with a length of cable housing. With my latest pack, I decided to stick with plain water to avoid this issue.
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Old 10-02-22, 06:42 AM
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Get a tube brush
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Old 10-02-22, 06:42 AM
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In addition to cleaning after use, remember to let thoroughly dry before storage.
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Old 10-02-22, 06:57 AM
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This is why this kit is made.
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Old 10-02-22, 08:54 AM
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Soak for a time in water and Clorox bleach. Or soak in hydrogen peroxide. Or soak in some water and Oxyclean.

Hydrogen Peroxide probably works the best. But bleach is cheaper and always on hand here. I sometimes will have to take the silicone nipples apart on water bottles and soak them good when little bits of mold or mildew start showing. Probably would be better to just regularly soak them before it shows up. But I haven't gotten into that habit.
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Old 10-02-22, 09:15 AM
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Tube brush and bleach.
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Old 10-02-22, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by BikeGuy2 View Post
Hello fellow riders,
I have noticed a lot of this stuff that looks like mold in my Camelbak drinking tube. I have tried using vinegar, dish soaps and letting it soak but this does not work. Can anyone tell me a solution to getting rid of it?
Thanks
I would not use bleach. It’s not really meant to be consumed. Soak in hydrogen peroxide with a bit of dishwashing liquid. Then physically remove any remaining bits with a piece of chinelle (pipe cleaner for the less sophisticated) dipped in the same solution. That’s what “pipe cleaners” were designed for. Rinse well.
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Old 10-02-22, 10:18 AM
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Clean somewhat frequently and hydrogen peroxide is a great bleach substitute. If it is too bad already, just buy some new tubing at Hone Depot. that way you also can different lengths.

I used to store them in my freezer after use. That way you prevent any growth. it is nearly impossible to get it 100% sterile after every use.
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Old 10-02-22, 01:19 PM
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Common household bleach, otherwise known by the brand name of Clorox is good for both a disinfectant and sanitizer. And it's EPA approved and at the proper dilution levels it even tells you on the label that it is safe for dishes and utensils and other things you use with food.

Not certain why the caution not to use bleach. However I will agree that hydrogen peroxide generally works best between the two for mold and mildew. Especially on porous surfaces.
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Old 10-02-22, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
This is why this kit is made.
Beat me to it!
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Old 10-02-22, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I would not use bleach. It’s not really meant to be consumed. Soak in hydrogen peroxide with a bit of dishwashing liquid. Then physically remove any remaining bits with a piece of chinelle (pipe cleaner for the less sophisticated) dipped in the same solution. That’s what “pipe cleaners” were designed for. Rinse well.
Who's consuming bleach? I've been cleaning bottles and bladders/tubes for years with bleach. I rinse it out w/ this stuff called water. Camelback makes cleaning kits, why bother using anything else?
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Old 10-02-22, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
Who's consuming bleach? I've been cleaning bottles and bladders/tubes for years with bleach. I rinse it out w/ this stuff called water. Camelback makes cleaning kits, why bother using anything else?
New thread: What’s the best CamelBak tube cleaning water?
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Old 10-02-22, 07:26 PM
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I have a CB bladder soaking with a bleach/water solution as we speak (type?).

A capful of bleach in 3L of water...let sit for a day or so, then rinse with warm water. I've been cleaning hydration bladders using that method for @ 20 years with no ill effects to me or the bladders.
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Old 10-02-22, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
Who's consuming bleach? I've been cleaning bottles and bladders/tubes for years with bleach. I rinse it out w/ this stuff called water. Camelback makes cleaning kits, why bother using anything else?
It is foolish to use the toxic alternative when a nontoxic, or at least less toxic, alternative exists.
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Old 10-02-22, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Common household bleach, otherwise known by the brand name of Clorox is good for both a disinfectant and sanitizer. And it's EPA approved and at the proper dilution levels it even tells you on the label that it is safe for dishes and utensils and other things you use with food.
Those are generally hard surface materials that are easy to rinse completely as well as being unreactive towards the dishes and untensils. The same can’t be said of the plastic. It does react with the plastic and the break down products aren’t necessarily good for you.

Not certain why the caution not to use bleach. However I will agree that hydrogen peroxide generally works best between the two for mold and mildew. Especially on porous surfaces.
Because household bleach is not that safe to use. It can be irritating and it can have bad reactions is mixed with certain chemicals. Hydrogen peroxide…in household concentrations…doesn’t have the same problems. There is little that the peroxide could react with to make any side chemicals. It does much the same thing as chlorine bleach without the issues. And, contrary to what has been said above, hydrogen peroxide is cheaper… about 3¢ per ounce vs 6¢ per ounce.

As someone who have worked extensively with chlorine and chlorine containing compounds, I can tell you that is not a material to treat lightly.
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Old 10-02-22, 10:28 PM
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Don't they dunk chickens in bleach to disinfect the meat?

I understand the concern with plastic and bleach, though. Best to avoid any chlorine. Even if you don't touch or ingest it, it's gases attack your lungs.

As for H2O2, I recently bought 12% off Amazon since most what is sold is 3% only. You can see it foam when it hits organic matter. At my workplace the custodians clean the bathrooms with a machine that uses a hydrogen peroxide cleaner. It is much more environmentally friendly and less harsh than what they used before.

Only caution is that it can degrease your skin. Do wear some gloves. But that is true for any cleaner.
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Old 10-03-22, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
To prevent mold in the future…if you’re putting sugary drinks in the bag…make sure everything is rinsed thoroughly after each use.
I empty the bladder immediately after use and wash with dish soap, including the drinking tube and valve, even if I've only had water in the bladder. I never store anything in the bladder. If I haven't emptied it during my ride, I do so immediately afterwards To dry, after rinsing I shake all of the water out that I can, loosely stuff some paper towels in the bladder, and dry the drinking tube by whirling it around so that the residual rinse water is forced into the valve, then shake out the water from the valve/blot with paper towel. The tube and valve are the most likely places for mold to develop, they warrant extra attention during the cleaning process.

It's a pain, but I've learned from hard experience (i.e. having to throw away my first Camelback bladder, and a couple of bottles). The combination of sugary drink and any backwash from one's mouth create a perfect environment for bacteria/mold growth. Rinsing/washing/drying bottles and bladders always, and I mean ALWAYS, takes place within half an hour of ride completion - I think of it as part of my "cool-down".
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Old 10-03-22, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
This is why this kit is made.
The tube brush here does a great job of cleaning out the mold. In addition to cleaning out my hydration pack IMMEDIATELY after riding, I will occasionally fill it with hot water and drop in a couple of denture cleaning tablets and let it sit for a while.
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Old 10-03-22, 07:19 AM
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As others have suggested a bottle or tube brush works.

Be aware that if you opt to use a bleach solution, go sparingly with the bleach. It can damage the liner of the bag itself and actually lead to further problems with mold and such.
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Old 10-03-22, 07:28 AM
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If you've got mold in the tube, a combination of bleach solution and tube brush may be needed. I'd think about a quick rinse, followed by scrubbing with the brush, then coil the tube up and soak it in a bleach solution. Rinse with water (three times or until you're bored holding it under the faucet) and dry thoroughly.

To prevent recurrence, as noted previously, use only water in the hydration pack. (Carbs and salts go in a more easily cleaned water bottle.) After each use, I unplug the mouthpiece and bladder plug from the tube and dry it open. You may not need to do this if you're using the hydration pack daily, but my tube is clean and still long enough after several years' use and annual trimming (to deal with stretching over the end pieces).

Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
As someone who have worked extensively with chlorine and chlorine containing compounds, I can tell you that is not a material to treat lightly.
Reminds me of the middle 1970s when the California legislature considered a bill to outlaw chlorine in any product. IIRC it passed one house before someone pointed out that salt (NaCl) would also be outlawed by that bill. This kind of phobia isn't really called for. "The dose makes the poison" still applies. The soaking can be done outdoors if the bleach odor is offensive, diluting the outgassing hypochlorite to well below the damage threshold.
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Old 10-03-22, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
but my tube is clean and still long enough after several years' use and annual trimming (to deal with stretching over the end pieces).
Family forum, pal. Reported!
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Old 10-03-22, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Family forum, pal. Reported!
Walked right into that one!
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Old 10-03-22, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
New thread: What’s the best CamelBak tube cleaning water?
been making my own auto windshield washer fluid. well, not from scratch, I buy the tablets & use them with distilled water
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