27 May 2009

How not to clean the spout of a reusable water bottle...

About a month ago now, it really started bugging me that I didn't have a way to clean out the very inside of the top spout to my new water bottles. Now, the ideal thing would be a rather thick pipe cleaner, or something very similar, but I didn't have one. So I improvised. I took a toothpick, dipped a small wad of paper towel in the dish water, and ran the toothpick+towel all the way through. The first time I tried it, there were no major problems. The second time I tried it, the toothpick broke, leaving a fragment of wood and some bits of paper towel right in the middle. This was something of a problem, as now I needed a way to get them out, and inserting another toothpick turned out to just make matters worse when it, too, broke off.

After a bit of hunting, I found a very small, narrow screwdriver that would, barely, slide all the way through the spout. It managed to push some of the broken bits out, but not all of them. So I let it sit for a week, while I tried to think of something else to try. I let it soak a bit, and tried the screwdriver again. I think I got out one small sliver. So I let the thing sit some more. Part of the problem was that the screwdriver wasn't at all flexible, so there was no real way to get it in there at a decent angle and "fish" for the bits of wood. Then on Sunday, I noticed that the little straws that had come with some juice drinks were about the right size, and they were flexible. It took a bit of work, and flexing the spout, and more work, but I finally got all the little pieces out. So that spout should now be usable again. Thankfully, it was one of the CamelBak spouts, and all of those spouts fit all of the same bottles. Unless I planned to use every bottle all at once, having that spout out of commission was mostly just a nuisance.

Anyway, don't try to clean out the spout of a water bottle with anything that might break off inside.

No comments: