How to Clean a Canteen

How to Clean a Canteen

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Canteens -- both plastic and metal -- are employed by a wide range of people including hikers, backpackers and military personnel to keep hydrated while in the wild or on maneuvers. The proper care and maintenance of a canteen includes regular cleaning with a few simple items to prevent the formation of potentially harmful molds or bacteria.

Items you will need

  • Canteen

  • Hot water

  • Mild detergent

  • Baking soda

Step 1

Empty the contents of the canteen into a sink. Remove the lid and pour any remaining liquid into a sink. Inspect the exterior of the canteen for damage.

Step 2

Pour a small amount of mild detergent into the canteen. Add enough hot water to fill the canteen half full. Cover the top of the canteen and shake it vigorously. Agitate the soapy water in the canteen so that it washes the inside thoroughly.

Step 3

Place the canteen under hot running water and flush the interior to remove all of the soapy water.

Step 4

Place a drop or two of mild detergent on the cap. Use your fingers or a small brush to wash the lid and any seals and threads. Work the detergent into all parts of the lid. Rinse the lid thoroughly under hot water.

Step 5

Place 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda into the canteen followed by 1/2 cup of hot water. Cover the opening and shake the canteen to disperse the solution. Rinse the interior of the canteen thoroughly under hot running water.


  • Clean your canteen following each use.
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