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Have you ever taken a big gulp from your water bottle, expecting cool refreshment, only to be repulsed by the taste of liquid plastic? Plenty of sports bottles, particularly the inexpensive kind, make the water they hold taste like plastic. There are a few tricks you can use to remove this unwanted feature from your bottles before they ruin your next workout.
Remove the Taste
The first way to remove the plastic taste from a bottle is to rinse it thoroughly in hot water followed by cold water. If that doesn't work, try using vinegar. Vinegar is excellent for removing smells, and plastic is no exception. Fill the bottle with 2 to 3 tbsp. of vinegar plus hot water and let it sit overnight. Be sure to rinse thoroughly to remove all the vinegar.
Baking soda can also help in your quest for better tasting water. Add 2 tbsp. to the bottle, fill the rest with water, shake, and let sit for several hours. Rinse well. You can also try squeezing some fresh lemon or lime juice into the baking soda water for added freshness, although this method may cause some foaming action, so do it over a sink.
You can fill the bottle with water mixed with bleach, but this may leave you with a water bottle that smells and tastes of bleach instead of plastic. If you choose to use bleach, be sure to rinse well and follow up with a baking soda soak to neutralize the bleach smell.
Avoid leaving your water-filled bottles in hot places such as a closed car or in the sun. The heat can make the water taste more like plastic. One way to avoid the plastic taste entirely is to purchase a bottle made from a different type of plastic. You can try bottles made out of PET (polyethylene terephthalate), a food-grade plastic tested by the FDA, which does not imbue the water with a plastic taste. However, some sources say that you shouldn't reuse PET type bottles more than once or twice as the plastic may eventually leach chemicals into your water. Another option is a heavy duty water bottle like those made by Camelback, which rarely make your water taste like plastic.
Health Concerns About Plastic
If you're concerned about health risks from chemicals in the plastic, some experts recommend using HDPE #2 or LDPE (low-density polyethylene) #4 plastics. Be wary of bottles that are not BPA (bisphenol A) free, such as Lexan #7 plastics. BPA acts as a hormone disruptor and can cause health issues, such as increased estrogen levels, birth defects, developmental impairment, and other problems when ingested regularly. According to one five-year study conducted by Kaiser Permanente and funded by NIOSH, exposure to high levels of BPA quadrupled men's risk of erectile dysfunction and raised their rate of ejaculatory difficulty seven-fold. Many sources feel that if your water tastes like plastic, it has plastic in it. Therefore, if the health risks of plastics are a major concern for you, you may want to skip plastic altogether and use an alternative bottle such as those made from stainless steel.
Alana Grelyak is a writer and musician living in Chicago, Illinois. Grelyak earned a Master's Degree in music from the University of Wisconsin, and has written on the topics of entertainment, restaurants, music, telecommunications, and more. Her work has appeared in numerous places, including Punchline, Lumino Magazine, Time Out Chicago, Midwest Beat, Pipeline, and others.