How your plastic water bottle could be harbouring more germs than a DOG BOWL

Tests on water bottles were carried out by Minneapolis-based fitness website Treadmill Reviews. It found harmful bacteria such as E.coli lurking on the refillable water containers.

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  • Tests found water bottles were harbouring dangerous germs like E.coli
  • Some had more harmful bacteria than a dog bowl, toy or a toilet seat
  • Slide-top types found to be the worst and those with a straw the best 

Most gym-goers make regular trips to the water cooler armed with a plastic bottle, happy they’re doing their bit for the environment while keeping hydrated.

But while quenching your thirst after pounding the treadmill is a vital part of any workout, it turns out you could actually unwittingly make yourself sick.

New research has discovered these plastic water bottles can harbour more germs than a toilet seat.

In fact, slugging from the same refillable vessel was found to be ‘many times worse than licking your dog’s toy’.

Tests revealed thousands of moisture-loving bacteria crawling all over the spouts and caps.

Research by lab-tested 12 refillable water bottles that had been used by athletes over the course of a week.

In fact, the average person’s water bottle was found to have over 300,000 colony forming units of bacteria.

Perhaps most surprising, most of these germs were the most harmful types – known as gram negative rods – such as E.coli and salmonella.

There were a host of bacteria linked to skin infections, pneumonia as well as blood poisoning.


Slide-top versions had the highest germ content, with more than 900,000 colony-forming units per square centimeter (CFU/sq) cm on average.

They had the most gram-positive cocci, which have been linked to skin infections, pneumonia and blood poisoning.

Squeeze-top bottles were next with 162,000 CFU/sq cm while screw-top containers had around 160,000 CFU/sq cm.

Meanwhile, straw-top bottles were by far and above the winners with only 25 CFU/sq cm.

It is thought it could be because water drips to the bottom of the straw rather than sticking around to attract moisture-loving germs.

Those found at the tops of straws were ‘mostly harmless.’

‘Based on our test results, we suggest opting for a straw-top bottle, both for the low prevalence of bacteria and the lack of harmful germs,’ the fitness website said.

While no tests were performed on re-using standard shop-bought mineral water bottles, the results suggest there would be a similar high level of germs.

The Missouri-based website says stainless steel vessels are a better choice than plastic.

It also recommends running bottles through the dishwasher or handwashing thoroughly after every use.



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