Adding a slice of lemon or a squirt of lemon juice make my water taste more interesting and it's a great way to get me to drink more bottles each day.
But can you add lemon juice to your CamelBak bottle or is it going to damage the bottle in some way?
CamelBak bottles are made from Eastman Tritan plastic and are generally considered safe to hold water with some lemon juice in it. Avoid putting straight lemon juice in your CamelBak bottle as it can potentially corrode the plastic and don't leave lemon juice for long periods of time in your bottle. Wash it regularly.
As for the CamelBak bladders:
CamelBak bladders can hold water with lemon juice in it without issue and lemon juice can be a great way to remove odors and bad tastes from a CamelBak bladder. However, you shouldn't use straight lemon juice or leave lemon water for long periods of time in your bladder.
Thorough washing is always required after having lemon juice in your bladder otherwise mold and bacteria can quickly grow.
Will Lemon Juice Affect My Plastic Camelbak Bottle?
Lemon juice is very acidic. With a pH level of 2-3 it's actually 100,000 times more acidic than water.
Lemon juice can cause plastic to break down over time, potentially leading to increased amounts of microplastics leaching into your drink.
However, usually people are putting lemon juice in water and so this greatly dilutes it and reduces it's acidity significantly making it less corrosive.
CamelBak bottles are made from Eastman Tritan plastic, which is a BPA and BPS free plastic and a highly durable and long lasting plastic.
My friend has a Nalgene bottle (made from the same plastic as CamelBak bottles) that is around 15 years old and despite the measurements being worn off on the outside the bottle itself is still in great condition.
Eastman Tritan seems to be resistant to breaking down or leaching, however there isn't a lot of data to back this up.
However, prolonged exposure to the acid levels found in lemon juice is known to break down other variants of plastic and can permanently damage them.
Check out how badly this plastic measuring cup was damaged by lemon juice:
Ultimately it's up to you whether or not you feel safe putting lemon juice in your CamelBak water bottles.
For me personally I'll put lemon juice/lemon water in my CamelBak bottles on the odd occasion, but I don't make a habit of it and I prefer to use glass bottles for lemon water as glass is non-reactive and I want to avoid ruining my plastic bottles and I want to avoid potential chemical leaching.
Will Lemon Juice Affect A CamelBak Bladder?
CamelBak bladders are great for staying hydrated on the trail but is it ok to add lemon juice to your CamelBak bladder or could it potentially cause issues.
Lemon juice (diluted in water) is generally considered safe in CamelBak bladders and is often recommended as a way to effectively clean CamelBak bladders and remove bad smells and tastes. CamelBak bladders are made from TPU and this type of plastic is extremely durable and resistant to lemon juice.
The biggest issue with using lemon juice in CamelBak bladders is it can encourage bacteria growth.
CamelBak bladders are already difficult to clean and can be prone to growing mold even when you just use water. If you don't clean your CamelBak bladder properly after each use, especially when using lemon juice, then bacteria will grow in the hard to reach (and hard to dry) areas.
You can clean mold out of CamelBak bladders, but preventing mold from growing in the first place is always the best option.
How Many Lemons Should You Put In Your Camelbak Bottle?
You taste, preferences and how big your bottle is will all affect how much lemon you want to add to your CamelBak water bottle.
Generally, use no more than 1 to 2 lemon slices per 16-20 ounces of water. For me personally I might add 1-2 slices to my 32 oz CamelBak bottle – just to give it a bit of flavor without making it too acidic.
Adding too much lemon to the bottle can make the water too acidic or sour which can discolor or damage the bottle.
Also, adding too many lemons to your CamelBak increases the risk of bacterial growth, especially if you're anything like me and you don't clean your bottle quickly after every use.
Cleaning And Maintaining Your CamelBak Bottle After Putting Lemons
After removing the leftover lemons and any remaining lemon water from your bottle, it's necessary to clean it thoroughly to prevent any lingering stains, odors or bacterial growth.
Lemon juice's acidic nature can leave a residual stain and/or odor on your bottle if not cleaned properly and can even lead to the bottle breaking down and potential leaching microplastics into your water.
A cleaning solution such as vinegar or baking soda is effective in removing any stains or smell left behind by the lemon.
Vinegar is one of my favorite cleaning solutions for Camelbak bottles as it's a natural mold killer and it's also extremely affordable.
To clean your CamelBak using vinegar, mix equal parts of vinegar and water in your bottle. Use a bottle brush to thoroughly scrub all the inside parts of the bottle.
Allow the solution to sit for 30-60 minutes before rinsing it with water. This should be long enough to kill any mold growth and will leave your bottle fresh and clean.
Just make sure you give it a good rinse and leave it to air dry before refilling so your water doesn't taste like vinegar. Yuk!
Baking soda can also be handy to clean your Camelbak bottle. The gentle abrasive removes odors and stains without damaging the bottle's materials.
Mix two tablespoons of baking soda with warm water to create a cleaning solution and put it into your bottle. Allow it to sit for at least an hour before rinsing it thoroughly with water.
Note: Freezing your bottle between uses can prevent bacteria growth.