The LARQ self cleaning bottle apparently works to keep your bottle clean all day so that you never (or hardly) have to wash it.
According to the founder of LARQ the average reusable water bottle contains more bacteria than your dog bowl or toilet seat. Ewwww
But how exactly does the LARQ work to kill bacteria and is it actually a self cleaning water bottle?
How The LARQ Bottle Works
The LARQ bottle works by shining UV-C light down into the bottle killing bacteria, protozoa and viruses that may live in the water or on the walls of your water bottle.
The UV-C light is located in the lid of the LARQ bottle and runs off a rechargeable battery. The lid can last up to 1 month on just a single charge.
The LARQ bottle has 3 different modes.
Self cleaning mode – Every 2 hours the UV-C light will activate for 15 seconds to help keep most bacteria, protozoa and viruses at bay and stop them growing in number.
Normal mode – Press the lid once to activate normal mode where the UV-C light will run for 1 minute and is great for water sources you have relative confidence in.
Adventure mode – Press the lid twice to active adventure mode where the UV-C light will run continuously for 3 minutes. Great for unknown water sources such as river, lakes and untrusted sources of drinking water.
The LARQ Bottle IS Effective At Killing Bacteria, Protozoa and Viruses in Your Water Bottle
UV light water bottles that produce UV-C light are extremely effective at killing bacteria, protozoa and viruses. They have been tested by 3rd parties to show they deactivate up to 99.9775% of e-coli after 1 minute and 99.9999% after 3 minutes.
LARQ isn't the only water bottle using this technology and another product known as CrazyCap by the company Waatr (which is one of the best LARQ bottle alternatives) have created the graph below showing how effective a 1 minute cycle is at killing e.coli bacteria.
A similar study was done on the HydroCap (another product by the company Waatr) to test it's effectiveness against e.coli and below you can see the final report for this test:
Similar studies have been done on the LARQ water bottle which uses the same UV-C light in order to kill bacteria, protozoa and viruses in water.
You can see LARQ's studies linked below:
- LARQ Efficacy Salmonella Harrens Lab
- LARQ Efficacy E.Coli Harrens Lab
- LARQ Efficacy E.Coli RayVio + Harrens Lab
You can see in these studies that the 3 minute cycle was the most effective at killing the different strains of bacteria but even a 10 or 20 second cycle still killed over 99% of e.coli bacteria.
This shows that yes, the main cycles of the LARQ bottle do work to kill bacteria and make your bottle safer to drink from and that the 15 second self-cleaning mode that runs every 2 hours can effectively kill off most bacteria that has been able to grow in that time.
UV-C Light Is a Common Way To Treat and Clean Water
While the LARQ bottle may seem innovative and new the technology has actually been used for decades to treat water and make it clean for consumption.
UV-C light is proven to kill 99.9+% of bacteria, protozoa and viruses and is used in many municipality water treatment plants before the water gets to your home.
The video below shows a great explanation by famous YouTuber Hank Green on why micro organisms die when exposed to UV light.
In this instance the UV-C light causes phototoxicity (death by light).
We are all familiar of staying out in the sun too long and experiencing a sunburn which damages our skin. This is an example of the harmful nature of UV light to organisms like ourselves.
However, the sun's rays that burn us are primarily made from UV-A and UV-B light, both a longer wavelength than UV-C light. UV-C light doesn't pass through the ozone layer of this atmosphere.
The LARQ bottle creates UV-C light which, when shone directly at a micro-organism, kills it.
When the UV-C light hits the organism it causes chemical structures in the organism to get excited. If there is oxygen present it will react with the excited molecule.
This can cause the cell to swell up and burst open which then kill the micro-organism.
This is what happens on a microscopic scale every time your LARQ bottle enters it's self cleaning mode or every time you activate the normal mode or the adventure mode.
The LARQ Bottle Isn't Technically “Self Cleaning” In The Way You Might Think
I don't know about you but when I think of “self-cleaning” I tend to think of some sort of robot that can scrub and clean my water bottle much like how I would in the sink at home.
The LARQ bottle doesn't self-clean in this way and personally I feel that self-cleaning is a slightly misleading term for this bottle.
The LARQ lid kills the bacteria in your bottle, which is one way to clean it, but it doesn't remove those contaminants from the bottle itself and over time these dead organisms can build up in your bottle. Then your LARQ bottle can then begin to smell and build up a layer of biofilm that needs to be scrubbed away.
Also, the LARQ lid only sterilizes parts of the bottle that the light reaches. This means that it doesn't sterilize the rim of the bottle where you drink from.
Bacteria from your mouth can then get onto this part of the bottle and need to be manually cleaned.
You can handwash your LARQ bottle and focus on the rim but the LARQ bottle is also dishwasher safe so you can throw the bottle in the dishwasher to give it a good clean.
The lid itself should be hand washed only and is not dishwasher safe due to the electrical components in the lid.
It's also important to note that when the LARQ bottle is in travel mode the UV-C light will not activate at all and you need to manually clean your LARQ bottle.
The LARQ Bottle Doesn't Filter Contaminants or Particulates
One thing that people seem to get confused about is they think that the LARQ bottle will also filter out contaminates and particulates like a regular water filter does.
But this isn't the case.
The LARQ bottle only uses UV-C light to keep microorganisms in your bottle/water and it does not remove any of those microorganisms from your bottle/water. It also doesn't filter out microplastics or chemicals from your water.
Best in class filtration improves taste and uses a combination of activate charcoal and Nano Zero technology to remove lead, heavy metals, chlorine, PFAS/PFOS and many microplastics from your water.
Long lasting filters and an easy-to-drink low-pressure straw plus a double walled vacuum insulated stainless steel bottle means you'll be drinking cleaner, colder water all day long.
The LARQ Bottle Doesn't Work With Murky Water
UV-C light cannot travel through opaque materials.
Because the LARQ bottle relies on UV-C light to treat the water the water needs to be clear in order for the light to reach all parts of the bottle and if the water you are drinking is murky then the LARQ will not be able to sterilize the entire bottle.
You should therefore only use the LARQ with clear water. Small particulates in the water can be fine as long as the UV-C can reach all areas of the bottle.