How To Properly Clean a CamelBak Tube

Washing your CamelBak’s tube is one of the most important parts of keeping your CamelBak sanitary and working smoothly. If you don’t wash it often enough or don’t do a good enough job, it can grow mold, start to stink, or develop a bad taste.

Making matters worse, the tube is the hardest part of a CamelBak to wash, so they’re often not cleaned nearly as thoroughly as they should be.  

But how exactly should you clean a CamelBak’s tube?

To properly clean your CamelBak’s tube, detach it from your reservoir and remove the mouthpiece, rinse under hot running water, soak in CamelBak cleaning tablets or vinegar for 20 minutes, scrub with dish soap and a tube cleaning brush, then hang to air dry.

Drying the tube and storing it so it doesn't grow mold is just as important as washing the tube correctly.

To wash your CamelBak’s mouthpiece, detach it from the tube, open the waterlock, rinse while squeezing the bite valve to allow water to flow through, soak in cleaning tablets (alongside the tube), massage soap into the bite valve, then air dry on a drying rack.

Don’t reconnect the tube to your reservoir or the mouthpiece to your tube until everything is completely dry. 

Having the right tools to thoroughly clean your CamelBak’s tube makes it much less of a hassle. 

I went from constantly procrastinating to being (mostly) regular with my cleanings after picking up a CamelBak cleaning kit. Now, cleaning my CamelBak’s tube is quick and completely painless. 

CamelBak Crux Cleaning Kit
$21.95

Features a large brush for the reservoir and a extra long straw brush to clean the drinking tube plus CamelBak cleaning tabs which will help clean away any scum. After cleaning use the reservoir drying kit to easily hang your bladder and get it completely dry.

A must have for CamelBak bladder owners.

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06/07/2023 03:23 pm GMT

Things You’ll Need

Step 1: Separate The Tube From The Reservoir

Separate the hose from your reservoir by holding the release button and sliding it out. Click here for a full guide on detaching the tube.

Do a quick check for mold in the tube, mouthpiece, and reservoir. If you find any, you’ll need to treat the entire system for mold before washing it. 

If you don’t find any mold, rinse the tube and mouthpiece under hot running water, making sure water flows through by squeezing and holding the bite valve open. 

I don't give my CamelBak and the tube a full deep cleaning everytime I use it. Sometimes I'll just rinse it. But after every couple of uses it's a good idea to give it a proper clean – and it's not too difficult to do.

Remove the mouthpiece by firmly pulling and set it aside.

Step 2: Soak With Cleaning Tablets or Vinegar

CamelBak cleaning tablets are specially designed to sanitize and clean hydration systems.

I strongly recommend picking some up, though other cleaners will do a good enough job as well. Vinegar is a great (and cheap) natural solution that cleans and kills mold or there are a variety of other good cleaning tablets for CamelBak bladders that are worth a try.

CamelBak Cleaning Tablets (8 Pack)
$13.99

These self dissolving tablets are designed specifically for CamelBak bladders and bottles. They reduce residual taste and odor and leave no odor, film or residue.

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06/07/2023 03:48 pm GMT
  1. Fold the tube into a loose overhand knot and place into a large bowl.
  2. Fill with hot water until the tube is just fully submerged. If you add too much water, you may need to use a second tablet.  
  3. Tilt the hose to release any trapped air and let the tube fill with water. If it wants to float to the top, place a heavy bowl or dish on top of it to keep it fully underwater throughout the soak. 
  4. Add a CamelBak cleaning tablet. 
  5. Place the mouthpiece into the bowl alongside the tube with the waterlock open.
  6. With the mouthpiece fully submerged, squeeze the bite valve a few times so the cleaning solution can reach all interior surfaces.
  7. Let soak for at least 15 minutes.  

If you don’t have CamelBak cleaning tablets or would prefer to use another cleaner, any of the following are fine substitutes. 

  • Water bottle cleaning tablets: the next best cleaner behind CamelBak tablets. Use one tablet. 
  • Denture tablets: nearly identical to water bottle cleaning tablets, but cheaper and smaller. Use two tablets. 
  • Distilled white vinegar: a great natural cleaner that you probably already have at home. Use a 50/50 mix of hot water to vinegar — or even more vinegar if your tube is particularly nasty. 
  • Baking soda: another cheap but effective cleaner you probably already have laying around the house. Use ¼ cup per cup of hot water.
  • Bleach: use 3 or 4 drops and rinse extremely thoroughly before moving on. 

Step 3: Deodorize With Lemon Juice If Needed (optional)

If your CamelBak’s tube has developed an odor or funny taste, a soak in fresh-squeezed lemon juice is likely to help.

If your CamelBak smells and tastes fine, you can go ahead and move on to step 4.

  1. Rinse the tube and mouthpiece and place into the same large bowl. 
  2. Fill with enough hot water to just cover the tube, again placing a bowl on top to prevent it from floating (if needed) and tipping to release any trapped air.
  3. Add about ¼ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice and give a gentle stir. 
  4. With the mouthpiece submerged, squeeze the bite valve to allow lemon juice to enter.
  5. Soak for at least 20 minutes.  

Step 4: Wash With Dish Soap And A Tube Brush

The next step is to thoroughly scrub the interior of the tube. A tube cleaning brush works best, but if you don’t have one you can always use this trick instead

  1. Using hot water and dish soap, thoroughly scrub the interior of your tube with a tube cleaning brush and the exterior with a sponge or dishcloth. 
  2. Scrub the mouthpiece, using a tube brush or straw brush to clean the rear port as far in as possible.
  3. Don’t stick a brush into the bite valve, they’re easily damaged and may start to leak. Instead, gently massage it between soapy fingers. 

CamelBak's cleaning kit comes complete with a larger brush for cleaning the reservoir itself and a long straw brush which is designed to clean the inside of the drinking tube.

CamelBak Crux Cleaning Kit
$21.95

Features a large brush for the reservoir and a extra long straw brush to clean the drinking tube plus CamelBak cleaning tabs which will help clean away any scum. After cleaning use the reservoir drying kit to easily hang your bladder and get it completely dry.

A must have for CamelBak bladder owners.

Buy Now at Amazon
06/07/2023 03:23 pm GMT

Step 5: Rinse And Air Dry

After you've finishing soaking and scrubbing everything you'll want to give it a good rinse so there isn't any soap or cleaning products left and it doesn't taste weird. Rinse the tube and mouthpiece under hot running water, making sure all soap is removed.

Allow water to run through the bite valve by squeezing and holding it open, otherwise soap will get trapped inside (and soap doesn’t taste nearly as good as it smells).

Hang the tube (with the mouthpiece still separate) in a room with low humidity to air dry. Ideally leave the mouthpiece off the tube when drying to allow for maximum airflow and hang the tube vertically so water can drip out. Gravity is your friend here.

Drying the tube is extremely important to keeping it clean and stopping it from growing any mold. Click here to learn how to dry your CamelBak tube easily.

Don’t store the tube, attach it to your reservoir, or reconnect the mouthpiece until they’re all completely dry. If you reconnect everything too soon, mold is much more likely to grow. 

If you’re desperate to dry the tube quickly, you can try to: 

  • blow through the tube before hanging it to remove as much excess water as possible. 
  • tie a small piece of dry sponge to a fishing line and pull it through the tube (careful that it doesn’t get stuck halfway). 
  • store the still wet tube in the freezer to slow the growth of mold and bacteria. 
  • Invest in a hydration pack dryer that is an attachment for your hairdryer and allows you to dry the reservoir and tube in just 10 minutes.
Hydration Bladder Dryer (fits Camelbak Bladder)
$12.00

Save all the hassle and difficulty of trying to dry your hydration bladder and hose and avoid mold altogether with this drying kit.

Quickly dry your bladder and drinking tube in just 10 minutes. Attach to your hairdryer and use the cool air setting to use. Simple and easy.

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06/08/2023 04:33 am GMT