When I’m hiking, or even working in the office, I like to know the water I’m drinking is clean. The LARQ bottle sterilizes your water for you by shining UV-C LED lights down into your water.
If you’ve got a LARQ bottle, you need to learn exactly how to use it so you can be 100% sure it’s cleaning your water effectively. Otherwise that river water could make you sick.
Looking at the bottle itself it’s not exactly clear how it works or what you need to do. But once you understand how to use it, it’s fairly simple.
So how do you use the LARQ bottle?
LARQ simplifies the process into a few easy steps:
- Unlock your bottle for the first time by holding the cap button for 5 seconds, and give it a good charge by plugging a micro-USB into the lid.
- Once charged, unplug the lid, fill your bottle with water and screw the lid on tight.
- Activate a cleaning mode by pressing the button on the lid once for Normal Mode (1-minute cycle) or twice for Adventure Mode (3-minute cycle).
- Once the cleaning cycle has finished (indicated by the blue LED turning off) you’re good to go and can enjoy your freshly cleaned bottle and water.
There are also several things you’ll want to know about the modes and LED indicators in order to get the most out of the LARQ
This guide should answer your questions.
1. Unlock your LARQ
The first time you use your LARQ you’ll need to hold down the button on the cap for 5 seconds to unlock it (you should see a white light flash).
If you don't do this then your LARQ will be in a locked mode and it won't work. Alternatively you can simply plug in your LARQ lid to charge (which you should do anyway) and this will unlocked it.
If you don’t see the light flash then the battery might have run out of power.
Simply plug a micro-USB (kudos to LARQ for including one) into the side of the lid and it will both charge and automatically unlock the bottle.
2. Give Your LARQ Bottle a Wash
If this is your very first time using your bottle, you will want to give your bottle a quick rinse with soap.
The term “self cleaning bottle” is a loose term. Yes the UV-C light from the lid kills bacteria, protozoa and viruses but it doesn't clean your bottle in the traditional sense.
You should always wash a brand new bottle to remove any chemical residues left over from the manufacturing process.
The cap is waterproof, naturally, but it is NOT dishwasher safe.
3. Charge your LARQ Lid
Charging your bottle is very easy, but it's something you should do before using your LARQ for the first time – even though they try to ship their bottles charged anyway.
The self cleaning feature of the LARQ will not work unless the lid is charged. It's one of the dangers of UV water purification. No battery…no clean water.
You’ll want to give your bottle a good charge upon first use, and your bottle will alert you if the battery gets low with a solid yellow light before and after cleaning cycles.
To charge your LARQ, plug it in wherever you charge your USB devices and you’ll notice a breathing green light appear on the cap. This means that the bottle is currently charging. You’ll know that your bottle is fully charged whenever you see the light turn solid green.
Although a full charge can take up to 4-5 hours, LARQ claims the battery can last up to 1 month depending on your use.
4. Fill up your LARQ with water
Now that your bottle is charged, you’re ready to fill it with water.
Fill the bottle up to the indicator line with clear water and make sure to screw the lid on tightly.
NOTE: The LARQ lid protrudes down into the bottle a bit and so filling your LARQ bottle to the brim will cause it to overflow when you put the lid on. Also the UV-C light only purifies water below the indicator line.
It's also important to know that your water MUST BE CLEAR in order for the LARQ to be effective.
One of the big disadvantages to self-cleaning bottles like the LARQ is that they only work with clear water. While I feel comfortable using clear water from a river, I always make sure to avoid murky pond or puddle water.
LARQ also only recommends water be put in their bottle, as they state on their FAQ:
“The LARQ Bottle PureVis is designed as a self-cleaning bottle for water. We do not recommend using it for other beverages. If you do end up putting sugary drinks, tea, or coffee in your bottle, hand wash it after each use with warm soapy water.”
5. Activate a Cleaning Mode and Purify Your Water
Now that you’ve got your water, it’s time to put the LARQ to work.
If you’re using water from a trusted source like the fridge or a fountain, press the button on the lid once to activate Normal Mode.
As LARQ explains on the FAQ:
“Normal Mode is a 1-minute cleaning cycle and delivers 12 mJ/cm^2 of UVC to the water and the inner surface of the bottle.”
For water that you’re a little unsure of, double-tap the button for Adventure Mode.
“In Adventure Mode, the LARQ Bottle PureVis delivers a higher dose of UVC: >30 mJ/cm^2. Activate this 3-minute cycle by double-tapping the button on the cap.”
I particularly find this mode handy when I’m out camping and fill my bottle with river or lake water, as the extra dose of UV helps take care of any suspicious microbes in the water.
The LED indicator on the cap will shine a shade of blue for each of these modes, and once the light turns off, you’re all set to enjoy some fresh water.
NOTE: Every 2 hours your LARQ bottle will activate self cleaning mode and shine UV-C light into your bottle for 10 seconds. This uses some power but not a lot.
You can deactivate this by switching it into Travel Mode but then you'll need to turn Travel Mode off in order to use Normal Mode or Adventure mode so it's easier to just leave the self cleaning on.
How Do I Turn Off My LARQ?
If you’re storing, traveling, or need to pack your LARQ and don’t want it activating accidentally, hold down the button on the lid for 5-10 seconds to activate Travel Mode.
You’ll know you did this successfully if a white light flashes.
This will prevent the UV light from turning on accidentally, and to use the bottle again you’ll need to hold the button down once more for 5-10 seconds to re-activate your LARQ bottle.
Do I Need to Wash my LARQ?
LARQ claims that their bottle is 10,000 times more hygienic than a normal reusable bottle.
They say you almost never have to clean it if it’s only used for water, but like I said earlier you should definitely hand wash it with warm water and soap if you have anything other than water in the bottle.
Really you should do this regularly anyway as biofilm can build up and the lid doesn't sterilize or clean the mouth of the bottle so this needs regular cleaning anyway.
LARQ is designed to enter Self-Cleaning Mode every 2 hours, a 10-second cycle where the bottle cleans itself.