Larq water bottles are an innovative tool for hikers and health enthusiasts who want clean, healthy water. This Shark Tank product promotes self-cleaning technology and a bacteria and odor-killing UV light. Despite the claims, many customers report dealing with a bad Larq bottle smell.
This doesn't necessarily mean your bottle is faulty or broken. But why exactly does your Larq bottle smell?
Larq bottles smell because UV lights don't kill everything and they don't remove dirt and grime like regular cleaning does. Chemicals, pollutants and flavors transferred while drinking may be present in your bottle— especially under the lip area where the light doesn't reach. You should manually wash the bottle once per week.
While Larq bottles have many benefits, “self-cleaning” is a subjective term. Here are some of the reasons that your Larq bottle may smell and how to eliminate these odors so your bottle feels brand new again.
1. You Need To Wash It
While the Larq bottle is marketed as a “self cleaning” bottle this is a very subjective term.
Larq bottles use a UV-C light that shines into your bottle and kills 99.9% of bacteria in your water and in the bottle itself. This bacteria is the common cause of bottles smelling and this feature allows Larq bottles to be a lot cleaner than other bottles.
However, this doesn't mean you never have to wash the bottle.
Grime can build up in your bottle and mold can still form around the lip and the lid where the light doesn't reach properly.
If you use anything other than water in your Larq bottle then this too can leave a residue that needs to be cleaned out.
So don't just rely on the UV light, you should clean your bottle around once per week to ensure it doesn't smell.
2. Abundance of Biofilm
UV lights get rid of bacteria, but not bacterial byproducts. Biofilm is a protective coat of sugars and proteins made by bacteria in response to stress. It limits the UV penetration from reaching the bacteria. UV lights cannot destroy biofilm.
Biofilm prefers a surface to stick to, like the inside of a water bottle. This issue is less concerning in moving water; your UV-treated tap water is constantly flushing through pipes.
The presence of biofilm is often the primary cause of odors in your bottle and makes the term “self-cleaning” subjective. Wash your bottle with hot water and soap or a boiling water soak to eliminate the biofilm.
3. Absorbed Flavors From Drinks
If you use your Larq bottle for anything other than water then those flavors can get stuck inside your bottle and the smell and flavor can then get imparted into your next bottle of water.
Even regular water can contain dissolved salts and minerals that can create a white residue and cause your bottle to smell or taste a little funny.
4. Burned Out Light
If your UV light gets damaged or burns out, your bottle won't effectively get rid of odors. You can usually tell something is wrong by looking at the ring light on the cap. If the light is red or purple, the light is no longer working.
If this occurs, contact the company and fill out a warranty claim. If your claim is denied, you can purchase a replacement cap and light on the Larq website.
5. Build-Up on Bottle Lip
The cap design creates a bacteria haven along the lip of the water bottle. If you sip while you eat or wear lip balm, there could be a build-up of particulate matter or chemicals on the bottle lip. This build-up leads to the development of odor-causing bacteria and the UV light is not designed to combat this.
Wipe down the lip of your water bottle with a hot washcloth each day to help prevent this issue.
6. Faulty Seal
Some Larq users report a faulty seal after continuous use. This defect can impact the bottle's functionality and expose the water inside to more contaminants.
If you notice your Larq bottle leaking, pour some water out and test the seal again. The water displacement by the cover can interfere with the seal, creating a temporary leak.
If the bottle leaks when it's not filled to the top, contact the company to report the problem.
7. Exposure to Heat
Larq bottles aren't designed for hot temperatures. Introducing hot liquids to your bottle could cause the light to malfunction. Leaving the bottle in the sun on hot days can cause the same effect.
Do not put hot liquids in your Larq bottle and consider tucking it under your seat or in a bag in the car.
How to Remove Odors in Your Larq Bottle
Proper washing with hot water and dish soap or a dishwasher cycle should keep your Larq bottle smelling fresh. If you notice a persistent odor, try these strategies to eliminate it.
Do a Vinegar Rinse
Vinegar is one of the most effective, eco-friendly cleaning products. Fill your bottle a quarter of the way with white or cleaning vinegar. Close it and shake it around for 30-60 seconds to hit every surface. Dump out the vinegar and rinse it with hot water.
Vinegar is a natural disinfectant that kills some bacteria and viruses. It also eliminates mold, limescale, and mineral deposits from hard water.
Mix Baking Soda and Hot Water
Baking soda is another natural deodorizer. Baking soda is a basic substance on the pH scale. It effectively deodorizes acidic smells by neutralizing them.
Fill the bottle with warm water and add a tablespoon of baking soda. Close the bottle and shake for 30-60 seconds. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes before pouring it out. Rinse again with hot water to remove any remnants.
You can also combine this method with vinegar for an astringent cleaner. Don't shake the bottle if you try this approach!
Use a Bottle Brush
Sometimes bacteria and build-up hide in hard-to-reach places, like the bottom edges of the inside of your Larq bottle.
You can give your bottle a good scrub with a bottle brush. These affordable tools are also effective for cleaning cups and jars.
Use a Cleaning Tablet
Water bottle cleaning tablets are like bath bombs when dropped into warm water. The ingredients and effervescent effect are useful for cleaning the inside of a water bottle that's overdue for a good scrub.
You can get water bottle cleaning tablets at Amazon or at your local department store. I've done a full review of the Yeti cleaning tablets, but if I'm honest I'd personally recommend cheaper ones from Amazon.
Do Larq Bottles Work?
Larq bottles (and other UV light water bottles) can effectively eliminate bacteria. UV water bottles are safe to use. However, they aren't a perfect solution for ensuring your water is completely clean and healthy without work on your part.
UV lights don't eliminate chemicals, pollutants, or microplastics and become less effective when the water is left stagnant. Simple mishandling issues like failing to seal the bottle or overfilling can minimize the Larq bottle's effectiveness.
Clean Your Self-Cleaning Water Bottle
While it may seem contradictory, you should frequently clean your self-cleaning Larq bottle. This is a great product with a poor marketing strategy that sets unrealistic customer expectations. Wash your Larq bottle with warm water and soap weekly.