Aug 9, 2007

On Refilling Water Bottles

Left: My dirty fluvial secret

I consume a fair amount of bottled water, preferring a serving of cold H2O over drinking one of those sugar-filled carbonated beverages. Over the years, though, I have developed a habit of refilling my empty water bottles and sticking them in the refrigerator to save a few dollars here and there.

I have heard a variety of reasons for not refilling water bottles, running from the argument that refilled water bottles are breeding grounds for bacteria to the supposition that toxic chemicals in PET bottles will leach into the replacement water.

There are also those who advocate the use of an inexpensive reusable container with a water bottle filter built in.

My method of refilling water bottles is fairly simple: I rinse out the bottle and cap between uses, fill with tap water, and stick them in the refrigerator. I figure that any microbes that cling to the container probably came from me or my immediate environment, so I might actually be entering into a sort of homeostatic equilibrium or environmental stasis with my microbiotic pals.

At any rate, I only reuse a given bottle a few times, and I clearly mark the refilled bottles as pictured, so there should be fair warning to all those in the vicinity of the funk that lurks within my bottles.


Anonymous said...

I used to refill a bottle for ages before deciding I might be killing myself. I'm talking months here. Never had any ill-effects.

Maggie Thurber said...

we do the same thing...except we do run them through the dishwasher on ocassion because we don't like the 'musty' smell that they shelf works well...

Hooda Thunkit said...


You do realize that the first filling contains the most harmful leachate, so every subsequent refill is that much safer, as long as the bottle doesn't get "funky."

I use Brita filtered water to refill mine ;-)

HumboldtsClio said...

I read an article recently that said Congress passed a law requiring that Aquafina (and other bottling companies) start posting on the labels that they're filled with tap water, since buying bottled water has scared America away from faucets. I too like to simply refill my bottles. It makes sense economically and environmentally!

Tina K said...

I used to do the same thing. The bottle was only for travel and because at home my cats will poke their paws into a glass.

When I moved here to south east MO, I found the water to taste too bad. Even with a filter, I can taste the minerals that make this the Mineral Area. SO as much as I hate it, as long I live here, I'll be buying all my water. Of course, I buy the Walmart brand at $2.50 a 24 pack. A dollar a bottle is just silly.

historymike said...


I admit that, too often, I see one of those icy-cold bottles of water at a checkout cooler and I cave.

Good call on the bulk water. We get them at Kroger for an equally inexpensive price.

Crreditlucky said...

I use water from melted ice and keep filtered water in the bottles of glass. I hope it works well enough to drink fresh water.