Water Cooler Cleaning Tips


Water coolers provide a great source of clean, pure drinking water which is essential to a healthy life. Periodic cleaning of the water cooler in a home or office is necessary to ensure the health and safety of all who use the cooler.

The Brookhaven National Laboratory, a major research center, has put together for their staff recommendations for the proper cleaning procedures for water coolers.

The following is adapted from that document.


  • Clean the water cooler approximately every 6 months at a bottle or filter change.

  • Prepare a disinfecting solution by adding by adding 1 oz of white vinegar to 8 oz of water.

  • Make sure the water cooler is unplugged from the electrical outlet.

  • If you have a hot/cold water do not put any sanitizing solution into the hot tank. The heat in the hot tank acts as a ongoing disinfectant.

  • Remove the empty bottle from the dispenser.

  • Use a soft sponge to scrub the interior surface of the water cooler reservoir with the cleaning solution and let stand for at least two minutes, but no more than five minutes.

  • Drain the cleaning solution through the cold water faucet (on a hot/cold cooler) or through both faucets on a roomtemp/cold cooler into a bucket or other receptacle.

  • Rinse the reservoir four times with clean tap or bottled water.

  • Remove the drip tray and wash with a mild detergent. Rinse thoroughly.

  • Wash hands before handling a fresh bottle of water.

  • Clean the top of each new bottle before inserting on top of cooler.

    By following these cleaning directions, the water cooler will remain free of bacteria and provide years of healthful service.

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