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A lot of people forget about the fact that their water cooler can and will get dirty.  These dispensers do need to be cleaned and on occasion sanitized. This is important because microbes love the moisture that is present in a water cooler.  

The problem is that most people do not know how to clean a water cooler both inside and out or how to sanitize it.  While knowing the basics is important, you also need to consult the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. Not all coolers will have the same parts and you do not want to damage yours.

How To Clean A Water Cooler

When it comes to cleaning your water cooler, it is best to wait until the water jug is empty.  This will make your life and the cleaning process a lot easier as you will not have to worry about lifting heavy bottles.  You also do not have to worry about any of the water escaping and getting everywhere.


In order to clean the cooler, you will need certain items.  This includes a pitcher or gallon jug, a cup of distilled white vinegar, three cups of hot water and a bucket.  You should also have some mild dishwashing liquid and a microfiber cloth.


To start cleaning, you need to unplug the cooler and remove the bottle.  You should then use the cold tap to drain the contents of the cooler into the jug as this water can be drunk.  Once the cooler is empty, you can remove the water guard from inside the cooler if required. It is important to note that not all coolers will have this.


You can now remove the baffle which is a metal or plastic disc.  The baffle and water guard will need to be washed in a mixture of the dishwashing liquid and warm water.  This should be done in the same manner as washing dishes by hand. The water guard and baffle will then need to be rinsed to ensure that all the soap has been removed and placed on a clean and dry cloth.


You will then have to mix the vinegar with three cups of hot water and pour the mixture into the cooler reservoir.  If you have sensitive skin, you may want to wear some gloves at this point.


The inside of the reservoir will need to be wiped clean with a microfiber cloth and the solution.  Once clean, the solution will have to be drained into a bucket. After draining the cooler, you will need to rinse it at least twice by filling it with clean water and emptying it into the bucket.  You can then return the water guard and baffle before installing a new bottle and plugging the cooler in.

Cleaning The Outside Of The Water Cooler

While cleaning the inside of the cooler is important, the outside needs some attention too.  After all, this is the area that is touched by everyone who uses the cooler. Fortunately, cleaning the outside is a fairly simple task.  

You will need to have some mild dishwashing liquid, microfiber cloths and some distilled vinegar in a spray bottle.  Before you start cleaning, you will need to unplug the cooler and then remove the taps and tray. The taps and tray will have to be washed by hand using a mixture of warm water and dishwashing liquid.  They can be wiped dry using a microfiber cloth.

The outside of cooler will then have to be sprayed with some vinegar.  This will include the area where the tray usually sits. Using a microfiber cloth, you will need to wipe away the vinegar and any dirt that comes with it.  You can then return the taps and tray before plugging the cooler back in.

Sanitizing Your Water Cooler

Most water cooler manufacturers will recommend sanitizing your machine every three to six months.  However, you will need to check your care instructions to ensure that you should not be doing this more often or less frequently.  It is also important to note that sanitizing your water cooler can be difficult and could result in your water having a funny taste or being harmful if the sanitizer is left too long.  


There are a lot of people who sanitize their coolers with bleach.  If you are cleaning the cooler with vinegar, this is not a good idea.  These two cleaners should never be mixed because they will react and cause chlorine gas which is toxic.

This is one of the reasons why you need to follow the instructions in your manual.  You could also ask your water service provider if they offer a sanitizing service to ensure that everything goes correctly.

Here at ThinkMaids, we can have the cleaning professionals able to help. Call us today to find out more.