Cleaning your Water Cooler

Would you drink water from a dark, wet reservoir, with stagnant water growing algae and breeding bacteria? Now you know why Health Canada strongly suggests that you sanitize and disinfect your office water cooler every time you change a bottle.

Most of us don’t know that bacteria and germs also collect inside the cooler. It’s easy to imagine how bacteria can accumulate on the outer parts of the cooler (taps, trays, exposed spouts) that are greeted daily by contact with unwashed hands, cups and bottles. But think about what happens every time a thirsty passerby presses that lever and pours a glass of water: a vacuum occurs in the water cooler sucking air from the outside to replace the water that was just removed; this air draws in dust, germs odors and whatever else is around the cooler at the time. Now what if the person that pushed that lever had just sneezed into their hands, or was sick, or had simply not washed their hands recently?! Are you starting to understand why Health Canada encourages regular sanitization?!


Health Canada offers comprehensive steps to cleaning water coolers, take a look bellow and take notes because it’s quite the procedure – you can always stay late Friday afternoon to get it done! Trusource coolers are equipped with ATS technology (Auto Tank Sanitation), which is always running, thus releasing you from this fun packed and exciting task of cleaning the water cooler. In addition, our Pure-Touch dispense keeps dirty hands away from the water source, proving once again not all water coolers are created equal. 🙂

Cleaning your water cooler:


Note: Clean your bottled water cooler before every bottle change.

Unplug cord from electrical outlet of cooler.

Remove empty bottle (carboy).

Drain water from stainless steel reservoir(s) through faucet(s).

Prepare a disinfecting solution by adding one tablespoon (15 mL) household bleach to one Imperial gallon (4.5 L) of water solution or

Some companies suggest using one part vinegar to three parts water solution to clean the reservoir of scale before cleaning with bleach. Check your manual.

Note: Other disinfecting solutions may be suitable. Please check with your water cooler supplier/manual.

Pour the bleach/other disinfection solution into the resevoir.

Wash reservoir thoroughly with bleach solution and let stand for not less than two minutes (to be effective) and not more than five minutes (to prevent corrosion).

Drain bleach/disinfection solution from reservoir through faucet(s).

Rinse reservoir thoroughly with clean tap water, draining water through faucets, to remove traces of the bleach/disinfection solution.

Drip Tray (located under faucets):

Lift off drip tray.

Remove the screen and wash both tray and screen in mild detergent.

Rinse well in clean tap water and replace on cooler.

Replacing Bottle:

Wash hands with soap and warm water before handling. If you choose to use clean protective gloves (ex. latex), discard or disinfect after each use and prior to reuse.

Note: Protective gloves should never replace proper hand washing and hygiene.

Wipe the top and neck of the new bottle with a paper towel dipped in household bleach solution (1 tablespoon (15 ml) of bleach, 1 gallon (4.5 L) of water). Rubbing alcohol may also be used, but must be completely evaporated before placing the bottle in the cooler

Remove cap from new bottle without touching the surface of the opening to avoid any contamination. Place new bottle on cooler.

Adapted from instructions provided by Ken Orom, Calgary Board of Education, and, Calgary Health Services.

Source: Health Canada