How to Clean a Water Dispenser

Industry Observer

How to Clean a Water Dispenser

How often do you clean your water dispenser? Did you know that a water cooler should be thoroughly cleaned during every bottle change or after every six weeks? Many underestimate benefits of frequently cleaning a water dispenser. If people stuck to this basic principle, our world would be a lot safer. Our offices and homes would have fewer disease-causing germs.

Cleaning a commercial or residential water dispenser is not rocket science. With the right mindset, supplies, and equipment, the job can be done to perfection within a couple of minutes. Here is a quick guide on how to effectively clean a water dispenser.

Equipment and supplies

Plastic gloves

An apron

Bleach solution

A bucket

A sponge

A garden hose




Prepare the bleach solution. Mix 15 mL of 5% bleach and 5L of water (There are other cleaning products to use apart from Beach Solution. We will get to them later on).

Unplug the dispenser and the empty bottle.

Remove both the baffle and lid from the cooler’s reservoir. Most water coolers have white/blue discs or funnels as baffles.

Put on the gloves if you hadn’t to avoid contact with the bleach. Grab the sponge and the bleach and scrub the cooler’s interior thoroughly. Be generous with the Bleach Solution but give it a period of between 2 and 5 minutes to ensure optimal results. Less is ineffective while more is corrosive.

Once you are certain the cooler is clean, drain the bleach through the spigots into a safe area (mostly the bucket, toilet, hazard drain or sink).

Rinse off excess solution from the reservoir and spigots using clean tap water. 3-four repetitions will do the trick. Drain the water the same way you did in step 5 above.

Replace the baffle, no spill-guard onto the water cooler.

Work on the outer surface of the dispenser to get rid of accumulated dust and other contaminants.

Drip tray cleaning

Remove the drip tray from the cooler by gently lifting it off.

Using the bleach solution or any other mild detergent, wash the tray and screen.

Rinse the tray in clean water and place it on the dispenser.

Bottle replacement

Sanitize your hands with warm water and soap. Plastic gloves are also acceptable.

Wipe the dust and dirt off the new bottle especially the neck and the top parts. Use a towel dipped in the Bleach Solution to do this.

Pull out the cap from the new bottle.

Place the bottle on the dispenser.

Safe Cleaning Products

These are some of the solutions that can be used in place of the Bleach Solution.

Colloidal silver: This is a powerful disinfectant which has been in use for centuries. It is also very safe for human consumption hence there’s no need to rinse anything off after cleaning.

Vinegar/baking soda mix. Yet another natural disinfectant used for a wide range of cleaning purposes. Unlike colloidal silver above, this blend is a bit toxic so you want to rinse it off the dispenser completely.

Fruit and vegetable rinse: These types of solutions have attracted a ton of buzz in recent years because they are natural and highly effective. The working principle here is oxygenation of water (used to rinse the vegetables) and exposure of bacteria to be killed by the oxygen. These are not as harmful but one rinse is recommended.

Before you purchase a water cooler for your home, make sure you are well-prepared to give it the maintenance and care it truly deserves. Stock up on the supplies and rid your home of molds, harmful bacteria, and bad odors. Your entire household will thank you for it.


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Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Tom,

Very interesting post. Of course, unless you are in a place with horrible water, it would be preferable & much cheaper to just install a water filter. Why would you want filtered water from the municiple supply of Newark, NJ to be trucked out to you when you can get your own from the tap?

Nov 05, 2018 10:19 AM #1
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I am glad I ave good water out of my tap

Nov 05, 2018 11:55 AM #2
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Never gave it a thought Tom but it's nice to know how to do it if I can ever find the time 

Nov 05, 2018 05:29 PM #3
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Tom Evans those are very valuable tips for how to clean a water dispenser. 

Nov 05, 2018 08:16 PM #4
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Tom Evans

Real Estate Counselor and Investor
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