Making Your Hydration Bladder Plastic Taste Disappear

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Hydration bladders are a camping essential. They are a great option to carry water while you are camping or hiking. But most times, water from hydration bladders don’t taste right. So, if you’re wondering, “How to get the plastic taste out of my water bladder?” you’ve come to the right place. 

There are many easy ways by which you can make the plastic taste in your hydration bladder disappear. Firstly, you’ll need to clean it thoroughly to remove bacteria or molds. Cleaning tablets also work perfectly. You can also use bleach, baking soda and lemon juice, or soap and water to eliminate the taste. 

It can be a bummer to drink water that tastes like plastic and ruin your mood when you’re on the trails. In this article, you’ll learn how to use these methods to remove the taste, why the hydration bladder makes the water taste like plastic, and how often you should clean the water bladder. 

Woman in a blue shirt drinking water from her hydration pack on a trail with grass on the side of a mountain.
Woman drinking water from her hydration pack in the mountain

Why Does Water from Your Hydration Bladder Taste Bad? 

There can be several reasons why the water from your hydration pack tastes terrible. It could be because you’re tasting plastic in the water. After all, most bags have that taste straight out of the package. It could also be because of bacteria or mold, which could develop if you don’t clean it often. It could also be a leftover taste of coffee or alcohol. 

Water from most hydration bladders tastes like plastic because of the manufacturing leftover residue.

It will go away on its own with time, but you can speed up the process using some cleaning tablets, among other techniques.

Minor exposure to BPA isn’t harmful, and you can find it in most common plastics like bottles, eyeglasses, baby bottles, etc. 

Still, it is best to make sure that your hydration bladder is 100% BPS or BPA-free because there might be some harmful chemicals left.

If it claims that it’s entirely BPA-free, you don’t have to worry about anything.

From my experience nearly all water bladders taste like plastic, so purchase one from a known supplier to protect yourself from ingesting toxins. 

If you suspect your hydration bladder may be developing mold or bacteria, you will note that the water will not taste right.

To prevent this mold formation, you’ll need to clean the hydration bladder properly with a relatively affordable cleaning kit.

Ensure that you completely manage to make sure that you’ve cleaned each part of your hydration pack from the screw cap, bite valve, reservoir, to the length of tube entirely.  

A third reason why the water does not taste right is because of a leftover taste from the previous drinks you put in the hydration bladder.

If you put coffee or alcohol in the bladder, likely, you won’t ever be successful in removing the leftover taste. So, you’ll want to be careful of what you pour in there. 

How to Remove the Plastic Taste from the Hydration Bladder

It’s an ongoing effort of backpackers to remove the plastic taste from hydration bladders, and it has lasted for decades now, and many popular ways have effective results.

So then, how to get the plastic taste out of my water bladder? Here are four of these ways.

Cleaning Tablets

One of the simplest ways of getting rid of the plastic taste from your water bladder is by using dentures or cleaning tablets.

You can also use tablets that specialize in cleaning reservoirs, as dentures tend to taste a bit minty. 

You’ll have to add the tablets to your hydration bladder’s water and leave it to soak. Keep it like that overnight to get the maximum effect.

You can add more effectiveness to this method by using warm water instead of room temperature water. 

Make sure the tablets dissolve entirely and enter the plastic inside before you rinse the water out. These tablets will remove mold or bacteria, mild tastes, and odors.

Of the four cleaning methods that I will be mentioning here, this one is the best and the most effective. 

Baking Soda and Lemon Juice

Baking soda is a weak base, which everyone mainly uses as a cleaning agent. It can remove the plastic taste from your hydration bladder easily on its own.

To get a more effective outcome, you’ll want to add lemon juice to the water. 

Take two tablespoons of baking soda and mix it with the water in your hydration bladder. Make sure it is full of water and give it a shake.

After that, you have to add about two cups of lemon juice to this mix. You’ll have to be careful while doing so because the hydration bladder contents foam up now. 

Keep the mixture like that overnight, rinse it thoroughly to get maximum results. You might end up getting a lemon aftertaste that lasts a long time, which won’t be a problem if you love the citrus taste.

But if you don’t like that, you can use other alternatives from here. 


Bleach is a dangerous chemical agent and kills anything it reaches. To apply this technique, you’ll only need a small amount of bleach because it’s so powerful.

Take about two liters of hot water in your hydration bladder and mix a bit of bleach with it. A teaspoon of bleach should do the trick. 

Let this solution sit through the night for the best results. Then you can rinse the hydration bladder thoroughly.

Make sure you’re going over four times when you rinse the mixture out. The plastic taste will be gone from your hydration bladder, but it may have a chemical aftertaste. 

You can follow the previous method to remove this aftertaste. Make sure you’re soaking the tube, bite valve, and thoroughly clean the reservoir. 

Soda Bicarbonate

In two cups of water, you’ll need to mix about ¼ cup of soda bicarbonate. The water should not be boiling, and it’s best to get room temperature water. 

Rub the hydration bladder gently till you have distributed the solution evenly to every part of it. Now, you can leave it like that through the night and rinse thoroughly with some warm water. 

After you’ve cleaned the water bladder, you’ll want to store it in the refrigerator to prevent mold formation.

Every time you use it outdoors, clean the water bladder with warm water, drain it, and store it in a zip bag. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Hydration Bladder? 

For those that always hike with a hydration bladder but haven’t considered cleaning you may be wondering, how often should I clean my water bladder to keep it safe for drinking and disease free?

It’s best to clean your hydration bladder every time you use it outside. Dark, moist, and warm environments enable bacterial growth and mold infestation. So, experts generally recommend backpackers rinse their hydration bladder every night when they’re on the trail and clean it thoroughly once they reach home. 

These days bladders have antimicrobial coatings inside. It works well, but it doesn’t work perfectly every time. So, to be on the safer side, you need to clean it often.

If you do get some bacterial outgrowth, you can use the methods I’ve already mentioned and get rid of it. After you finish that, you have to use a cleaning kit to clean the tube and bite valve. 

The best way to prevent mold is to store the hydration bladder correctly. Dry it using a hanger before you put it back in the storage.

You can also freeze the hydration bladder with a large runner band to keep the hose and everything together. 


You clicked here looking for answers to the most frequently asked question, “How to get the plastic taste out of my water bladder?” In this article, I provided you information on some of the most probable causes and also provided some tips on how you can eliminate this issue.  

Hope you will never have to experience plastic tasting water from your water bladder ever again. Thanks for stopping by. 

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