The water cooler—also referred to as a bubbler—is traditionally where people within an office building gather to share word about what’s going on in their departments or from their desks. These days, of course, the water cooler has been replaced with social media and text messages—at least the gossip aspects have been—but people still gather there for the cooler’s initial objective. They want to enjoy a long, cool drink of water—or maybe some hot water for tea or instant coffee.
Is the Water Cooler Clean?
Drinking water is mandatory for optimal health. In fact, everyone needs to drink way more than just the occasional sip from the office bubbler. Bringing a vessel to fill at the water cooler affords even more opportunities to sip water. If the water isn’t clean, however, it can have an adverse effect. If you enjoy tea or coffee made from the water cooler, it may start to taste a bit off when it’s time for a thorough cleaning.
Supplies Needed to Clean
- A pitcher, bowl or bucket
- Clean microfiber cloth
- Cotton Swabs
Prepare the Water Cooler
Whether you work in an office or have a bubbler at home, cleaning it may become your duty from time to time. Unless you employ a maid service in your office or your home, it will likely eventually fall on you to perform the task.
The best time to clean out a water cooler is when the jug of water on top has run out. This way you’re not attempting to lift a heavy jug of water and prevent it from spilling.
Unplugging the water cooler is the first step in this cleaning process. Follow this by removing the (hopefully empty!) water jug.
Even though you’ve removed the water jug, there is likely some water remaining in the lines. Using the spigot, drain all remaining water into a pitcher, bowl or bucket. Many water coolers offer both hot and cold water. Make sure to drain both lines.
Vinegar Cleans and Disinfects
It’s important to remember that whatever you use to clean the water cooler can wind up in the next drink of water you swallow. That said, it’s imperative that the cleaning agent be safe for human consumption. Many maid services use green products and products that won’t harm people or animals, but if you don’t have a maid service, you’ll be responsible for this step of the chore on your own.
Vinegar not only cleans things like water coolers, it disinfects them as well. Removing or simply opening the top of the water safe on the cooler allows direct access to the inner workings of the cooler. This is where you’ll want to pour two tablespoons of vinegar per every gallon of water you plan to flush through the system.
Allowing the vinegar and water solution to remain in the well for a few minutes gives you time to wipe down the exterior of the water cooler. Dipping a cleaning microfiber cloth into the solution, wipe down all exterior portions—taking special care to thoroughly clean the spigot. The underside of the spigot is an excellent gathering place for mold and mildew. A cotton swab soaked in vinegar and water and inserted into the spigot will ensure a germ-free environment.
Drain and Flush
Your next step in cleaning the water cooler is to drain the vinegar and water solution from the well, once again making sure to drain both the hot and cold lines. Replacing a full jug of water on top of the cooler means the job is almost complete.
Draining both lines once again allows the fresh water to flow through the well and the lines, rinsing away any traces of vinegar. Even though the vinegar isn’t the least bit harmful, no one wants to go to the water cooler, anticipating a nice, cold drink, and getting a taste of vinegar instead! Draining about a half-gallon of water—half from the hot spigot and half from the cold—will ensure every part of the water cooler is clean, rinsed, and ready to flow.