It is a good idea to clean and disinfect your water cooler thoroughly every time you change the water bottle. Always unplug the water cooler before you clean it.
What do I need to do before I clean my water cooler?
Before you clean your water cooler, you will need to make a cleaning (disinfecting) solution. Whenever you make or use the solution, protect yourself by wearing:
- safety glasses with side shields
- disposable gloves
- a waterproof apron, smock, or overalls
To make the disinfecting solution, mix together:
- 15 mL of five percent, unscented bleach
- 5 litres of clean, warm water
If you use a chemical product to clean, descale, or disinfect your water cooler make sure it is:
- approved to use on food contact surfaces
- used at the right concentration with enough retention time (follow manufacturer’s instructions)
- stored properly
- flushed out after cleaning (with water suitable to drink)
How do I clean my cold water cooler?
The easiest way to clean a water cooler is when you replace an empty water bottle.
- Unplug the water cooler.
- Remove the empty water bottle.
- Drain all remaining water through the peg or plug (spigot).
- Remove the no-spill guard and baffle. Do not break or damage these parts. You can clean these parts in a dishwasher or with the steps outlined in the section below.
- Fill the cooler reservoir with cleaning solution and scrub the inside with a clean, long-handled brush with soft bristles.
- Drain some of the cleaning solution through the spigots. Let it sit for at least 2 minutes (but no longer than 5 minutes) to prevent corrosion.
- Drain the cleaning solution from the reservoir through the spigots into a bucket. Flush the solution down a toilet.
- Fill the reservoir with clean tap or bottled water and rinse thoroughly to help remove the bleach. Do this 2 or 3 times. Drain the rinse water through the spigots into a bucket. Flush the solution down a toilet.
- Put the baffle and no-spill guard back on.
- Put the new water bottle on top of the cooler.
- Press the spigots until water flows.
- Plug in the water cooler.
How do I clean the plastic parts?
Whenever you clean your water cooler, it is a good idea to clean the drip tray, spigot paddles, no-spill guard, baffles, and the outside of the cooler. Do not
use abrasive cleansers as they can scratch surfaces. You can put any removable parts in a dishwasher (see manufacturer’s instructions) or clean them with these steps:
- Put the parts in hot, soapy water.
- Rinse the parts with clean water.
- Clean the parts with your cleaning solution.
- Let the parts dry completely or dry them with a clean cloth.
- Wipe the outside of the cooler with a clean, hot, soapy cloth.
What else do I need to do to maintain my cooler?
- Clean your water cooler regularly to help keep it running well.
- Once a month, check the wire grid across the back of the cooler for lint and dust build-up. Vacuum or clean these areas with a brush.
- Do not lubricate the compressor. It has an air-tight seal. Most coolers have an automatic-reset overload protection switch.
- Unplug your water cooler whenever it is out of water.
How do I clean a hot water cooler?
Do not use bleach on hot water cooler systems. To clean a hot water cooler:
- Boil some water.
- Pour enough boiling water into the cooler to fill the reservoir. Be careful not to burn yourself with the boiling water.
- Drain some hot water through the spigots. Let the hot water sit in the cooler and spigots for 3 minutes.
- Scrub the inside of the reservoir with a clean, long-handled brush with soft bristles.
- Drain out the water and rinse the reservoir well before you use the cooler.
If you have any questions, call Environmental Public Health.