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cleaning a hydration hose?

per the subject line,

a Q-tip only works so much magic,

as does multiple strung together.

and I can't find a rag thin enough to do the job.

need I purchase a new hose?

what are others doing?

nasty stuff yo's!


I use one of the purpose-made hydration hose brushes. Plus either the cleaning tablets, or if not available, substitute chlorine bleach solution, then fill the bladder with the solution and let it soak for a few hours, then rinse several times with hot water.

They sure do get nasty when left and forgotten, don't they? Blech!

I haven't spent the money to get one of the hose cleaning brushes, but I imagine they would work better than anything else.

In lieu of purchasing on of those, I used a long cotton string with a few knots tied in the middle. I first disconnected the hose from the reservoir, then by running a small stream of water into the hose I was able to thread the string all the way through. Once the tail of the string comes out the other end, use soapy water and pull the knotted section back and forth inside the hose. After rinsing with clean water I then soaked the hose in a bleach solution for half an hour or so.


thanks all.

gonzan, will try your suggested method!

i'm vehemently trying to avoid purchasing tabs or brushes

me= DIYer :)

Glad to help! 

Another suggestion, in case you have trouble getting the string to go through: It might be easier to sucking the dry string through with mouth suction, or with a vaccuum cleaner, or using the pump of a water filter to pull it through with water. I actually think one of those would work far better.  

A rifle cleaning rod with cloth swabs at the end is also an alternative. Just make sure it is fresh out of the pack if using in your drinking system.

I'd give it a soak in hot water and dish soap. For truly icky stuff, you could try hydrogen peroxide. Then, pour in some coarse salt, some cold water and shake!

Unfortunately, if it's gotten bad enough that you have stuff growing inside, the taste will likely linger. You'll probably end up having to replace it - at least this is what's happened to me!

Fishing line with cotton balls; soak in bleach and water.  tie cotton ball to line.

I broke down and bought the cleaning kit with brush. works much better.

And once you get it clean, or buy a new one, after every use, let it dry and then flush it good with hydrogen peroxide to prevent scunge buildup.

i tried other options, but the brush that comes with camelbak's maintenance kit (basically a very long, snaky wire, coated with some kind of soft plastic, with a pipecleaner- looking brush on the end) easily works best. 

i think you can purchase a replacement hose, rather than having to buy a whole new assembly, if it's beyond repair (meaning you can't get rid of that musky aftertaste). 

i'm breaking down to purchase.

lemme re-phrase that: broke down.

many thanks! y'all. :)

Coat hanger pushing a wad of paper towel soaked in bleach.  (someone thought a camelback should have kool-aide in it)

Ughhh. I have a hard enough time keeping them clean without putting sugar and crap in them. I guess some folks really like putting flavoring or electrolyte mixes in theirs, but it's not a mess a want to deal with

 I had one that got pretty gross and no matter how much I scrubbed it, I could still see little specks of mold here and there. I replaced it, and now I've become a total fanatic about rinsing it and storing it open and dry.

But I suppose I really should just buy a hose cleaner.

If you get an aftertaste, a small amount of whiskey left in the hose to soak overnight does wonders.  It doesn't take much to just fill the hose, either.

You might also be able to go down to your local home brewer store and get some 5 Star or B-Brite cleanser.  It's used to clean dirty beer bottles before re-using them.  I just got a container of the 5 Star (about $13) to clean out some Soda Stream bottles we hadn't used in a while and it did wonders with the musty smell.

As far as the solution to clean/disinfect it you have many options. A bleach solution is probably the easiest and most cost effective.

The application is the tricky part, more so if you have growth inside the walls of the tube itself. If you have no grow a quick rinse with the bleach solution is really all it takes.

I rinse my bladders when i get home from a trip now to prevent the issue all together. But, if you fail to do that and end up with growth I found the following items to work, listed in no particular order.

Pipe cleaners

The special brush the bladder makers sell

A .22 or .17 rope rifle bore cleaner (new and never used in a rifle obviously)

Of all of those i found the rope bore cleaner to be by far the easiest. You can get one from walmart, cabelas etc for like 5-10 bucks if i recall correctly. I wet the rope with a bleach solution and drop it through the hose with a piece of string and one or two passes and your done. Takes like 2 minutes if that. Then i just rinse the rope with water and hang to dry. You could also just buy a small diameter rope and accompish the same thing if you tie a string onto the end.

October 24, 2020
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