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How to Clean a Water Dispenser: Step-by-Step Guide in 2023

how to clean a water dispenser
Written by Warner Levit

Water dispensers have become one of the most reliable sources of drinking water. It is in our homes, offices, restaurants, and places of worship, among others.

One of the leading causes of sickness for many people around the world is poor water hygiene. Sometimes we fail to clean our water dispensers. This, in turn, leads to the spreading of germs and diseases

If you know how to clean a water dispenser, it’ll curb the accumulation of dirt and the possible spread of infections.

The good thing is that we can develop the habit of cleaning our top-class water dispensers, especially each time we replace an old bottle. With this, you’ll always find it easier to remember as well.

How to Clean Water Dispensers?

Cleaning your water dispenser can be easier if you follow these few steps.

Step 1: Unplug the unit from the power source.

Step 2: Ensure that the bottle is empty and remove it.

Step 3: Take the dispenser out to a comfortable location.

Step 4: Dip the sponge into the prepared cleaning solution. Use the wet sponge to wipe the dispenser starting from the inside. You should allow the solution to remain in the dispenser for about 2 minutes only.

Step 5: Drain the solution through the spigots. This is only applicable to the cold water dispenser.

Step 6: Pour clean water into the reservoir. Rinse it and drain it again through the spigot.

Step 7: Rinse it and drain it again through the spigot to remove any vinegar or bleach odor.

Step 8: Remove the drip tray and clean it. Rinse it with water and dry it with a soft towel.

Step 9: Dry the dispenser by wiping off the moisture with a towel. Wash your hand completely.

Step 10: Put the new water bottle in place. Try to drink from the spigot to test the quality of the water.

Now that you are familiar with how to clean a water dispenser. It’s time we considered other aspects of the cleaning procedure that might interest you.

Choose & Prepare the Right Solution

At this stage, you’ll need to choose your ideal cleaning solution. You can decide to use bleach or vinegar.

It is important for you to know that the quality of cleaning at the end does not depend on the cleaning solution. Rather, it is your skills and ability to adhere to instructions.

Yet, the only thing you’ll consider is the scent. Some persons might be allergic to bleach. While others are uncomfortable with the smell of vinegar solution.

We recommend that you use soap or other chemicals for the cleaning. The reason is that they may alter the taste of the water for a very long time.

Now, the question is how do you prepare your cleaning solution?

To make a bleach solution for cleaning your water dispenser. You add a tablespoon of chlorine bleach (unscented) with 1 gallon of water. Stir until it mixes. Ensure that you wear a hand glove or other protective covering so that it does not spill on your cloth or shoes.

To get a clean water dispenser by using a vinegar solution, you’ll fill your bucket with water. Then add a single quart of vinegar. Try to stir the solution completely.

Now you know how to clean your water dispenser with vinegar or bleach solution. Let’s consider other aspects of the cleaning.

Unplug the Cooler

It is very important to remove the power cord of your water cooler dispenser from the socket whenever you’re to clean. This is will prevent any incidence of electrocution during the process of cleaning.

After now, you can proceed to take out the water bottle.

Clean the Outside

You must be curious about how to clean the water dispenser from the outside, right? The following steps will provide you with the answers.

Step 1

Dip a cloth in the cleaning solution. Here, you can create a mild solution with soap and water. Don’t use bleach cleaning solution especially if the surface is stainless steel. It might react with the surface and dampen the finish or corrode it.

Step 2

Wipe the outside with a wet cloth. If you notice some areas with tough stains or spots, concentrate on those areas until they’re removed. Try to dip the cloth into the solution. Remember, this is a good time to clean the spouts and the faucets as well.

Step 3

You might get fresh and cleaner cloth for this task. Wipe the dispenser again to remove the soap completely. Don’t forget to dip the cloth in clean water until you achieve the expected results.

Step 4

Get a towel to dry your dispenser. This will remove any leftover water. Moreover, it’ll prevent the growth of bacteria on the surface.

Step 5

If your water dispenser is made of stainless steel, ensure that you make it look nice by rubbing with a polish.

Avalon Limited Edition Self Cleaning Water Cooler Dispenser, 3 Temperature Settings - Hot, Cold & Cool Water, Durable Stainless Steel Construction, Bottom Loading - UL/Energy Star Approved
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Clean the Reservoir

In cleaning your reservoir, you’ll first unplug the unit and then continue with the steps below.

Step 1

Ensure that the unit is removed from the socket. If it’s hot, it’s recommended that you allow it cool for about an hour.

Step 2

Detach the empty water bottle from the dispenser. This is because there might be some water left in the bottle which you’ll use for the cleaning. Ensure that you cover the mouth to prevent dirt from entering.

Step 3

Check the reservoir to see if there’s water left. If you find any, drain the water through the two spigots. If your dispenser has a drain at the rear, you can use it too.

Step 4

If there’s a possibility for you to bring out the reservoir for cleaning, please do. Remove some clips and raise it up. Take it straight to the sink and make sure that you don’t trip in the process.

Some water dispensers are not designed for you to remove the reservoir. In this case, you’ll have to sanitize it by pouring boiling water into the reservoir. After that you can go ahead to scrub with a sponge dipped in soapy water.

Don’t forget to rinse it with clean tap water.

Step 5

If your reservoir is removable, after taking it to the sink, clean the inside and outside with soap or bleach solution. Then, rinse it with water.

Step 6

Now, dry the reservoir by wiping it with a clean cloth. Take the reservoir to the dispenser and put it in its place.

Descale the Water Dispenser

Step 1

Try to use the recommended descaler for your dispenser. Check the information in the manual to know the right descaler for your machine. You can use a vinegar solution if it’s acceptable by the manufacturer though there are some other ways as well. You might consider checking to know the type of descaling cycle that your machine can use.

Step 2

Descale the tank by pouring the solution into it. Allow it to settle in the reservoir for about 5 minutes. Then, drain the descaler through the faucet.

Step 3

Rinse it with enough water. Ensure that there’s an empty bucket available to hold the water as it comes out of the machine.

Step 4

Run clean water through the machine until you’re satisfied that there’s no trace of taste or odor.

Clean the Drip Tray

If your reservoir is with a drip tray, remove it and clean it properly. Use a soapy solution to wipe it clean and ensure to remove any water. If possible, you can remove the tray from the sink to wash it there.

You can scrub the tray using a soft brush to remove the dirt. Rinse it with clean water. Dry it with a towel. Then return it to the dispenser.

Care and Maintenance of the Dispensers

Besides the normal cleaning routine, you’ll have to remove the dust build-up on the back of the dispenser.

The wire grid at the back of the cooler is often known to accumulate dust and dirt. Unfortunately, this might affect the functioning of the machine over time. This area should be cleaned using a vacuum or brush.

You should try to unplug your dispenser anytime the water in the bottle or reservoir is empty. This is very important for the top-loading and bottom-loading water dispensers.

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It is very important for you to know how to clean water dispensers since it’ll enhance its lifespan. Also, it’ll save you from getting infected. Cleaning your dispenser can be easy if you pay attention to the steps we’ve provided.

You should make efforts to ensure that your dispenser is cleaned at least once in 6 months. If you don’t have the chance to clean it yourself, you can appoint someone in your home or office. The person will clean it to the standard.

Since your well-being depends on how clean your dispenser is. It is important to adhere to all the steps we’ve outlined so far.

About the author

Warner Levit

Water Filtration Expert

As a trained chemist and an independent researcher I started working on a portable water filter project as part of my business plan. While carrying out my research, I got involved with FaucetsReviewed. My fields of expertise include environmental science, biochemistry and water purification chemistry. Apart from contributing to this website, I’m currently working on my book “Water Filtration Science”. It will be published soon. I grew up in California, and completed my postgraduate degree from the University of California-Berkeley. I also work as a private counselor on the household water management system.

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