You’re Definitely Going to Want to Wash Your Water Bottle After Reading This

The beauty of the reusable water bottle is that it’s just that ¡ª reusable. You can repeatedly head to the water cooler or faucet to fill it up, but when your bottle continually stays wet, it doesn’t have the chance to get a proper cleaning. Since bacteria love a moist, dark environment, it’s good to get in the habit of cleaning your bottle every night ¡ª?or at least every few days. Here are some ways you can get rid of the germs and grime.

Throw it in the dishwasher: Some bottles are dishwasher safe, so check the bottom of your bottle or the brand’s website to make sure. Kleen Kanteen Classic stainless-steel bottles and glass bottles like those from Lifefactory and bkr are dishwasher safe, as well as some products from Nalgene and Camelbak.

Wash it with warm soapy water: Pour out any leftover liquid, add a few drops of dishwashing soap and some warm water, screw on the top, and shake for a minute or so. It’s smart to invest in a bottle brush like this so you can scrub deep inside your bottle, especially if it has a narrow mouth. Thoroughly clean the cap and straw as well and allow to air-dry overnight.

Use vinegar: This all-natural cleaner is great for killing certain germs and bacteria, but it isn’t effective at killing everything such as the flu virus. If you’re OK with that, use this method: after washing with soapy water, rinse well, and fill your bottle one fifth of the way with white vinegar. Fill the rest with water, let it stand overnight, and in the morning thoroughly rinse it out.

Use a weak bleach solution: If you’re really worried about germs, nothing stands a chance against a little bleach. It’s perfectly safe to drink from a bottle that’s been cleaned with a weak bleach solution ¡ª it can even be used to sanitize baby toys and bottles. Make a bleach solution using one tablespoon of bleach per one quart of water. Fill your bottle, screw on the top, and allow to sit for two minutes. Pour out the solution and allow it to dry out completely.

Use water bottle cleansing tablets: Many companies make this type of product, including Camelbak ($12 for eight), or you can also get away with using effervescent denture cleaning tablets such as Efferdent. Just fill your bottle with water, drop the tablet in, and allow to dissolve and sit for 15 to 30 minutes (depending on the product’s directions). Then rinse and enjoy your clean bottle.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kat Borchart

You’re Definitely Going to Want to Wash Your Water Bottle After Reading This

The beauty of the reusable water bottle is that it’s just that reusable. You can repeatedly head to the water cooler or faucet to fill it up| but when your bottle continually stays wet| it doesn’t have the chance to get a proper cleaning. Since bacteria love a moist| dark environment| it’s good to get in the habit of cleaning your bottle every night ?or at least every few days. Here are some ways you can get rid of the germs and grime.

Throw it in the dishwasher: Some bottles are dishwasher safe| so check the bottom of your bottle or the brand’s website to make sure. Kleen Kanteen Classic stainless-steel bottles and glass bottles like those from Lifefactory and bkr are dishwasher safe| as well as some products from Nalgene and Camelbak.

Wash it with warm soapy water: Pour out any leftover liquid| add a few drops of dishwashing soap and some warm water| screw on the top| and shake for a minute or so. It’s smart to invest in a bottle brush like this so you can scrub deep inside your bottle| especially if it has a narrow mouth. Thoroughly clean the cap and straw as well and allow to air-dry overnight.

Use vinegar: This all-natural cleaner is great for killing certain germs and bacteria| but it isn’t effective at killing everything such as the flu virus. If you’re OK with that| use this method: after washing with soapy water| rinse well| and fill your bottle one fifth of the way with white vinegar. Fill the rest with water| let it stand overnight| and in the morning thoroughly rinse it out.

Use a weak bleach solution: If you’re really worried about germs| nothing stands a chance against a little bleach. It’s perfectly safe to drink from a bottle that’s been cleaned with a weak bleach solution ¡ª it can even be used to sanitize baby toys and bottles. Make a bleach solution using one tablespoon of bleach per one quart of water. Fill your bottle| screw on the top| and allow to sit for two minutes. Pour out the solution and allow it to dry out completely.

Use water bottle cleansing tablets: Many companies make this type of product| including Camelbak ($12 for eight)| or you can also get away with using effervescent denture cleaning tablets such as Efferdent. Just fill your bottle with water| drop the tablet in| and allow to dissolve and sit for 15 to 30 minutes (depending on the product’s directions). Then rinse and enjoy your clean bottle.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kat Borchart

Lose Weight by Packing Lunch in These BPA-Free Containers

Lose Weight by Packing Lunch in These BPA-Free Containers

If you’re headed back to school or are using the start of Fall as a way to get back on the healthy train after a Summer of burgers and ice cream| you’ll need a way to pack all those perfectly portioned lunches and snacks from home. If you’re nervous about BPA| which has been linked to all sorts of health issues| you can feel good picking up these reusable BPA-free containers.

| PlanetBox

You don’t have to worry about BPA with the completely stainless steel PlanetBox ($35-$56). These containers come in three different sizes that offer a variety of compartments to keep all your foods completely separated u2014 even hummus or yogurt. You can order just the containers| or order sets that come with a carry bag ($12-$14) and smaller stainless steel containers ($5-$11) that fit inside the lunch box for dips and dressings. There’s also a removable smaller glass container perfect for popping in the microwave. The PlanetBox is dishwasher-safe. They may seem pricey| but think of all the money you’ll save by not eating out!

| LunchBots

These simple LunchBots containers are made of 18/8 stainless steel| making them completely BPA-free. They’re available in a range of sizes and designs and are dishwasher-safe but not leakproof or insulated. Priced between $18 and $37| these containers are built to last.

| Bento Box

These lightweight containers are made without PVC| phthalates| BPA| or lead. Bento Boxes are dishwasher-safe and come in tons of bright colors. Choose either the Laptop Lunch Set ($20) or go for a kit that includes the carry case ($40). The lids seal completely| so go ahead and pack liquids like soup.

| Yumbox

Lightweight and leakproof| the Yumbox ($28) allows you to pack yogurt| sliced strawberries| and salad without them getting all mixed up. There are five half-cup compartments with a smaller one for dips or a little treat. It’s completely BPA-free| is dishwasher-safe| and can also be microwaved. Order one in green or pink.

| ECOlunchbox

The ECOlunchbox Three-in-One is 100-percent plastic-| waste-| lead-| BPA-| PVC-| and vinyl-free and costs $26. Since no plastic is used| these boxes aren’t completely leakproof| so it’s best to skip the juicy lunches and snacks. And for your snacking needs| go for these smaller ECOlunchpod containers ($8).

| Preserve Products

Not only are these Preserve containers BPA-free| but they’re also made with 100-percent recycled plastic and are themselves 100-percent recyclable u2014 an eco trifecta! There are bowls available with screw-on lids that seal completely| making them perfect for transporting liquids without leakage. These containers are dishwasher-safe and quite affordable: a set of four lunch containers costs $10.

| To-Go Ware

These no-nonsense To-Go Ware containers are made of 100 percent stainless steel| making them BPA-free| lightweight| and easy to clean. Choose from a variety of styles and sizes; some sets even come with a bamboo utensil set. To-Go Ware containers range in price from $6 for the small tin to $25 for the large set.

| Kids Konserve

Kids Konserve makes tons of stainless steel lunch containers| ranging in size and price from $8 for singles to $33 for sets. And instead of wasting plastic baggies for snacks and sandwiches| they make reusable BPA-| lead-| and phthalate-free Food Kozy Wraps (two for $7).

| Rubbermaid LunchBlox

If you don’t want to order BPA-free containers online| you can pick some up at the grocery store. Check out these Rubbermaid LunchBlox containers. There’s a Salad Kit ($11)| a Sandwich Kit ($11)| a kit for flat lunch boxes ($16)| and one for tall lunch boxes ($11) u2014 all include a reusable Blue Ice Pack.

| Fresh Baby Divided Dish

Spill-proof and free of BPA| lead| melamine| and phthalates| this Fresh Baby Divided Dish ($8| originally $13) is perfect for packing snacks. It’s lightweight| has a locking lid| and is freezer- and dishwasher-safe.

| Smart Planet Eco Silicone Collapsible Lunch Box

If you’re short on space| this lunch container collapses ($12) to one-third of its expanded size. Made of BPA-free silicone| it’s microwave- and dishwasher-safe| and the lid snaps to eliminate spillage. Order it in green| blue| orange| or pink.

| Thermos

Made by Thermos| these scientific-sounding vacuum-insulated food jars ($22) are made of unbreakable stainless steel. Even though the jars have double walls for insulation| they’re lightweight and also free of BPA. These 10-ounce containers are perfect for keeping foods hot or cold.

| Klean Kanteen Insulated

You’ll need a beverage to go along with your lunch| and these Klean Kanteen Insulated bottles ($24-$30) are perfect. Not only are they BPA-free| but they’ll also keep chilly beverages cold for 24 hours and steamy beverages hot for six. They come in three sizes and a range of colors.

| Lifefactory Food Containers

If you’re into Lifefactory’s BPA-free glass bottles| you’re going to flip for these tempered glass food storage containers ($15-$20). They offer three different sizes to suit your snack or lunchtime needs u2014 one-cup| two-cup| or four-cup sizes u2014 and feature their signature silicone sleeve for nonslip grip and protection. The silicone button tabs keep the lids secure| and these babies are dishwasher-| oven-| microwave-| and freezer-safe!

| Goodbyn Bynto

This BPA-free Goodbyn Bynto ($9) is not only affordable| the airtight lid keeps all three compartments completely separate and leakproof. There’s a handy handle on top so you can carry it as is| or purchase an insulated lunch sleeve ($20) to keep the contents cold. It holds a total of just over four cups of food| so it’s perfect for an adult-size lunch.

Celebrate #GivingTuesday by Giving Your Old Fitness Gear New Life

After the craziness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it only feels right to celebrate #GivingTuesday, a movement that’s all about giving back. You can log on to the campaign’s website and pledge your own intent to give on Dec. 2, then donate money to charity or volunteer your time ¡ª or do both by simply going out for a run using these apps.

There’s more you can do to give back. Since exercising regularly means going through lots of fitness gear, instead of just tossing out old kicks or a worn-out yoga mat, do something good for the Earth. Here are ways to recycle or reuse old workout gear.

SneakersDonate: You can toss them in a Goodwill bin or send them to an organization that’ll put them to good use. Soles4Souls’s tagline is “Saving the world ¡ª one pair at a time.” This organization takes your tired but “gently worn” sneakers and finds needy feet to fill them. You can drop off your pairs at a location near you or host a shoe drive to collect a whole bunch to mail at once. Another organization, Colorado-based nonprofit organization One World Running, has been serving runners around the globe since 1986. Through collection programs, it’s able to provide shoes for needy runners across the world. Check here for drop-off locations. Recycle: Turn your old shoes into something new. Nike Reuse-a-Shoe takes all brands of sneakers that are beyond “gently worn” and turns them into a recycled product known as Nike Grind, which is used to make tracks, indoor basketball courts, fields, and playgrounds. Just drop off your retired sneakers at a participating Nike store or mail them here. Reuse: Keep an old pair of sneakers around for days when you’re running or walking in the rain or on muddy trails. Some people even use old shoes as plant potters ¡ª talk about going green! Fill a disinfected shoe with soil and grow some basil or cilantro on your deck or windowsill.ClothesDonate: When you buy newer gear, pass on your old gear to friends or siblings, or donate them to Goodwill, a homeless shelter, or another charity store.Recycle: Patagonia accepts all its products back for recycling. Either mail them to Patagonia or drop them off at a retail store. Reuse: Used fitness clothes make excellent old rags for cleaning. Cut them up and store them in a bag under the kitchen sink. EquipmentDonate: Send gently used sports gear such as balls, baseball bats, and bikes to Sports Gift, and it’ll get it to impoverished children in over 50 countries. Or donate your fitness equipment to Fitness 4 Charity, and it’ll make sure it goes to someone in need.Recycle and reuse: If you have bulky equipment such as an old treadmill, check to see if your community has a recycling center that will be able to find use for the parts. Yoga MatsDonate: If you have a special place in your heart for four-legged friends, bring your used mat to the local Humane Society, where the organization will use it to line crates for the animals. The Bolder Mat Company also accepts old mats for its renew and recycle program, and it donates them to needy schools or community organizations. And through the JadeYoga 3R program, you can mail your worn-out mat to one of these yoga studios, and it’ll pass it on to programs and people in need.Reuse: Wash your old mat thoroughly, and place it under your treadmill to protect the floor from scratches, or fold it up and use it as a kneeling pad when gardening. Old mats can also be cut up and used under the litter box to prevent tracking kitty litter all over your house, on car seats under wet and muddy dogs, cut into circles and used to open jars, or in your trunk to keep bags of groceries from sliding around.

Source: Flickr user Tomi Tapio

Image Source:

Celebrate #GivingTuesday by Giving Your Old Fitness Gear New Life

After the craziness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday| it only feels right to celebrate #GivingTuesday| a movement that’s all about giving back. You can log on to the campaign’s website and pledge your own intent to give on Dec. 2| then donate money to charity or volunteer your time ¡ª or do both by simply going out for a run using these apps.

There’s more you can do to give back. Since exercising regularly means going through lots of fitness gear| instead of just tossing out old kicks or a worn-out yoga mat| do something good for the Earth. Here are ways to recycle or reuse old workout gear.

SneakersDonate: You can toss them in a Goodwill bin or send them to an organization that’ll put them to good use. Soles4Souls’s tagline is “Saving the world ¡ª one pair at a time.” This organization takes your tired but “gently worn” sneakers and finds needy feet to fill them. You can drop off your pairs at a location near you or host a shoe drive to collect a whole bunch to mail at once. Another organization| Colorado-based nonprofit organization One World Running| has been serving runners around the globe since 1986. Through collection programs| it’s able to provide shoes for needy runners across the world. Check here for drop-off locations. Recycle: Turn your old shoes into something new. Nike Reuse-a-Shoe takes all brands of sneakers that are beyond “gently worn” and turns them into a recycled product known as Nike Grind| which is used to make tracks| indoor basketball courts| fields| and playgrounds. Just drop off your retired sneakers at a participating Nike store or mail them here. Reuse: Keep an old pair of sneakers around for days when you’re running or walking in the rain or on muddy trails. Some people even use old shoes as plant potters talk about going green! Fill a disinfected shoe with soil and grow some basil or cilantro on your deck or windowsill.ClothesDonate: When you buy newer gear| pass on your old gear to friends or siblings| or donate them to Goodwill| a homeless shelter| or another charity store.Recycle: Patagonia accepts all its products back for recycling. Either mail them to Patagonia or drop them off at a retail store. Reuse: Used fitness clothes make excellent old rags for cleaning. Cut them up and store them in a bag under the kitchen sink. EquipmentDonate: Send gently used sports gear such as balls| baseball bats| and bikes to Sports Gift| and it’ll get it to impoverished children in over 50 countries. Or donate your fitness equipment to Fitness 4 Charity| and it’ll make sure it goes to someone in need.Recycle and reuse: If you have bulky equipment such as an old treadmill| check to see if your community has a recycling center that will be able to find use for the parts. Yoga MatsDonate: If you have a special place in your heart for four-legged friends| bring your used mat to the local Humane Society| where the organization will use it to line crates for the animals. The Bolder Mat Company also accepts old mats for its renew and recycle program| and it donates them to needy schools or community organizations. And through the JadeYoga 3R program| you can mail your worn-out mat to one of these yoga studios| and it’ll pass it on to programs and people in need.Reuse: Wash your old mat thoroughly| and place it under your treadmill to protect the floor from scratches| or fold it up and use it as a kneeling pad when gardening. Old mats can also be cut up and used under the litter box to prevent tracking kitty litter all over your house| on car seats under wet and muddy dogs| cut into circles and used to open jars| or in your trunk to keep bags of groceries from sliding around.

Source: Flickr user Tomi Tapio

Image Source: