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Using bleach to clean bladder/hose

Dee Hall

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There was post last month asked about how to clean a water bladder and/or hose that has become dirty or moldy. Many of us use diluted bleach and there was a discussion about the need to neutralize the bleach after rinsing. This is a matter of taste (or smell). There is no harm from the amount of bleach left in the bladder and hose. Some respondents said they didn't neutralize and hadn't noticed a taste and one proposed the idea that the bleach evaporates with the water. Another respondent with chemistry background said that the bleach is a salt and can't evaporate.

This week it was time to clean the bladders and hoses and since I find the taste and smell very objectionable, I did neutralize with dilute solution of lemon juice, which I do like the taste of. Then, instead of cleaning up the small amount of spilled bleach solution from the black countertop, I left it there to see what would happen.

When the liquid evaporated there were white, crystaline stains on the countertop. When I wet them, they smelled of bleach.

The rest of the day I pondered how other people on the message board would have such different results from cleaning their bladders with bleach and not neutralizing them. I find the taste of chlorine in the tap water in Beverly marginal for drinking; the taste of the residual bleach in water in the bladder is unpalatable!

Then it hit me. Most people aren't carrying water in their bladders, they are carrying fruit flavored sports drinks. The mildly acidic fruit flavorings in these drinks would do an effective job of neutralizing the bleach. If all you are ever going to carry is sports drinks in the bladder, then neutralizing is probably a waste of effort.

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