US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association

Drinking enough water is one of the most important things you can do for your health on a daily basis. Most people working in an office environment get their water from a water cooler. It is generally recommended that you clean and sanitize the inside of your water cooler at least every 6 to 12 months as a film of bacteria and debris can develop over time, affecting the taste and smell of water. In addition, the outside of your water cooler should be cleaned daily to prevent the transmission of diseases/viruses such as the cold and flu.

Cleaning a bottled water cooler is very easy. All you will need is 30 minutes, clean rubber gloves, a lint-free towel or lint-free paper towels, clean one to two gallon container and a teaspoon of unscented household bleach. Remember to disconnect the water cooler power cord from the outlet before you start!

  1. Remove the empty bottle from your cooler and drain the reservoir through the cold water faucet. Allow any ice to melt and drain, adding hot water to speed up the process.
  2. Remove the water guard or spill-free top from your cooler, followed by removing the baffle (a white plastic or stainless steel plate/tube assembly that lifts straight out), if available.
  3. Clean/wash water cooler exterior and faucets with hot water and mild soap. Rinse and dry thoroughly with paper towels.
  4. Prepare a sanitizing solution consisting of one gallon of clean water and one teaspoon of unscented bleach. Using rubber gloves, wet and wring out a clean, lint-free towel with sanitizing solution to wipe down the interior surfaces of the reservoir. Fill reservoir with the chlorine solution, leaving it for about ten minutes.
  5. Sanitize the spill-free top and baffle by simply wiping (not soaking) them down with the towel saturated with the sanitizing solution. Allow the spill-free top and baffle to sit for at least 3 minutes, rinse well with clean water and set aside to dry.
  6. Fill reservoir full with clean water and completely drain that water through the cold and hot faucet. Repeat this one to two more times.
  7. Replace the baffle and spill-free top assembly by pressing firmly into place. Place a bottle on the cooler and drain two cups of water from each faucet (hot, room temp, and cold). Keep draining if a chlorine taste is still present.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us directly with questions about this or other related topics, to schedule a consultation, or any other safety and occupational health concerns at our Safety in Paradise office 340-713-1619 or at We look forward to helping you today!