Page 14: Guidance For Providing Safe Drinking Water in Areas of Federal Jurisdiction – Version 2

Appendix H: Bottled Water Dispenser Maintenance

Note: This information can be found on Health Canada's website.

Cleaning your water cooler


  • Note: Clean your bottled water cooler before every bottle change.
  • Unplug cord from electrical outlet of cooler.
  • Remove empty bottle (carboy).
  • Drain water from stainless steel reservoir(s) through faucet(s).
  • Prepare a disinfecting solution by adding one tablespoon (15 mL) household bleach to one Imperial gallon (4.5 L) of water solution.


  • Some companies suggest using one part vinegar to three parts water solution to clean the reservoir of scale before cleaning with bleach. Check your manual.
  • Note: Other disinfecting solutions may be suitable. Please check with your water cooler supplier/manual.
  • Pour the bleach/other disinfection solution into the reservoir.
  • Wash reservoir thoroughly with bleach solution and let stand for not less than two minutes (to be effective) and not more than five minutes (to prevent corrosion).
  • Drain bleach/disinfection solution from reservoir through faucet(s).
  • Rinse reservoir thoroughly with clean tap water, draining water through faucets, to remove traces of the bleach/disinfection solution.

Drip Tray (located under faucets)

  • Lift off drip tray.
  • Remove the screen and wash both tray and screen in mild detergent.
  • Rinse well in clean tap water and replace on cooler.

Replacing Bottle

  • Wash hands with soap and warm water before handling. If you choose to use clean protective gloves (ex. latex), discard or disinfect after each use and prior to reuse.
  • Note: Protective gloves should never replace proper hand washing and hygiene.
  • Wipe the top and neck of the new bottle with a paper towel dipped in household bleach solution (1 tablespoon (15 mL) of bleach, 1 gallon (4.5 L) of water). Rubbing alcohol may also be used, but must be completely evaporated before placing the bottle in the cooler.
  • Remove cap from new bottle without touching the surface of the opening to avoid any contamination. Place new bottle on cooler.


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