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Moldy Food and Drinking Containers Are Bad News

Mold or other fungi lurking in your food or drink container? Here’s how to handle things whether you’ve swallowed a swig or are simply looking to best manage moldy container messes.

Ate or Drank Something Disgustingly Moldy?

Accidentally ate moldy food? Wondering what happens if you drink something with mold in it? Believe it or not, this kind of thing happens all the time. Mold growth in food and fluids is a normal and common biological process. And some molds are quite tasty – like blue cheese, brie and gorgonzola. Unfortunately not all molds are tasty – or healthy. But luckily, swallowing a few sips or bites of a moldy item typically isn’t a big deal thanks to stomach acid, which is strong enough to kill most pathogens. Some may notice transient GI upset – nausea, cramping, and diarrhea - but most who’ve imbibed a moldy mélange will notice nothing. If you have a compromised immune system, however, and suffer unrelenting vomiting or diarrhea, worsening abdominal pain, tenderness of the abdomen, and fever and chills, a trip to the doctor or urgent care may be in order.

What to Do

Don’t sniff potentially mold-containing items (tasting them is probably bad enough). Some molds can trigger allergic reactions and respiratory problems. A few molds produce mycotoxins, which are poisonous substances. Seeing or tasting mold is sufficient confirmation. Also, with foods, don’t be tempted to perform fungal surgery. Mold roots can be hard to see, with roots (mycelium, or thread-like filaments) that run deep. Invisible bacteria may also be present. Throw out anything with mold growth, and carefully clean or dispose of containers.

Are Containers Worth Saving?

Higher-end materials are definitely worth a wash, while cheap or reusable plastic containers are probably more easily tossed and/or recycled. If an item requires replacement, consider surfaces less prone to microbial growth, such as stainless steel and glass.

How Do I Get Mold Out of a Water Bottle or Container?

If your’re wondering how to clean a moldy water bottle that was you’re kids favorite soccer memento, worry not, there are many mold cleaning methods…

  • Boiling water method.
    A great fix for metal bottles. Let sit several hours or overnight, then scrub vigorously with a bottle brush and soap.
  • Baking soda.
    This safe, mild disinfectant is perfect for moldy bottles. Add 1-2 teaspoons to warm water, soak a few hours, then wash.
  • White vinegar.
    Simple and safe, white vinegar has been shown to kill 82% of mold spores in studies. It works well with plastic bottles. Add straight and let sit overnight. Wash thoroughly in the morning and air dry.
  • Bleach & baking soda.
    Add 1 tsp baking soda and ½ teaspoon of bleach (it doesn’t take much!) to a small bowl, then soak bottle and parts within 4-6 hours. Wash and rinse thoroughly.
  • Denture cleaning tablets.
    These fizzy wonders work great on everything from foul foods to tub and toilet troubles.
  • Rice rub.
    No bottle brush?  Toss some rice, warm water, and dish soap in your bottle. Attach lid, cover, and shake grime away.
  • Pipe cleaner method (for bottles with reusable straws).
    Use with the cleaning method (above) of your choice.
  • Cotton swab method (for squirt/pull bottles).
    A cotton swab soaked in alcohol can help you reach mold growth in the tight spaces of water bottle lids.

Managing a moldy mess in your home? The experts at Rainbow International® are here to help you with your every fungal fight. Contact us today.  

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