You must be aware of the fact that cleaning of machinery or any appliance is important to increase its shelf life. Cleaning ensures that your machine works the way it should work. Take any example, your washing machine, your air conditioner, your desktop or laptop, your car, your bike, etc. They all need servicing and cleaning otherwise, they would stop functioning and their efficiency would deteriorate day by day then, one day it would only be a piece of junk for you. Since these types of machinery are expensive and you spend a handsome of your salary on it just because to get comfort, you are supposed to take proper care of them. Imagine spending a huge amount of money and your machine or appliance not working the way it should. You will definitely feel the pinch. So, to avoid it what you need to do is, having the required servicing and cleaning done at regular intervals. Among the various machinery and appliances, one is a water dispenser. Imagine, having bought a kitchen water dispenser for yourself but not getting it cleaned or serviced when required. What will happen? Slowly it will stop functioning properly and all your money spent on buying it will go in vain.
What is a Water Dispenser?
Water is an essential resource and wherever you are you need it to quench your thirst, be it your office, your home, or you going for a picnic you do need water. Also, some people prefer hot to cold water while others prefer vice-versa. A water dispenser is a machine installed through plumbing it into the existing water supply pipe to serve the needs of people. A water dispenser can give both hot and cold water. There is a faucet and a lever on the outside of the machine, below which you can keep your glass or water bottle and fill it up by pushing the lever or the button (as the case may be). It has an in-built refrigeration system installed on the inside that helps you giving ice-cold water (if it’s a cooling water dispenser). It has other features also such as heating or filtration of water. As per the requirement, it can be bought. Depending on the model, the water temperature has different ranges as mentioned below –
- Cold – The default setting for cold water is at 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Ambient – It is the room temperature.
- Hot – The default setting for hot is 189 degrees Fahrenheit but there can be other options also such as 167 degrees Fahrenheit or 199.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Extra hot – The default setting for extra hot is 203 degrees Fahrenheit or 176 degrees Fahrenheit and 189 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cleaning Your Water Dispenser
Even a top water dispenser needs to be cleaned and there are many ways to do that. Fortunately, there is not much of any professional help required to clean your water dispenser. Also, you do not need to have any harsh chemicals at your place to perform the task, very basic things are required to do it and you usually have it at your place. Since water dispensers are of many types, here is an example out of many to let you know, how you can clean them:
A Fridge door water dispenser
Suppose you have a fridge door water dispenser to clean, how would you do it? It should take around 1-2 hours to clean it. Usually, it is easy to clean but it could become a trouble if you live in an area with poor quality of water. Poor quality of the water here means if the water has a large amount of calcium content it. It can slow down the process of cooling and will also adversely affect the flow of water to and from your water dispenser. This is because calcium collects and sticks to the water pipe which gives less space for the water to flow. What you can do to dissolve the collected calcium? You can try flushing your water cooling system with distilled vinegar it should help in dissolving the calcium. Also, vinegar has disinfectant properties so you would get clean and disinfected water. You can follow the following steps for cleaning your water dispenser:-
- Step 1: Turn off the water supply. Take a funnel to pour a few droplets of distilled vinegar. If you feel the amount of calcium collected is large then you might need to pour in three to four cups of vinegar. Make sure the vinegar goes into the pipeline well and does not spill out. In case your fridge also has an ice-cube maker, you might turn it on so that the vinegar you are pouring goes in this as well and this system of your refrigerator also gets cleaned up. You may now open the tap to flush out the vinegar. After this is done, you can take a bottle brush or toothbrush to clean the tap or faucet from inside and around.
- Step 2: Making sure that all of the vinegar is out is important. So flush it out turning the water supply on, till the time you see no vinegar coming out of the machinery. To detect, you can take out a glass of water from the dispenser and smell for the vinegar. The moment you smell no traces of vinegar, take a sip of water to be sure that it is out of the system completely. Also, let the first two lots of ice cubes be thrown away because they also will be having a taste of vinegar.
Apart from vinegar, there are many other ways with which you can clean your fridge water dispenser such as, bleach but vinegar is the most economical and easiest method that you can go for. Once your fridge water dispenser is clean, it is advisable to change your water filter. The water filter needs to be changed from time to time as it does the main job of filtering the water you drink! So, to keep drinking safe and clean water, you should change the water filter around every six months. It shall ensure all the germs and bacteria are out you are drinking disinfected water. This becomes more important if you have patients with diseases related to kidney or liver, if there are infants and babies at your place, or if there are senior citizens in your family. Since their immunity systems are not as strong as people in the working-age group, they are prone to getting ill, and thus, they need to be taken better care of.
Using Bleach as Disinfectant
As mentioned above you can use bleach in place of vinegar for cleaning your water dispenser. To use it, take one tablespoon of bleach and mix it with one gallon of water. Though it will be a mild solution, you need to be careful when stirring it so that you do not spill it out.
Tip – It is advisable to wear old clothes so that even if you spill the bleach solution on your clothes it does not get ruined.
- Make sure you keep both solutions whether a vinegar one or bleach one, out of reach of children and pets (if any at your place). The solution can be injurious to them.
- Be careful when handling the solutions and wear gloves along with a breathing mask to protect your skin and to not have a problem in breathing.
Cleaning a Top-Loading Water Dispenser
Another type of kitchen water dispenser is the top-loading one. These types of water dispensers have a valve that seals the water bottle to the machine. The best time to clean them is when the bottle is empty and needs replacement. The steps to clean them are as follows:-
- Step 1:- First, you need to unplug the water dispenser. Doing this you should be careful because a combination of water and electricity can get you an electric shock. Do wear your slippers.
- Step 2:– Now, you need to remove the water bottle. After this, use a clean sponge to clean the area where the bottle exactly meets the dispenser. A mild solution shall be enough to clean it properly. Also, be mindful of the timing. Do not leave the solution for long, it will damage the surface. Stubborn stains can be done away with a paste of water and baking soda.
- Step 3:– Now, you need to clean the water guard. It is not necessary for all water dispensers to have a water guard but if you have one, remove it and rinse it under a tap well. After this clean the drip guard too.
- Step 4:– This step involves cleaning the tank. For this, you can use the remaining solution to clean the tank properly inside out. After cleaning with the solution, rinse the tank well with fresh water. You might need to do this three to four times to completely drain the solution off from the tank.
- Step 5:– You need to put the water guard in place now. Whatever parts you removed, need to be put in place back.
- Step 6:– Now you can plug-in the water dispenser and check if it is working properly or not.
Cleaning a Bottom-Loading Water Dispenser
A top water dispenser might be a bottom-loading one. If it is in your case and you are worried about cleaning it then, read the following steps, they will be helpful:-
- Step 1:- Unplugging your water dispenser is the first thing you need to do.
- Step 2:- Now, remove the bottle and use any disinfectant of your choice to clean it. You might need a brush to clean so have one with you.
- Step 3:- After the bottle has been cleaned thoroughly, install the bottle back. Then, run the water inside the tank and make sure the solution flushes out completely.
- Step 4:- Now refill the bottle with fresh water. Keep repeating the process of filling and flushing out till you see traces of vinegar or bleach. Only drink water from your dispenser when you are sure that it is clean and there is no solution left anywhere inside the machine.
- Step 5:- Plug-in the dispenser back.
What Can Contaminate Your Water Dispenser?
Here are a few examples of the bacteria as proved by the researches that are present in a contaminated water dispenser:-
- Ralstonia spp and Pseudomonas aeruginosa – They can grow in cold water dispensers. While the former can cause infections related to the urinary tract, the latter is dangerous for people whose immunity system is weak.
- Fecal coliform and Streptococci – These are also present in unclean water dispensers and studies have shown that unclean water dispensers or water coolers are more prone to getting contaminated than tap water.