Camelbak bite valves are interesting and useful contraptions.
They are really convenient if you are camping, hiking, or doing anything else that involves the outdoors. Providing hydration is probably the most common use of a camelbak bite valve.
When you are out camping or hiking, have a giant backpack on, and don’t want to go into your backpack for a drink, you can rely on your bite valve to provide all the hydration that you need.
As convenient as they are, camelbak bite valves can get dirty. While many choose to ignore it, cleaning a camelbak valve is necessary if you want it to last a long time.
The Importance of Cleaning Your Camelbak Bite Valve
It is a common misconception that the only thing that a camelbak bite valve comes in contact with is water. Along with water, it will come in contact with your saliva. This is what happens when you bite on the mouthpiece and drink out of it.
This is why the mouthpiece needs to be cleaned.
Water can create residue just as much as any other liquid can. This gets funneled through the tubing of the camelbak bite valve and residue can form on the sides of the tubing.
That is why the tubing should be cleaned. Residue can also form on the corners of the hydration pack of your camelbak valve, so it needs to be cleaned as well.
How do Camelbak Bite Valves Get Dirty?
Although a camelbak bite valve is nothing more than a mouthpiece that is connected to a tube and a hydration pack, residue can and does build up on each of these and letting this residue build up can reduce the effectiveness of the bite valve.
Mouthpieces should be cleaned regularly because it obviously comes in contact with your mouth, which contains germs that can make its way through the tube and even into the hydration pack.
The tube of the camelbak bite valve can contain standing water if it hasn’t been cleaned in a while. Bacteria can develop on the inside of the tube and this can be harmful if it is ingested.
It’s the same with the hydration pack. Reservoirs like this can also contain standing water which can also ferment. This is especially true if a small amount of water is kept in the hydration reservoir.
This is because water is organic. Organic substances need to feed off of something. A small body of water will ferment faster because it will feed off its surroundings.
It is not recommended to leave any water in your hydration pack for long periods. But if you absolutely have to, leave a decent amount of water.inside of it. It will take a little longer for it to ferment.
Now you know how all three main parts of a camelbak bite valve get dirty.
There are also specific things that you can do to clean each part and there are also certain frequencies as to when they should be cleaned.
Cleaning the Mouthpiece
You will need to clean the mouthpiece of your camelbak bite valve regularly. Whenever you are finished using your camelbak bite valve, you will need to clean the mouthpiece.
Fortunately, cleaning the mouthpiece is fairly easy.
All you really need to do to clean it is remove the mouthpiece from the tube, soak it in hot water and some dish detergent, then let it dry.
If you think it is absolutely necessary, you can even wipe the inside of the mouthpiece with a Q-tip after soaking it in your hot water and dish detergent. But usually soaking it in hot water and dish detergent is enough.
Cleaning the Tubing
The tubing of your camelbak bite valve is probably the most complicated part of it to clean, but it doesn’t need to be cleaned as frequently as the mouthpiece does. It does need to be cleaned a little more than the hydration pack does, however.
Cleaning the tubing of your camelbak bite valve will require you to remove it from the hydration pack as well as the mouthpiece.
When doing this, take care not to lose any parts that might have been keeping the tubing and the hydration pack together. If you lose these parts, you will need to replace them.
You can use the same thing to clean the tubing as you did the mouthpiece, hot water and dish detergent. Bleach is also an option if it has been a long time since the tubing has been cleaned but this should only be seen as a last resort.
Most of the time you will be able to use just hot water and dishwashing detergent.
Set apart a decent amount of time to clean the tubing of your camelbak bite valve. As mentioned earlier, it is the most complicated part of the camelbak bite valve to clean.
The first thing you need to do here is have a funnel handy. You are going to use this to send your hot water and dish detergent cleaning solution down the tubing manually.
Do this as many times as you think you need to and make sure the water and dish detergent you are funneling through the tubing is extremely hot. This will remove all of the residue that is along the sides of the tube.
After doing this, run hot water through the tubing. This will ensure that all of the cleaning solution is flushed out.
Again, this will take a long time but it is necessary if you want your camelbak bite valve to last a long time without residue growing along the sides of this tubing.
Cleaning the Hydration Pack
You don’t really need to clean the hydration pack of your camelbak valve as much as the mouthpiece or the tubing. This is because the only thing it really does is hold water, and although residue will form over time, it really doesn’t form too frequently.
You only need to clean the hydration pack every two weeks or so.
Cleaning the hydration pack is very simple. Just fill it with hot water and dish detergent, wipe down the corners with a cloth, then rinse out the rest of the water. Wipe everything dry after finishing this.
Don’t forget to disconnect the tubing of your camelbak when doing this. You will not need to remove the mouthpiece, however.
You’re going to want a reliable camelbak bite valve if you do a lot of outdoor activities such as camping or hiking. If you do not have one, prepare to waste a lot of time stopping to hydrate no matter what kinds of outdoor activities you are doing.
Unless you really want to replace your camelbak bite valve all the time, you’ll want to clean it somewhat regularly. Make sure you clean the mouthpiece every time you use it. If you don’t, it could contaminate the rest of the bite valve.
The tubing of your camelbak bite valve should be cleaned somewhat regularly, probably after every four or so uses. Removing the residue from this tubing might take some time.
Don’t forget to clean around the hydration tank of your camelbak bite valve as well. Residue can also develop here. This is what you need to do to ensure that you can keep enjoying your camelbak bite valve for as long as you can.