How To Clean Camelback

Learn how to clean a Camelback and keep your favorite hydration unit from looking like a science experiment. Though Camelback hydration units make it easy to carry water while hiking, biking and skiing, the plastic water bladders can trap bacteria and provide the perfect environment for growing mold. Regularly cleaning your Camelback will keep your water good tasting and healthy.

You'll need:

  • Water
  • Bleach
  • Bottle brush
  • Soft cloth
  • Tube brush
  • Drying frame or coat hanger
  1. Remove the Camelback bladder from the pack. This will allow you to clean the Camelback thoroughly.
  2. Remove or open the cap and disconnect the tubing.
  3. Run clear water through the tubing. Fill the bladder with water and allow it to drain completely.
  4. Mix a solution of one teaspoon bleach to one gallon of water. Fill the bladder with this solution. Let soak for five minutes. This solution will help clean the Camelback by killed any bacteria and mold.
  5. Clean the inside of the bladder with the bottle brush. For stubborn stains, wrap a cloth around the brush and scrub at the stained spot.
  6. Run the tube brush through the Camelback tubing.  This brush is small enough to clean the Camelback tubing.
  7.  Rinse the bladder and tubing several times with clean, cool water. This will eliminate the taste of bleach.
  8. Hang the Camelback bladder to dry. Use a Camelback drying frame or insert a coat hanger bent into a diamond shape in the bladder to hold the bladder open. This allow air to circulate.
  9. Hang the tubing and allow it to dry.
  10. Re-assemble the bladder and tubing when it's completely dry. Insert the Camelback bladder and tubing into the pack. Clean your Camelback after each outing or weekly.


  • Instead of bleach, you can use a special sanitizing solution sold by Camelback.


  • Allow the bladder to dry completely before re-inserting it in the pack. Any moisture will encourage the growth of mold and bacteria.  
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