5 Best Alternatives to Camelbak Cleaning Tablets

There are a variety of ways to clean your Camelbak liquid reservoir. There are several commercially sold tablets on the market but there are other alternatives that work just as well at cleaning Camelbaks.

Luckily, there are several homemade solutions that are cheaper and can be utilized as a replacement for retail tablets.

Camelbak Cleaning Tablet Alternative

Non-Branded Tablets

Certain hydration systems will try their best to convince you that only their branded cleaning tablets will work on their product. Any deviation from their line of products will leave you destined for mold and bacteria growth, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Many generic sterilization tablets will work just fine as long as they are considered safe for use in an eating/drinking device.

Baby Product Tablets

There are a lot of products targeted towards mothers and medical professionals for baby safety. These include tablets that are dissolved in bottles to sterilize them. Just because they’re marketed for infants doesn’t mean that they stop working for adults.

Consulting with some experienced bikers will reveal just how popular baby bottle tablets are for sterilizing Camelbak reservoirs.

These are often very cheap compared to the Camelbak branded alternatives, and they work just as well. They are very easy to procure as baby bottle tablets can be found in any pharmacy or general grocery store.

New parents don’t even have to worry about buying separate tablets, as they can just share with their newborn, and you know this option is safe for human ingestion in trace amounts!

Denture Tablets

Another clever workaround in the hiking/biking/running community, tablets that dentures are left to soak in for sterilization purposes also work with a liquid reservoir. These are again very cheap compared to the official Camelbak sterilization tablets, but users will want to be careful.

Denture tablets are often flavored, so you should be careful to purchase non flavored tablets.

If you’re feeling brave, you can experiment with different flavors, but make sure that you like the taste of mint-flavored water before you set out on your next excursion. Despite this potential wrinkle, denture tablets work just as well as any of the more expensive sterilization tablets.

Cleaning Camelbak in Dishwasher

Homemade Options

Some users skip commercial options entirely and use common household products found around their homes to sterilize their liquid reservoirs. While you will have to exercise a bit more care because the portions are not measured out for you. Nonetheless, they are a perfectly safe alternative.


A mixture of 1 part white vinegar to 10 parts hot water is a viable way to sterilize your Camelbak. Simply mix the solution around in your reservoir for approximately 5 minutes and drain your reservoir.

One should always drain their reservoir through the drinking tube so that portion of your hydration system is cleaned as well.

Rinse your Camelbak a few more times with clean water (unless you like the taste of vinegar) and allow your system to air dry.

Baking Soda

The baking soda method is very similar to vinegar, but you’ll instead want to add two tablespoons of baking soda to roughly two cups of hot water. After another vigorous mixing of 5 minutes baking soda can clean your reservoir even more thoroughly.

Simply allow the reservoir to sit for up to an hour if your Camelbak needs a deep cleaning.

Again, rinse your reservoir with clean water and allow it to air dry.


Most CamelBak products are dishwasher safe, but you should double check before going through with this cleaning option.

If it’s safe to do so, place the hydration bladder or other gear on the top shelf of your dishwasher, and run it through like normal.

Recommended FAQs

Can You Use Denture Tablets To Clean Camelbak?

Denture tablets are safe to use in CamelBak products as long as the cleaning procedure is followed correctly. Be sure to leave them in for the required amount before thoroughly rinsing out your gear.

Does Storing My Camelbak Reservoir in the Freezer Clean It?

Some users swear by keeping their Camelbak in the freezer rather than cleaning it with any of the previously mentioned products or recipes. While storing your empty hydration reservoir in the freezer will slow bacteria growth, it will not actually sterilize the bladder.

Camelbak’s don’t need constant cleaning but keeping it in your freezer is not a long-term solution.

The occasional cleaning of your Camelbak and subsequently storing it in your freezer is a great combination. This will keep your water tasting clean and fresh for years to come.

Will Iodine Tablets Ruin My Camelbak?

Iodine is a very old and reliable method for cleaning water found in the wild to avoid waterborne diseases. Not only can these precautions keep your trip from being ruined, but they might just save your life. Despite this, some worry that putting iodine tablets in their Camelbak reservoir might damage it.

This likely comes from the fact that iodine will cause discoloration in your reservoir, anything from a slightly yellow to a purple tint. Camelbak users can rest assured that this is in no way damaging to their hydration bladders.

Users report no difference in taste or smell, just the aesthetic difference in color, but this is a small price to pay for ensuring that your water is safe to drink.

Camelbak users may be cautious about using anything to clean their hydration systems other than the branded cleaning tablets, but there are plenty of cheaper options. Everything from denture tablets to white vinegar can ensure that your water is clean and keeps you on the go.


If you’re looking for alternative methods for cleaning your Camelbak, the two best options are non-branded tablets and homemade remedies. You can try using vinegar, baking soda, denture tablets as well as many other unique ideas.

Pick and choose your favorite cleaning method above and come away with a clean and ready to use Camelbak!