Water bottles — and other narrow-necked items like vases and pitchers — can be a pain to clean. Even though they don't get particularly dirty (See: You Probably Don't Clean This One Thing All That Often — And That's Okay!), over time you can get a filmy buildup on the inside and particles of I-don't-want-to-know-what wedged into the crevices along the mouth, lid, and any other attachments.
A sponge doesn't really cut it; you need a good bottle brush.
I discovered the best bottle brush sort of by accident. When I had my first baby, I was looking for a good brush for all the baby bottles and feeding stuff. After trying a few, I landed on the OXO Tot Bottle Brush. It's great because the brush part is just the right width and length for getting into any of my water bottles, and on a sturdy-enough wand that you can really scrub the insides. The all-around plastic bristles are firm but not too rough, so they really do clean, and the top is rounded to get all the way into the deepest corners of any container.
Buy: OXO Tot Bottle Brush, $7
The thing I like best about this brush is that the designers hid a teeny pipe cleaner-style brush inside the handle. Surprise! It's technically meant for bottle nipples, but the mini brush is perfect to get into the little crevices or to clean out straws and drinking spouts. It fits into the teeniest little air holes in my kids' water bottles, which can get mildew-y over time.
The reason this feature is especially cool is because in an earlier incarnation of the brush, this mini brush was a separate attachment, and in the last few years they updated the brush to make the pieces store together. I never found it too hard to have them separate, but having them together is so much better. I love it when these companies solve problems I didn't know I had!
Now we are way beyond the baby bottle stage, but I keep this brush on my countertop (in its handy base, naturally) to use for water bottles, cups, and anything else that can use a scrub. And I will say, I'm not the only one who loves this brush: More than 2,300 Amazon buyers also give it a positive review!
Most of the bottles we have in our house are fairly wide-mouthed (read: not S'well bottles!). If you have S'well bottles or similarly narrow-mouthed options, go for OXO's Water Bottle Cleaning Set, which is just as sturdy as the Tot Set, but small enough to fit into tinier bottle openings.
Buy: OXO's Water Bottle Cleaning Set, $10
Have you used this brush? Do you have a different favorite? Discuss in the comments below!