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Your Reusable Water Bottle Is Probably Crawling With Germs

Without them we'd likely be knee-deep in plastic waste, and very thirsty -- but did you know that the humble reusable water bottle has a dark and dirty side?

We're talking about germs.

Germs that can cause everything from skin infections to pneumonia to a case of the sh*ts. Literally.

Not so thirsty now, are you?

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Popping the cork

A team of Brazilian microbiologists made the gross discovery after swabbing the reusable bottles of 30 members of two local gyms. They also swabbed 30 new bottles that they purchased from a shop and tested them all for signs of bacterial contamination.

The results showed that none of the new bottles were contaminated, while 90 percent of the randomly selected bottles belonging to sweaty gym-goers were teeming with a variety of potentially harmful bacteria. Yuck.

Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus were the most prevalent types of bacteria found, both of which can make you pretty sick.

Sure, most E. coli strains are harmless, but some can cause serious food poisoning aka a day of pooping and vomiting.

S. aureus or Golden Staph is the culprit behind a range of illnesses, from minor skin infections, such as pimples and cellulitis, to life-threatening diseases such as pneumonia and toxic shock syndrome.

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Clean and green

The ew-factor of reusable water bottles doesn't mean we should burn them all and go back to the days of single-use water bottles -- that wouldn't be very environmentally-friendly now, would it?

Also, forking out for a bottle of Fiji water every day gets expensive, fast.

All you've got to do is give your reusable water bottle a nice clean. And no -- a quick swish under the tap doesn't cut it.

The study concluded that "the best way to avoid bacterial proliferation [is] daily washing with neutral soap in association with proper hand hygiene to prevent contamination."

The researchers also noted the role our hands play in transferring icky germs to our bottles, so it's a good idea to give your hands a wash while you're at it.

Feature image: Getty.