While some people use a hot water bottle during the winter to keep warm, others use them in the summer to keep cool or all year round to alleviate aches and pains.
If you are using a hot water bottle during a specific season, you'll probably end up storing it until you use it again. Many users don't take the time to read instructions on how to properly store a hot water bottle (who has time for that anyway?).
We took the time and share how to store a hot water bottle safely based on instructions given by Dunelm, the UK's market leader in homewares, Product Safety Australia, and our own experience.
Where should you store your hot water bottle?
Your hot water bottle should be stored in a dark and dry place, such as a kitchen drawer or a cupboard. In addition, the hot water bottle itself needs to be totally dry and have its stopper removed during the storage period.
A hot water bottle is thus best-stored hanging upside down in a dry closet for example. Not storing your hot water bottle properly can damage the material both on the inside and the outside, making it less resistant and thus dangerous to use. The material usually gets damaged in environments where the levels of temperature and humidity change on a regular basis.
Why you should store your hot water bottle properly
Not storing hot water bottles the right way can have dangerous consequences for the next use. Indeed, storing your hot water bottle in environments where temperature and humidity levels change may lead the material to degrade and tear over time.
Having a hot water bottle with degraded material and tears is dangerous are it is more prone to leaks and bursts, which can cause burns and serious injuries.
We thus strongly recommend you follow the steps outlined below to ensure the safe use of your hot water bottle after taking it out of storage.
3 Steps to safely store hot water bottles
The following instructions are based on the recommendations of Product Safety Australia, Dunelm (a hot water bottle retailer), and our own experience.
1. Remove the stopper
The first step to safely storing your hot water bottle is removing the cap, known as the "stopper" in hot water bottle lingo.
By unscrewing the stopper, you ensure air can flow through your bottle while you are not using it. If you leave the stopper on and the bottle is still moist inside, this might damage your bottle.
2. Hang your hot water bottle upside down
Ever notice the small hole at the bottom of your hot water bottle? This is to hang it and store it. Hanging your hot water bottle upside down will enable water to completely exit the bottle over time, keeping it dry.
In addition, hanging your hot water bottle upside down will also allow air to flow in and out, avoiding rotting and fungus building up.
3. Place your hot water bottle in a dark and dry place
This is a crucial step in storing your hot water bottle. Leaving your hot water bottle in direct sunlight (close to a window for example) may lead it to degrade over time. Leaving it in a moist place may have the same effects.
Place you should avoid storing your hot water bottle:
In direct sunlight
On a shelve in a humid cellar
In your bathroom hanging next to your towel, in your shower, or on the heating
Where you can store your hot water bottle:
Hanging in your closet
On a closet shelve
In a kitchen drawer
In a cabinet or drawer in your bathroom
2 steps before reusing your hot water bottle after storage
If your hot water bottle has been stored for a long time, there are a few things you need to ensure before using it again.
1. Check the expiration date
To check your hot water bottle's expiration date, check when it was manufactured. You can easily do this by referring to the daisy wheel on your hot water bottle's body. See you how to read the daisy wheel using the image below.
In most cases, your hot water bottle manufacturer will also mention the maximum number of years you can use your hot water bottle. Cross-check if the hot water bottle has expired or if it's still suitable for use.
What to do if it has expired
If the hot water bottle has expired, it is no longer safe to use with hot water. The material could be too old to resist the heat and could tear or even lead the hot water bottle to burst, burning you.
However, if the expired hot water bottle has no cracks, you can still use it as a cold water bottle in the summer. Some individuals freeze their hot water bottles to keep cool in high temperatures. In sum, even if your hot water bottle expires, you don't necessarily have to dispose of it.
2. Check if there are any leaks
If your hot water bottle hasn't expired and has been stored properly, you can still make use of it. However, if you stored it for a long time, check it's safe for use before filling it with hot water.
a) Fill it with cold water over your sink
b) Use the cap/stopper to seal it as you usually would
c) Squeeze it thoroughly to check if there are any leaks
Hot water bottles can be great companions all year round. To those who use them only during certain seasons and store them for longer periods, make sure you follow the steps above to ensure a safe use the following season.
Hot water bottles are robust and built to last up to 5 years in some cases. However, you should bear in mind that they need to be used correctly to last a long time and be safe for use.