A recent inquiry from 'PeggyB' asked, "I want to test some water but don't know what kit to buy.......we have a 2 gallon container for water......my husband buys water for stores to refill that 2 gallon container......I tell him to rinse out the container before putting new water in it......he won't do to get a water tester to check the water.....if he sees for himself.....maybe he will rinse out the container.....thank you for your time..."

Thank you for your inquiry, Peggy, and we can certainly understand your concerns.

Regarding not rinsing the container out, each time the container gets exposed to air (when it is opened for initial use and/or refilling) bacteria has the opportunity to get into the container. Assuming the water refilling the container contains no form of disinfectant (i.e. chlorine or ozone), that makes the container a great breeding ground for bacteria.

More than testing, we suggest cleaning the container at the very least every couple of fillings. Think of it this way: If you had a water service deliver containers to your home each week and take away the old ones, would they not clean the containers in some way before refilling them and sending them on to the next customer?  We definitely hope so!

As far as a test, though, we could suggest the coliform bacteria test, but that test takes 48 hours and it may not provide the sort of conclusive 'proof' that your husband may require.  Plus it detects only a certain type of bacteria that we would HOPE did not find its way into your water jug.

Honestly, we really think cleaning the containers, or rinsing them w/ a low concentration of bleach water sounds like a wise plan between uses. Obviously you will want to rinse w/ non-bleach water afterward to get any traces of chlorine disinfectant out of the container.

Testing to make sure all chlorine is gone?

After rinsing the containers w/ bleach water you will probably want to check to make certain all chlorine has gotten rinsed out of the containers before refilling (note: some people would, and could, logically argue that a little bit of chlorine left in the containers after rinsing may help to stave off bacterial growth... at the expense of a slight chlorine taste in the water).

Should you not want a chlorine taste in the water, testing for total chlorine makes sense.  Definitely pour a sample out of the container and do not attempt to test the full body of water in the container.  Good products for performing such testing include:

At the end of the day, Peggy, not washing the containers out every once in a while makes little sense in our minds.  We hope you can convince your husband to change his ways before someone possibly gets sick!

SenSafe Free Chlorine Water Check (0 - 6ppm)
SenSafe Free Chlorine Water Check
Detects 0 - 6 ppm
SenSafe Total Chlorine Test Strips (0 - 10ppm)
SenSafe Total Chlorine Test Strips
Detect 0 - 10ppm
WaterWorks 2 Free & Total Chlorine
WaterWorks 2
Free & Total Chlorine Test Strips