Man sitting on rock drinking from lifestraw bottle

A LifeStraw is for life – literally and figuratively. It not only helps deliver safe drinking water to maintain your health, it also actually has an unlimited shelf life when you buy it.1

But once the LifeStraw has been used to filter water, there are some simple steps you should take to help it go the full distance.

Of course, we’re only talking about the device at the moment – the filters need to be changed over time, depending on their level of use and the device in question.

For example, the original LifeStraw membrane microfilter, and the ones you’ll find in the LifeStraw Go will last up to 4,000 litres of water, which might take 5 years1, whereas the LifeStraw Flex will filter up to 2,000 litres.1

How do you know it’s time for a new filter? Easy, water simply doesn’t flow through anymore. (But if you’ve been filtering quite muddy water, try ‘backwashing’ your filter – see below.)

To help keep your LifeStraw device and filter in good condition, there are a few things you can do.

Firstly, there are three important times when you should clean the product:

  • After use (not every drink, just at the end of your ‘outing’)
  • If it becomes clogged with debris and drinking becomes harder
  • Prior to long term storage

To clean the LifeStraw between uses, backwash the filter by blowing through the mouthpiece until all water and debris is cleared out. Then rinse and repeat.

If your LifeStraw becomes clogged, it’s usually because it’s either reaching the end of the filter life, it needs a good backwash or it hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned or optimally stored.2,3 Check out these instructions for long term storage.3

However, if there’s still life in the filter, you can resurrect it using coconut milk. That’s right. Coconut milk reactivates the filter and lubricates it. See full instructions here.

Before you store your LifeStraw device, follow these steps to help maintain functionality:3

  1. Remove carbon filter (if your particular device has one, otherwise ignore this step) and let it dry for 30 minutes before placing in a sealed Ziploc bag.
  2. For LifeStraw Go, Universal, Flex and Play, mix 1⁄4 teaspoon of household bleach with 2 cups of clean water and pour solution into bottle/flask, closing the lid when filled. Let stand for 5 minutes. Empty the bottle or container and rinse with new water, shaking the filter.
    For LifeStraw personal, close the bottom cap, open the top cap and pour solution in through the mouthpiece, closing top cap afterward. Let stand for 5 minutes. Open both caps and rinse under clean tap water for 1 minute.
  3. Immerse in Salt Solution. Fill the bottle/flask half-way with water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and dissolve. Place the filter – lid with mouthpiece closed or cap on and the microfilter membrane still attached – back onto the bottle and tighten.
    For your LifeStraw personal, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 2 cups of clean water, close the bottom cap, and pour solution into the top cap until full. Pour the remaining into a bottle or a Ziploc bag. Store the LifeStraw in the salt solution with both caps open.
  4. Store bottle or bag that contains the salt water in a cool dry place. If applicable, store carbon filter sealed in Ziploc bag separately in a cool, dry place.
  5. Resume Use. To use your LifeStraw® again, reinsert the carbon filter if applicable. Discard the salt solution and fill your bottle with regular source water. For your LifeStraw personal, blow any remaining solution out of the filter before filling with regular source water. Spit out first few sips as they may still taste salty. If storing longer than three months, replace the carbon filter prior to reuse.

In summary, your LifeStraw device will continue to protect you for many years to come, but you have to look after it – it’s a two-way relationship. And don’t forget about the new LifeStraw Go Tritan Renew options, where both the bottle and filters are made with 50% certified recycled content. So, you’re not just protecting yourself, you’re helping save the environment. Of course, all the LifeStraw products are better for the planet than single use water bottles. Join the LifeStraw family – a great way to commemorate #plasticfreejuly.

Happy Camping!