We are happy you asked! The best way to ensure a long product lifetime is proper maintenance. Follow these steps if you have already used the LifeStraw product and you plan to store your LifeStraw for greater than 1 month without use.
These steps prevent the membranes of our filters from drying out and/or becoming blocked over longer periods of non-use. Clogging can occur due to improper backwashing, cleaning and storage, trapped air bubbles, etc. If you experience blockage after your filters are stored for longer periods of time, you likely need to re-activate the hydrophilic properties of the membrane again or essentially lubricate the membrane so it easily pulls water through. Check out our notes on coconut milk and unclogging here!
For LifeStraw Personal, Go, Play, Flex, and Universal:
1. Remove Carbon Filter. Remove the carbon filter, let dry 30 minutes and place in a sealed zip bag (if your LifeStraw Go is the single-stage version – e.g. it does not have a carbon filter, or you are storing your LifeStraw personal – you can skip this step).
2. Disinfect. Mix ¼ teaspoon of household bleach with 2 cups of clean water and pour solution in product (or large container if using LifeStraw Universal), closing the lid when filled. For LifeStraw personal, close the bottom of the cap and open the top lid to pour solution in through the mouthpiece, closing cap afterward. Let stand for 5 minutes. Empty the bottle or container and rinse with new water, shaking the filter. For LifeStraw personal, open both caps and rinse under clean tap water for 1 minute.
3. Immerse in Salt Solution. Fill the bottle or container half-way with water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and dissolve. Place the lid with mouthpiece closed and the microfilter membrane still attached back onto the bottle and screw it on.
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 Place the remaining water and pour into a bottle or a resealable bag. Store the LifeStraw in the salt solution with both caps open.
4. Store. Store bottle or bag that contains the salt water in a cool dry place. If applicable, store carbon filter sealed in 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.
Note: We recommend storing the bottle with a salt/saline solution because it helps to prevent any mold or algae from growing during long-term storage while also keeping the membrane microfilter wet which ensures a good flow rate when resuming use. When the membrane becomes completely dried out, it can be difficult to get the product flowing again.
If you have any additional questions about storage and maintenance for your LifeStraw, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org