How Does a Self Cleaning Dispenser Work?

Self-cleaning water dispensers are becoming more popular by the day, probably because they are the easiest to maintain.

Remember that it’s pretty important for you to keep your water dispenser at all times. What’s the point of adding clean bottled water to a dirty dispenser?

This post will help you learn more about a self-cleaning water dispenser, what it is, how it works, what will happen if you don’t clean it, and more.

What is a Self-Cleaning Water Dispenser?

A self-cleaning water dispenser includes a self-cleaning feature that takes care of the inner tanks and tubing of the unit. With this unit, you don’t have to clean the internal parts with a cleaning solution.

All you need to do is press the self-cleaning button to sanitize the inner parts.

Does this mean that you don’t have to clean the dispenser? Not at all. You still have the outer parts to deal with.

How Does a Self Cleaning Dispenser Work?

Different self-cleaning water dispensers work in different ways: some self-clean using ozone, others with UV light, and others using hot water.

Ozone Self-Cleaning Method

Ozone is a self-occurring tasteless and odorless gas. It is used as a powerful disinfectant and works more effectively than chlorine.

The self-cleaning ozone feature sanitizes your dispenser to prevent the accumulation of germs and bacteria in the unit.

This is how it works:

  • Three oxygen molecules create ozone. It is generated internally and injected through the dispenser’s inner tanks and tubing.
  • The ozone targets bacteria and viruses. It releases oxygen to weaken the organisms’ cell walls.
  • After disrupting the organism’s structure, it is oxidized and killed. The 2 remaining molecules, O2 (oxygen), are released free of harmful chemical residues.

Hot Water Self-Cleaning Technology

According to the oldest cleaning principles, hot water disinfects almost everything. In fact, this technology is used in dishwashers, washing machines, and industrial applications, among others.

The technology generates in the hot water tank.

When it comes to a water dispenser, this is what happens: A microprocessor controls a solenoid that releases hot water into the unit. During the process, the cold system is turned off to allow for disinfection.

The water dispenser increases the temperature (just a little bit below boiling). The water is kept at this temperature for a few hours to allow viruses and bacteria to die.

And just like ozone, the hot water travels throughout the dispenser, getting into every part exposed to the water.

After the process, the technology closes the solenoid valve. Your water dispenser is now clean and ready to start working again.

UV-Light Self-Cleaning Method

UV light is highly effective at destroying bacteria. In fact, it’s the best method of killing the most stubborn microorganism present in your water. It does this by destroying their DNA, leading to their demise.

However, this method is not used in many water coolers nowadays. Reason? UV light can only kill bacteria that come close to the UV bulb.

If the unit has many hidden areas, the bacteria hidden in these areas won’t be affected at all by the UV light.

What Happens if You Don’t Clean Your Water Dispenser?

If you don’t clean your water dispenser, you are just exposing yourself to the dangers of drinking contaminated water. Remember that adding clean water to a dirty dispenser makes no sense. It just won’t work.

Bacteria will continue to develop and populate your water. Additionally, cleaning the interior parts is not enough; you have to disinfect the outer parts if looking forward to enjoying clean, safe, and healthy water.

How Often Should You Clean Your Self-Cleaning Water Dispenser?

No matter the model, all water dispensers require regular cleaning. Even self-cleaning units require regular maintenance to remove mineral deposits and prevent bacteria build-up.

The exterior also requires regular cleaning to remove any bacteria on the controls and fingerprints. Maintenance of these models is pretty simple and should only take a few minutes.

How to Keep Your Water Dispenser Clean Longer

After removing the empty bottle from your dispenser, clean the outer parts using a vinegar-water solution in the following steps:

  • Wipe the dispensing lever and the surrounding parts
  • Before placing the new water bottle on the unit, wipe off its neck, shoulder, and opening.
  • Drain and wipe the drip tray weekly to keep it clean and free of bacteria and mold.

Is a Self-Cleaning Water Dispenser Worth it?

The self-cleaning feature in a self-cleaning water dispenser ensures that your appliance is always clean. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about your water quality.

From a clean water dispenser comes clean, safe, and healthy water for drinking.

So, yes, a self-cleaning water dispenser is worth investing in, especially for busy homes and offices. It makes cleaning the unit easier, and you won’t have to worry about the condition of your water.


A self-cleaning water dispenser is one of the easiest dispenser models to maintain. All you need to do is press the self-cleaning feature to sanitize the tanks and water lines.

A self-cleaning unit will make a perfect companion if you are always busy working. Cleaning it will take only a few minutes, and you can focus on other important tasks.

When you buy something through our affiliate links, we earn a commission without you having to pay extra.