No one wants to find that their trusty reusable water bottle might contain moldy growth after sitting in the car for a day or two. But one woman took to TikTok to share a warning about what might be hiding in the water at your favorite fast-food joint. The TikToker, who goes by Brynniethepooh, said her water bottle in the car grew mold spores after a week.
If you're as grossed out as I am, you may be wondering what could have caused the moldy spores to form in Brynniethepooh's one-gallon water jug! Could the restaurant chain have been to blame, or is there another cause? Keep reading to find out what she discovered.
A woman who left her water bottle in the car claims it grew mold "spores."
From the first seconds of the TikTok video, Brynniethepooh is clearly agitated. She begins by saying that, essentially, she never wants to use a touch-screen drink kiosk from a fast-food restaurant "ever again." One day she was having car issues and went into what she originally said was an Arby's restaurant (later, she corrected herself to say it was a Wendy's) to fill up her water bottle.
She then holds up her gallon jug somewhat dramatically and says, "This has been sitting in my car for about a week." Disgustedly, she holds up the bottom of the jug for viewers to see the blackish blobs floating inside, noting, "I don't know what is in there, they're like spores."
Further in the video, Brynniethepooh requests information from someone on TikTok who might know science because she doesn't understand how this happened. It's clear from the video that she doesn't know the cause because she says, "I don't know if it's from the machine, I don't know if it's from sitting in the heat, but I ain't never seen water do that."
Here's what TikTok commenters had to say about soda fountains.
Some commenters said their restaurants followed code, like this one: "At my Panera we wash our drink knobs every night and scrub the machine about every week." Another claimed it was futile to get rid of mold inside the machines: "Every soda machine. I worked at Jack in the Box and I would clean them daily but the mold goes up inside the machines. Changing nozzles doesn't help."
Others were rightfully disgusted. One wrote, "These comments are making me want to NEVER drink from a fast food place again."
Can mold grow in water bottles?
This TikTok raises the question of whether or not mold can grow inside the water bottles you keep in your house, backpack, or car. Well, according to Mold Busters, a mold removal and air quality testing service in Canada, the short answer is yes, mold can grow in water.
Mold Busters explains that mold needs water or moisture, a food source, and a calm environment in which to grow. That means for the water in Brynniethepooh's jug to grow those gross dark blobs, it needed to have nutrients (like sugar from sodas in the same machine) to begin with. In addition, her water jug had to sit still in her car for a long time for the mold to grow, which may have happened.
Wendy's might not be to blame, but beverage machines in fast-food restaurants can contain mold, E. coli, and even insects, according to Delish. Even though manufacturers typically say soda fountains and nozzles should be cleaned daily, it's easy to imagine understaffed chains letting that task slide from time to time.
Brynniethepooh suggested that leaving her water bottle in the hot car could have been an issue, too. As Water Defense notes, you should not drink water after a bottle is opened and left in a hot space like your car due to the risk of bacteria growth.