Salt and limes: How to Clean Your Brio Top Load Bottled Water Dispenser

How to Clean Your Brio Top-Load Water Dispenser

Even if your Brio top-load dispenser is a self-cleaning unit, you’ll still need to give it a good cleaning every few months. UV light and ozone are great at tackling bacterial buildup, but they’re not as effective against scale, which can damage dispenser components and inhibit water flow.

It’s generally a good idea to clean your cooler every 3 to 4 months. Pick a time when your current bottle is empty but before you load a new one. We recommend using citric acid crystals. They're completely safe and extremely effective at dissolving mineral buildup and removing any lingering biofilm.

Start by gathering the following supplies: 

  • 200g (approx. 1.5 cups) citric acid crystals
  • Hot water, as needed
  • Large bucket or empty 5-gallon bottle (or both if you have them)
  • Container or cup
  • Clean dry cloth

1. Turn the hot and cold water switches to the OFF position, and unplug the dispenser.

2. Remove the empty water bottle, then move the dispenser away from the wall so you can access the back.

3. Drain whatever water remains in the reservoirs by pressing all dispense buttons at once to empty the water into the container.

4. Pour the citric acid crystals, followed by 2 gallons of hot water, into the bucket or empty bottle. Stir or agitate the solution until combined.

5. Remove the bottle support collar (1) from the top of the dispenser, followed by the white separator (2) that covers the cold water reservoir. The separator can be a little tricky to remove. Try inserting your finger down the center hole before rotating it a bit to maneuver it out.

Bottle collar and separator being removed from water dispenser


6. Dampen the clean cloth with some of the citric acid solution and wipe the bottle support collar and separator clean. Then rinse them off with fresh hot tap water. Set them aside to air-dry.

7. Now pour the rest of the solution into the empty cold water reservoir. (The solution will drain down into the hot water reservoir.) Be sure the cold water reservoir is filled to the top. If necessary, prepare more solution. Let the solution sit in the reservoirs for 20 minutes.

8. After 20 minutes, drain the reservoirs as described in step 3. Draining the solution through the dispense spigots will flush them out.

9. Rinse out the bucket or bottle with fresh water to remove any remaining solution, then fill with 2 gallons of fresh hot tap water and refill the reservoirs as described in step 7.

10. Place the empty bucket or bottle at the back of the dispenser beneath the drain. Remove the drain plug and let the rinse water drain out. Simultaneously, press the buttons to dispense water and rinse out the spigots. Once the reservoirs are empty, replace the drain plug.

Draining water from back of water cooler

11. Reinstall the separator and bottle support collar, and return the dispenser to its location. Install a fresh bottle of water, plug in the power cord, and turn hot and cold switches ON.

12. If any odor or unpleasant taste persists after cleaning, repeat the above steps using 2 cups of white vinegar and 2 gallons of hot water.


A water dispenser is like any other appliance. By performing regularly scheduled maintenance on it, it will stay in peak condition so it can do what it does best: consistently deliver fresh, delicious water right to your glass.

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