First off, this post should be prefaced with this quote from the CamelBak site:
Do not disassemble small parts of the cap JetValve. Disassembly of the plastic cap could lead to leaks or product malfunction.
As a longtime user of CamelBak Podium bottles I’ve learned two things about them:
1. They did in fact, improve on the traditional bidon and make them awesome.
2. They are a total nightmare to keep clean.
Since I don’t have a dishwasher, I’ve taken to disassembling the cap as far as possible to help clean it out. The process is pretty straightforward, and, as long as you are careful, non-destructive.
First off, give the silicone nozzle a good turn through 90 degrees. This then allows you to get a good grip underneath it to separate it from the rest of the cap.
Once the nozzle is off, grab a sharp/thin knife and slide it into the notch between the white collar and the grey bit below. With a bit of pressure you should be able to slip the blade in and with a little twist, release the white ring.
At this point, you should now have the cap, nozzle, white ring and blue diaphragm. Most likely you’ll also see everything covered with black gunk as well – time to get scrubbing!
Unfortunately, this is as far as you can go with disassembly – I’ve not managed to find a way to safely separate the remaining parts of the cap – a pain since the gap between the two parts is a prime spot for nastiness.
You’ll probably find the threads on the cap a bit gunked up too, so using the corner of a tea-towel, work it into the thread and keep turning the cap till you clean out all the gunk.
Once all the parts are de-crudded, I like to throw everything in a pot with a chlorine tablet and leave it over night, just to kill off anything that’s left. Give it a good rinse afterwards and rebuild.
One of the keys to easy cleaning is actually preventative maintenance – ideally take the bottles off straight after a ride, give them a rinse and clean before letting them dry. This doesn’t completely alleviate the nastiness though, as there is plenty of on-bike time for things to grow.
Since I started the draft of this post, I’ve seen that CamelBak are releasing a new version of the Podium bottle which will be easier to clean and have a removable valve.