Maybe part of your ‘New Year, New Me’ plan is to drink more water, to which we say — more power to you. But should you be drinking old water, even if it’s from your own bottle?

The thing is, old water can get pretty grimy. Sweat, dust and skin cells from around our mouth area can contaminate the water each time we take a swig. And so does the bacteria in our saliva.

Plus, when we do leave our bottle uncapped, dust, debris and even the odd insect can fall in.

“If it’s allowed to incubate for hours, that could potentially contaminate the water, and make you ill by reintroducing that bacteria,” said Marc Leavey, MD, primary care specialist at Mercy Medical Center in Massachusetts, to Reader’s Digest.

“Once you have put your lips to the bottle, you should consume that bottle in one sitting and then discard [or wash] it.”

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But that’s just the worst case scenario, because since the bacteria is yours anyway, it’s nothing your body isn’t already familiar with.

The one thing you should not be doing at all though? Touching the drinking surface with your fingers.

“Those are the only ones you see issues with because people’s fingers are contaminated,” said Charles Gerba, Ph.D., a microbiologist at the University of Arizona to SELF magazine.

Which makes sense — just think about all the things you touch over a span of, say, five hours. Gerba said that bottles that require finger contact are usually those where the nasty stuff like E.coli show up.

So long story short? Try not to drink day-old water even if it’s from your own bottle, and absolutely avoid sharing your bottle with different people, or wrapping your fingers all over the drinking area.

Image: strelok/