A Guide to Cleaning Your Reusable Drinkware: Water Bottles, Tumblers, & Travel Mugs
You probably have a bunch of reusable water bottles, tumblers, and travel mugs in your kitchen cabinet. In this fast-paced world, with errands to run and kids to shuffle between school and soccer practice, this variety of drinkware can be a real lifesaver!
It's time to show your drinkware a little TLC! Roll up your sleeves and get ready for a bit of spring cleaning.
Why Does My Water Bottle Smell Bad?
Your water bottle smells bad because the airtight lid on top holds in all kinds of odors, such as the smell of stale water or the old sponge you used for cleaning. These gross smells will be even worse if you leave your bottle out in the hot car!
Luckily, a good cleaning at least once a month will help combat the problem. It's not very time-consuming, and you'll be thankful for a clean water bottle to sip from throughout the day.
Are Water Bottles Dishwasher Safe?
Unfortunately, not all water bottles are safe for the dishwasher. This will usually be specified by the manufacturer, but a good rule of thumb is to keep any water bottles with a custom design printed on the front out of the dishwasher.
Most of the time, you'll also want to keep stainless steel or aluminum water bottles out of the dishwasher. Plastic and glass water bottles can typically go on the top rack, as long as they're not wrapped in silicone or any other material.
When in doubt, look for the dishwasher safe symbol on the bottom of your bottle, which will look something like either of these images:
Add the Vinegar or Baking Soda
OPTION A: Dilute 1 to 2 tablespoons of the vinegar with a cup of hot water in a separate bowl.
OPTION B: Create a paste by mixing the baking soda with the hot water in a separate bowl.
Both the white vinegar and baking soda are great natural cleaners. Do you have gross buildup in your bottle? Go with the vinegar. Is your water bottle smelly? Try the baking soda.
Pour the Solution
Add the solution from step 1 into your water bottle. Make sure it's filled up to the top, so if it's not, add more hot water. Be sure to keep the lid off as it should be cleaned separately.
Clean the Lids
While your water bottle is soaking, use that extra time to clean the lid. Soak it in a bowl filled with hot water and a little bit of baking soda. Cover the top with a heavy plate and let it soak alongside your bottle.
Take a Break
Let the cleaning solution sit idle in your bottle and leave your lid soaking in the bowl for 15 to 30 minutes. Use that time to read, do other chores, or have an impromptu dance party, whatever floats your boat! For a deeper clean, let the solution sit overnight.
Clean it Out
Put on rubber or latex gloves and use a bottle brush or toothbrush to scrub the bottle. Rinse it out with hot water. At this point, you should also take the lid out of the water and clean out the straw using a Q-tip and rubbing alcohol, and then rinsing with warm water.
Allow it to Air Dry
Flip the bottle and the lid upside down on a drying rack or clean towel and let them air dry. Your water bottle's now squeaky clean and ready for your next drink!
How to Clean Mold From a Water Bottle Lid
You can get rid of mold inside of your water bottle lid by mixing 1 teaspoon of baking soda, ½ teaspoon of bleach, and warm water in a glass bowl. Put the lid inside of the bowl, weigh it down with a plate, and let it sit overnight.
Are Tumblers Dishwasher Safe?
You can safely put tumblers in the dishwasher if they're made from hard plastic or stainless steel. Place it on the top rack and make sure the lid is separate and the straws are washed by hand with pipe cleaners.
The only exception is if your tumbler is printed with a design on the front. It's always better to wash custom items by hand as it helps the ink last a lot longer.
How Do You Clean Drink Tumblers?
The drink tumbler is the perfect to-go cup since it comes with a lid and straw. You can easily clean yours out with just a few basic household essentials and a little bit of time and effort.
What you'll need:
- Warm water
- Dish soap
- Bottle brush
- Rubbing alcohol
- Pipe cleaner
- White vinegar
- Drying rack
- 2 towels
Here's how to clean a tumbler:
- Step One: Fill your sink with warm water and dish soap.
- Step Two: Put the tumbler and lid in the soapy sink. Make sure you take the straw out of the lid first.
- Step Three: Scrub the inside and outside of your tumbler and lid by dipping a bottle brush into the soapy water.
- Step Four: Rinse everything with warm water and dry the tumbler with a clean towel. Leave the lid upside down on a drying rack or on a different towel.
- Step Five: Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of white vinegar with warm water and fill up the tumbler with the solution. Allow it to sit for 20 minutes.
- Step Six: While the tumbler is soaking, clean the straw by dipping a pipe cleaner into rubbing alcohol and pulling it through the straw. Immediately rinse with warm water.
- Step Seven: After 20 minutes, rinse out the tumbler with warm water.
- Step Eight: Place the tumbler and straw next to lid and let everything air dry.
Fill Your Sink
Fill your sink with warm water and a few drops of dish soap. You can also use a large bowl, but the sink is best as it gives you the most space without worrying about any overflow.
Soak Your Tumbler
Put your tumbler and the lid inside of the soapy sink. Be sure to take the straw out of the lid first since you will be cleaning that separately later.
Scrub Your Tumbler
Scrub the tumbler and lid using a bottle brush. Wash gently, getting both the inside and the outside.
Rinse with Warm Water
Rinse the soap from the tumbler and lid using warm water. Next, dry the tumbler with a clean towel, and leave the lid on a clean towel or drying rack.
Deep Clean with White Vinegar
Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and warm water inside of the tumbler. Let the mixture sit for about 20 minutes.
Clean the Straw
While the tumbler is sitting, clean the straw using a pipe cleaner and rubbing alcohol. You can dip the pipe cleaner into the rubbing alcohol and then run it through the straw. Rinse out the straw immediately afterward using warm water.
Step Seven: Rinse Out Your Tumbler
Use warm water to thoroughly rinse out the tumbler. The white vinegar is a good natural cleaner and will help get rid of any bacteria that's built up inside.
Turn your tumbler upside down and place it next to the lid and straw on the towel or drying rack. You now have a squeaky clean tumbler ready to hold your cold drinks!
Are Travel Mugs Dishwasher Safe?
Stainless steel and aluminum travel mugs are not dishwasher safe. You risk destroying the insulation if you put this drinkware in the dishwasher, which is what keeps your hot drinks hot and your cold drinks cold.
It's much better to clean your travel mugs by hand instead. The good news is it's really easy and won't take up your entire afternoon!
How Do You Clean a Stainless Steel Travel Mug?
The best travel mugs are made from stainless steel, but these aren't able to go safely in the dishwasher. It's not too difficult, though, to simply clean this drinkware by hand instead.
What you'll need:
- Baking soda
- White vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- Warm water
- Dish soap
- Pipe cleaner
- Measuring cup
- Drying rack or towel
Here's how to clean a stainless steel travel mug:
- Step One: Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda and ¼ cup of white vinegar and apple cider vinegar. Pour it into your mug.
- Step Two: Let the mixture sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Use that time to wash the lid separately with warm water, soap, and a pipe cleaner.
- Step Three: After the lid is dry, put it back on the mug. Shake the mixture around.
- Step Four: Pour out the mixture and rinse it out with warm water.
- Step Five: Turn the mug and lid upside down and place them on a clean towel or drying rack.
Mix Baking Soda and Vinegar
Measure 2 tablespoons of baking soda and ¼ cup of white vinegar and pour it into your mug. You can use apple cider vinegar instead for a sweet aroma.
Allow the Mixture to Sit
Let the mixture sit in your mug for at least 15 minutes. While it's soaking, you can clean the lid normally with dish soap and water. Use a soapy pipe cleaner to get into the straw and other hard-to-reach areas.
Shake, Shake, Shake
After drying the lid with a towel, place it back on your mug. Carefully shake the mug with the baking soda and vinegar mixture still inside.
Rinse with Warm Water
Pour the mixture into the sink and thoroughly rinse with warm water.
Place the mug and lid on a towel or drying rack and let it air dry. It's now squeaky clean and ready for your morning coffee!
How Do You Get the Smell Out of a Travel Mug?
Use baking soda to get rid of any smells coming from your travel mugs. Simply mix ¼ tablespoon of baking soda with hot water and let the solution sit overnight. In the morning, rinse it out and your travel mug should be odor-free!
How Often Should You Clean Your Reusable Drinkware?
You should aim to deep clean your water bottles, tumblers, and travel mugs at least once a month. This often involves washing this drinkware by hand with baking soda, warm water, and vinegar.
Do you need help making this part of your routine? Choose a day of the week where you're usually already running errands, like a Saturday or Sunday. You can also set a reminder on your phone, or schedule the cleaning on your calendar at home.
Why Should You Clean Your Reusable Drinkware?
Bacteria will hide in your water bottles, tumblers, and travel mugs. Even if you think you're cleaning them thoroughly, it's still a good idea to do a deep cleaning.
This is why you should clean your water bottles, tumblers, and travel mugs:
- There's an average of 300,000 bacteria cells per square inch in a water bottle after one week without cleaning.
- An athlete's water bottle has roughly 313,499 colony-forming units per square centimeter.
- Over 60% of the germs found on water bottles could make you sick.
- Your water bottle could be harboring more germs than a dog bowl.
Your health should always be a #1 priority. A little bit of cleaning can go a long way, so carve out some time on a Sunday afternoon and get to work!
The Bottom Line
You don't need an expensive water bottle cleaner or any fancy equipment to wash your drinkware. Baking soda, white vinegar, and warm water will do the trick. Scrubbing out your drinkware may seem like another chore, but it's well worth the effort for a refreshingly clean drink every time!
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