How to clean reusable straws because you've definitely been forgetting yours

Learn how to clean reusable straws for sipping on those iced lattes

Colorful reusable straws in pink backgrouns
(Image credit: Future)

Learning how to clean reusable straws is essential if you're looking to pick up this eco-friendly solution. Are you sick and tired of paper straws that get soggy almost instantly in your mouth? We feel your pain, and that’s also why reusable straws are so popular these days. 

From silicone to stainless steel, the options for reusable straws are borderline overwhelming. From water to soda, coffees, or cocktails, reusable straws can be used for just about any type of drink, which creates a unique problem — cleaning. 

If you use your reusable straw regularly for coffee but also want to use it for your sodas, the last thing you want is residual coffee flavor in your afternoon pick-me-up drink. You'll have to put those cleaning supplies to work, ASAP. To help you get the best clean possible, we have created this guide to help you wash your straws efficiently.

Good to know

Time: 5 minutes (not including drying time)  

Difficulty: Easy to moderate  

Helpful hints: Some people wash their straws with denture tablets. While this can be a useful method for items used in your mouth, like a retainer, these tablets do not disinfect or clean mold and mildew, which can both be problematic threats when using reusable straws.  

Here’s what you’ll need

How to clean reusable straws

 Step 1: Rinse the straw

The best practice is to rinse out your straw as soon as you’re done using it. If you’re unable to rinse your straw right away, no stress. As soon as you’re able to, run warm water through the straw, striving to get out any bits and pieces left behind.

Tip: While running the water through the straw, cap the bottom of the straw with your finger, allowing the water to come in and out of the top. This will ensure that you get all of the interior edges clean. Every once in a while, release your finger to allow the water to run all the way through. Repeat this process 3-5 times, or as many times as needed for a deep clean. 

Step 2: Scrub your straw 

Even if you don’t have a straw cleaning brush or another dishwashing tool, it’s important to scrub the outside of your straw as well. Add a small amount of dish soap to the exterior and scrub with warm running water. 

We do not recommend pouring the soap down the straw as the soap could linger inside and leave an unwanted taste behind. 

 Step 3: Scrub your straw with a cleaner (optional)

If you’re using a straw cleaning brush, add a very small amount of dish soap to the brush and scrub the interior vigorously. We recommend brushing from both ends of the straw for the most thorough clean. 

Similar to the step above, don't skip out on cleaning the exterior areas of your straw as well. The perk of using a straw cleaner is that you can clean all the nooks and crannies with soft yet durable bristles that won’t scratch your straw. 

Step 4: Add a sprinkle of baking soda 

Whether you’re using a straw cleaner or not, the added step of using baking soda will help you remove any remaining debris left inside the straw. This step will be slightly easier with a bottle/straw brush, but you can still sprinkle a small amount inside the straw without a cleaning tool. 

 Step 5: Rinse thoroughly 

After you have added soap and baking soda (for extra cleaning power), rinse your straw one final time with warm water. Make sure all of your cleaning supplies are rinsed from the interior and exterior of the straw. 

If you’re unsure about what is left inside, you can always soak the straw in warm water overnight to make sure it's been thoroughly rinsed — this is especially helpful if you used soap on a straw cleaning brush to sweep out the interior.  

Step 6: Dry the straw 

Prop your straw against a glass, dish or your faucet so the water can drip out and dry. You can also set your straw flat on your countertop, but using this method will take a bit longer for it to dry.  


How do I know if my reusable straw is dishwasher safe?

Stainless steel, silicone, and glass straws are typically safe to put inside of the dishwasher. Bamboo or wood straws should be hand-washed.  

How often do I need to clean my reusable straw?

Ideally after every use. The cleaner your straw, the better your drinks will taste (and the more things will just stay more sanitary!)

Reusable straws are such a great investment to use over and over. Don't forget to wash the straws that come in your water bottles and tumblers like these Stanley Cup alternatives or Shay Mitchell's favorite tumbler.

Kara Thompson

About me: 

Kara Thompson is a Denver-based journalist with over five years of experience writing lifestyle content. She has written for a variety of publications, including,,, and Parents, where she covered all things home, food, fashion, travel, and holidays. During her time on staff at Parents, Kara launched her own home decor and organization column named Save My Space. In 2022, she left her full-time job as an editor and started her own writing, editing, and social media firm, Kara Thompson and Co.

Tennis, New York City, bourbon cocktails, and her sister's German Shepherd are a few of her favorite things.