You're gonna need to know how to clean travel mugs after a few drinks in yours. Can’t leave home without your reusable water bottle? Or maybe you opt for a travel mug that keeps your coffee warm all morning. Either way, travel mugs have become our trusty sidekicks during a long day of errands and a must-have if you’re traveling.
While they certainly come in handy, when it comes to cleaning travel mugs, a quick rinse doesn’t always do the trick (and it doesn’t provide your cup with a deep clean). Plus, many reusable mugs and water bottles aren’t dishwasher safe.
So, how can you truly get a deep clean without throwing your cup into the dishwasher? We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you ensure your go-to kitchen accessory stays sparkly clean. 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.
Good to know
Time: 10 minutes (not including drying time)
Helpful hints: If you have a dishwasher-safe mug and don’t have the time or supplies for a deep hand wash, place your mug on the top shelf of the dishwasher for the best clean possible. Placing it on the top shelf can help eliminate potential damage in the dishwasher.
Here's what you'll need
- Dish soap (you can't go wrong with Mrs. Meyer's liquid dish soap available at Amazon)
- Distilled white vinegar (try Aunt Fannie's white vinegar available at Amazon)
- Warm water
- Baking soda (stock up on this 12-pack of Arm & Hammer baking soda available at Amazon)
- Mixing bowl (we like these Figmint glass mixing bowls from Target)
How to clean travel mugs
Step 1: Add your cleaning ingredients to your mug
Pour 1⁄2 cup of distilled white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of baking soda directly into your mug. We recommend pouring the contents into the mug while it’s held over the sink in case there’s any spillage.
Let the mixture sit for a few minutes. It should bubble together, creating a light foam consistency.
Step 2: Seal and shake
Replace the lid on your travel cup. If it has a sliding opening, make sure it is completely closed and sealed. If it has a straw opening, make sure you cover the opening tightly. Shake the mixture inside your travel mug, almost as if you’re mixing a margarita in a cocktail shaker.
Step 3: Rinse it out
Dispose of the vinegar and baking soda mixture into your sink and rinse the cup with warm water.
Step 4: Get ready to soak
Fill a bowl with hot water and a few drops of dish soap. Soak your mug in this mixture for approximately 10 minutes. Add all components of your travel mug into the bowl. If you have a lid with a rubber seal or detachable parts, remove those and soak them together.
Step 5: Give it a final rinse
Rinse off any remaining residue off the mug and lid.
Step 6: Dry your mug
The best method is to allow your mug to air dry overnight, but if you’re in a rush, drying it with a clean dish towel or paper towel will work just fine.
How do I know if my travel mug is dishwasher safe?
When you purchase a new travel mug, be sure to look at the packaging to see if it notes that the product is dishwasher safe. If you don’t remember or already tossed the packaging, then look for a dishwasher-safe symbol, stamp, or label. On mugs, these labels are typically located on the bottom and look like a square box containing plates, glasses, or both symbols.
How often do I need to clean my travel mug?
In an ideal world, we recommend rinsing it out after every use but life happens, right? One day your travel mug might be filled with water, the next it might be used to house coffee, then back to water. If you can get one deep clean in at least once a week, you should be good to go.
Tip: If you want a good, but not necessarily deep clean, soak the mug in warm soapy water overnight. When you are ready to fill it in the morning, rinse it out to get all the suds out.
Put those cleaning supplies to work and get started with our fool-proof method. While you're at it, look around the kitchen for other items you may be forgetting to clean like attachments and accessories.