How To Clean Reusable Straws: Instructions, Supplies & Tips



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How To Clean Reusable Straws: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you fed up with old, clogged up, dirty straws in your collection? It’s a bummer for sure, but don’t worry – you don’t have to throw your trusty, old straws away just yet! There is a secret to cleaning them and so you can safely enjoy all of your favorite beverages. We’ll share with you our tried and tested tips on how to clean reusable straws step-by-step and you’ll be able to see why this eco-friendly accessory for all of your sipping needs. So, what are you waiting for, let’s get to cleaning!

Key Takeaway:

You can wash your reusable straws with a combination of warm water and gentle dish soap. Additionally, you can use a bottle brush or small pipe cleaners to reach hard-to-clean spots.  Of course, one could opt to use a reusable straw that opens for easy cleaning, but in this post we will address the best cleaning methods for the classic, non-opening straw.

Cleaning Basics

Cleanliness and safety should be top priorities when it comes to reusable straws. It’s important to practice good hygiene in order to keep both yourself and others safe. Cleaning your straws on a regular basis is key to making sure that they last. To get you started, here are some basics of reusable straw cleaning that everyone should keep in mind:

1) Clean Your Straws After Each Use: It’s important to properly clean your reusable straws between uses. This prevents any bacteria or germs from accumulating on the surface of the straw and making their way into the beverage of your choice. Doing this will also help preserve the life of the straw and keep it looking its best.

2) Don’t Put Straws in the Dishwasher or Microwave: These appliances can cause damage to many types of reusable straw materials, such as those made from metal or bamboo. If you want to ensure a thorough cleaning, it’s best to avoid these methods.

3) Use Hot Water and Mild Soap: Hot water and mild soap are generally safe for most types of reusable straws. Make sure not to use abrasive cleaning agents such as bleach or vinegar, as these may cause damage.

4) Store Straws Properly While Not In Use: Keeping your straw stored properly can help prevent dirt and debris from sticking to the inside of it during storage. If you have a carrying case for the straw, make sure to store it inside so it doesn’t become contaminated with grime and bacteria from the outside environment.

By following these simple steps, you can easily keep your reusable straws clean and germ-free – making them safer to use over time! When it comes to keeping your reusable items clean, safety should always come first.

Materials You’ll Need

Before you can properly and effectively clean your reusable straws, it is important to gather all of the necessary materials that you will need. Depending on whether or not you need to remove difficult stains from metal or plastic straws, you likely will need either a soft-bristled toothbrush for scrubbing, dishwashing detergent for metal straws, or dish soap for plastic straws. Additionally, you will need a clean bucket or container with warm water in which to soak the straws (if necessary), and a clean towel with which to dry them off.

The debate over what materials are best for cleaning reusable straws ultimately depends on whether the goal is to use natural ingredients only or chemicals only. It also depends on whether one needs a fast-acting cleaner or something more gentle. For those looking for a fast-acting cleaner, distilled white vinegar may be used to naturally remove dirt and stains from plastic straws. However, some people may prefer to use soaps specifically designed for kitchen components such as dishwashing detergent, while others may want an all-natural approach by using baking soda, and lemon juice solutions. Ultimately, the choice lies with the individual in terms of what they are comfortable using when cleaning their reusable straws.

No matter which materials you choose to use, it is important that once collected, these materials should strictly be dedicated to cleaning your reusable straws only and should not come into contact with any other utensils in your home. This is especially true if using commercial cleaners like bleach or ammonia because these ingredients could corrode the metal components of your straw and introduce harmful toxins into the cleaned product.

Now that you have gathered all of the materials needed for cleaning your reusable straws, it’s time to learn how you can use them to effectively clean each type of straw. In the next section we’ll discuss precisely “How To Clean A Reusable Straw”.

How to Clean a Reusable Straw

One of the most important things to consider when caring for a reusable straw is how to clean it properly. Depending on the type of straw, cleaning instructions may vary.

Cleaning Silicone Straws

For flexible silicone straws, many manufacturers are now shipping their products with cleaning brushes to help scrub away food and drink residue.

  • Begin by removing the silicone tip from the device and using a brush or sponge dipped in warm soapy water to directly clean inside the straw.
  • Pay careful attention to any crevices that could accumulate gunk over time.
  • Once you get them as clean as you can by hand, you can run them through the dishwasher for extra sanitation.
  • This should be done within an hour after you finish your beverage as bacteria can quickly accumulate if left unattended.

Cleaning Metal Straws

Metal straws can be more difficult to clean than silicone straws due to their relatively small size and ridged surfaces. Many people find it helpful to opt for stainless steel cleaners or even vinegar-based products that foam when sprayed into the straw, allowing for optimal filling of interior spaces. Some stainless steel straw owners prefer to soak them overnight in a mixture of vinegar and water solution. Make sure all openings are securely plugged while they soak, otherwise you risk liquid spillage! The cleaning process should be rinse with hot water after use, followed by immediately running the tips through a cloth rag or sponge soaked with warm soapy water – ensuring all creases have been completely cleaned out. Again, once they have been thoroughly dried, they should be placed in a dishwasher or boiling pot of water if further sanitization is desired.

No matter what kind of straw you choose, it is important to make sure it is cleaned properly each and every time prior to reusing it. As long as you follow these steps, your reusable straw will stay safe and sanitary for a very long time!

Now that we know how to properly clean our reusable straws, let’s move on to discussing how best to approach handwashing them:

Main Points to Remember

When cleaning reusable straws, it is important to use the correct technique for the type of straw being used. For flexible silicone straws, use a brush or sponge with warm soapy water and rinse with hot water before running them through the dishwasher for extra sanitation. For metal straws, use stainless steel cleaners or vinegar-based products to fill the interior spaces and soak overnight in a mixture of vinegar and water solution. Always make sure to dry any straw thoroughly before placing back in storage and run through a dishwasher or boiling pot of water if further sanitization is desired. Handwashing should always be done after using a reusable straw.


Handwashing is an effective and simple way of cleaning reusable straws. To begin, remove the straw from whatever cup or container you are using now, making sure to keep all pieces together. Fill a bowl or sink with warm water and add a drop of dish soap or other safe cleaning solution. Place the straw in the soapy mixture and let it soak for one or two minutes. Afterward, use a cleaning brush to scrub away dirt, residue, and germs. Rinse the straw under warm running water until there are no visible bubbles left. Shake off any excess water before placing it on a clean towel or rack to air dry completely.

Handwashing can be convenient because it doesn’t require special equipment; however, some bacteria may not be eliminated unless the straws are washed with boiling water. For this reason, always remember to inspect your reusable straws for any deeper stains that may require harsher methods of cleaning.

The next section will discuss how to clean reusable straws by boiling them in hot water for a few minutes.


Boiling is an effective way to disinfect reusable straws and remove any lingering bacteria. Start by bringing water to a rolling boil in a saucepan or pot. Add the straws one at a time and let them sit for two minutes. It’s important to make sure the entire straw is immersed in the boiling water, so use tongs or a slotted spoon to move it around if need be. Be cautious when handling the hot water, as it can splash out of the pot and cause injury. Once done, take the straw out of the pot with kitchen tongs and lay them on a clean towel until cool. Repeat this process for each straw that needs cleaning.

Although boiling can kill most germs and bacteria, there are some drawbacks to doing this frequently. The extreme heat can causes the straw to weaken over time which may affect its longevity and integrity. Additionally, boiling can create excessive steam that might damage nearby surfaces or objects. Finally, plastic straws should not be boiled unless they are BPA-free, as boiling can release toxic chemicals from traditional plastics into the water or air around it.

To ensure your reusable straws are cleaned properly and stay in top condition, consider placing them in your dishwasher for a more eco-friendly and hands-off option. The following section explains how to optimize this method to give you optimal results every time.


Using a dishwasher is one of the most common and convenient ways to clean reusable straws. It’s a one-stop shop for straw cleaning, as the device does all the work. However, not all straws are safe for use in a dishwasher, so you should always check the manufacturer’s directions before using this method.

One advantage of using a dishwasher is that it produces high-temperature steam and hot water, which is effective at killing bacteria. In addition, many dishwashers are equipped with nozzles that reach every interior corner of dishes and silverware as they clean, making them effective at targeting small crevices in straws.

On the other hand, there are several issues with using a dishwasher to clean reusable straws. For instance, metal or metal-bristled straw brushes can become damaged or contorted when exposed to high temperatures. Furthermore, heated water may cause wrapping paper on reusable straws to weaken and peel over time. Soft plastics can also become deformed if put through a hot cycle too often. Stenciled logos and images can also wash away when exposed to excessive heat or prolonged contact with soapy water. To avoid these problems, consider hand washing or other methods instead.

To conclude, while many find it convenient and easy to clean reusable straws in a dishwasher, it’s important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of this cleaning method before deciding whether or not it is right for you and your straws. Now that we have addressed cleaning reusable straws with a dishwasher, let’s move on to discussing sanitizing them as the next step in our guide.

  • According to environmental experts, washing reusable straws with soap and warm water after every use is the most effective way to ensure proper cleaning and maintain hygiene standards.
  • A large-scale study from 2019 found that using a brush or pipe cleaner specifically designed for cleaning reusable straws was the most efficient way of removing particles and bacteria that can become embedded in reusable straws.
  • An analysis published in 2020 concluded that soaking a reusable straw in hot water combined with vinegar or baking soda can also be effective in sanitizing it.


Sanitizing a reusable straw is an essential step in cleaning and caring for it. While most straws can be run through the dishwasher, you may need to take extra steps when sanitizing if the straw has been exposed to food items like dairy or meat.

The easiest way to sanitize a reusable straw is to boil it. To do this, you’ll need to bring a pot of water to a boil and submerge the straw for several minutes. This will kill any bacteria on the straw. It’s best to wait until the water cools before removing as boiling-hot water could damage your straws. Another option is to use white vinegar and hot water in a spray bottle. Simply mix equal parts of each and spray directly onto the reusable straw before washing with soap and running through the dishwasher.

Another way to short-cut washing your reusable straws is by using UV light sanitation systems that are specifically made for cleaning items like plastic food containers, baby teethers, and other places where germs could linger. These systems utilize germicidal ultraviolet rays from UV bulbs that are highly effective at killing bacteria without chemicals or heat. They provide a safe and efficient way to sanitize drinking straws beyond what a traditional dishwasher can do.

No matter which method of sanitization you choose, it’s important to make sure you thoroughly clean your reusable straws before use. As with any surface, using good hygiene practices such as washing hands after handling reusable straws is also important in reducing bacterial growth. Now that we have covered sanitizing, let’s move on to discuss scrubbing reusable straws in greater detail.


Scrubbing your reusable straw is an important step in keeping it clean and germ-free. Some straws can be difficult to clean due to their slim design, so proper care must be taken to ensure that every angle is scrubbed and sanitized.

Cleaning brushes specifically designed for reuseable straws can provide a good way to get into all the hard-to-reach places, but cotton swabs, pipe cleaners, and toothpicks are also effective tools. Make sure the scrubbing implements you use are clean before you start, or you could be spreading dirt and germs around instead of cleaning them out.

For metal reusable straws, a brush soaked in baking soda and warm water can help remove stubborn residues. This may take some effort and elbow grease as metal straws tend to resist regular cleaning materials better than plastic ones.

On the other hand, silicone straws can also benefit from being vigorously scrubbed with a bottle brush. In addition, more powerful chemical cleaners such as bleach can be used for both metal and silicone straws but should be diluted with water first. As always, take care not to scratch the inner walls of the straw while scrubbing it.

When scrubbing your reusable straw, it’s always wise to exercise caution and use only what’s necessary for the job. Improper scrubbing techniques might do more harm than good by loosening unhygienic residues inside your straw instead of removing them.

Now that we’ve discussed how to properly scrub your reusable straws in detail, let’s move on to some important tips for maintaining their quality over time.

Important Tips

When it comes to cleaning reusable straws, there are a few important tips to keep in mind. First of all, after each use, rinse your straw right away with warm soapy water to remove any food or drink residue that may have attached itself to the walls of the straw. This will prevent any unwanted build up and make it easier to clean later on. Additionally, always make sure that the straw is completely dry before using or storing it away. Moisture can lead to the growth of bacteria, so letting it air dry is the best idea.

Furthermore, if you plan on using your straw for a longer period of time without needing to clean it more deeply, consider investing in some protective tools like a brush for deeper cleaning every once in awhile. There are also tools specifically designed for scrubbing and sanitizing straws available for purchase which may come in handy for busy people looking for an easy solution.

On the other hand, some people question whether it is safe or necessary to use brushes and specialized tools when cleaning reusable straws. Some suggest that hot running water or a quick dip in vinegar should be enough to disinfect the straws and make them safe for use again. While this may be true under certain circumstances, it’s important to note that these methods may not remove residues and dirt as efficiently as with brushes or cleaning tools. Ultimately, it’s best to find a balance between cleaning efficacy and frequency of deep cleaning needed depending on your personal preferences and needs.

Now let’s look at some effective ways of maintaining clean reusable straws when they are not in use.

Maintaining Clean Reusable Straws

Maintaining clean reusable straws is an important part of reducing the spread of germs and keeping your straws in good condition. To maintain cleanness in a reusable straw, it’s important to establish a regular cleaning routine. This should include routinely washing the straw with soap and water or sanitizing it with a food-safe disinfectant or boiling water. Additionally, it’s important to let the straw dry completely before reusing it as this will help kill any remaining germs.

When deciding between whether to wash your straw with soap and water or use a food-safe disinfectant, there are pros and cons to consider. On one hand, if you opt for soap and water, you don’t need to worry about the chemicals that come along with using a disinfectant; however, this method might not be as effective at eliminating germs. On the other hand, using a food-safe disinfectant may be more effective at killing germs but may leave behind residue from its ingredients.

Before making your decision, it’s best to consider your own personal preferences and needs. For households with young children, for example, it might be best to choose the option that is less likely to leave residue behind. Ultimately, the right cleaning solution depends on individual circumstances and users should identify what works best for them.

Now that we have discussed how to maintain clean reusable straws, let’s talk about how to get rid of deep-set debris in the next section.

How to Get Rid of Deep-Set Debris

Deep-set debris can be a nuisance when cleaning reusable straws, as it can be difficult to remove. However, there are some tips and tricks to help you get rid of deep-set debris.

1. Boil the Straw: Boiling your reusable straw is one of the most effective ways to remove deep-set debris from its surface. To do this, fill a pot with water and place your straw in it. Turn up the heat until the water starts to boil, and let it sit for about three minutes. After that time has elapsed, check the straw for any remaining debris. You may need to repeat the boiling process several times if the debris still persists. Be sure to handle the hot straw carefully and avoid burning yourself.

2. Soaking: Another way to get rid of deep-set debris is by soaking your straw in a mixture of hot water and soap or vinegar for at least 30 minutes. The warm temperature will soften the debris, making it easier to remove with a toothbrush or sponge. Once finished soaking, use a small brush or cloth to wipe away any remaining residue.

3. Use a Straw Cleaner Brush: A straw cleaner is specifically designed for removing stubborn grime from inside drinking straws. These brushes have long bristles that are flexible enough to maneuver around tight corners and clear out any difficult-to-reach debris without damaging the material of your straws. Simply dip the brush into warm soapy water and scrape away at the interior of your straw until all traces of dirt and gunk have been eliminated.

When considering how to get rid of deep-set debris from reusable straws, it’s important to note that there are benefits and drawbacks to each method discussed above. Boiling can be an effective way to eliminate tough stains, but it also carries risk of scalding yourself due to its high temperatures. Soaking offers more safety precautions, but extended exposure to liquid can weaken the integrity of your straw’s material over time if used frequently. Finally, a cleaner brush may provide reliable results but is not always necessary depending on how heavily stained your straw is. Ultimately, what works best for you depends on how deep set the debris is, as well as how much time you’re willing to spend cleaning it.

Frequently Asked Questions and Their Answers

What types of bacteria can grow in reusable straws?

  1. Escherichia coli (E. coli): E. coli is a type of bacteria that usually inhabits the intestines of humans and animals. While some strains are harmless, others can cause foodborne illnesses, resulting in symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vomiting.
  2. Staphylococcus aureus (Staph): Staph is a common bacteria found on the skin and in the nasal passages of humans. If it enters the body through contaminated food or drink, it can produce toxins that lead to food poisoning, with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  3. Bacillus cereus: This bacteria is commonly found in soil and can contaminate food, especially rice and other starchy foods. It produces toxins that can cause food poisoning, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vomiting.
  4. Pseudomonas aeruginosa: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common environmental bacterium that can contaminate water and moist surfaces. Although it poses a low risk to healthy individuals, it can cause infections in people with compromised immune systems.

Are there any tricks or special methods for cleaning reusable straws?

Yes, there are tricks and special methods for cleaning reusable straws. The most important thing to remember when cleaning them is to use warm water and a mild dish soap. A good way to scrub away dirt and grime is to use a brush with soft bristles. Another trick is to boil a pot of water, put the straws inside, and allow them to sit for at least five minutes. This helps loosen any debris that may be stuck inside of the straws. Lastly, make sure you rinse them with cold water afterwards in order to get rid of any soapy residue left behind. With these simple tips your reusable straws will be clean and remain hygienic for the next time you want to use them!

What materials and tools do I need to clean reusable straws?

In order to clean reusable straws effectively, you will need just a few simple materials and tools. All of these can easily be found around the home or bought at a supermarket:

• A cleaning brush – this could be a special straw cleaning brush that can fit inside the straw and remove stuck-on bits of food or dirt. Alternatively, you could use an old toothbrush or any other brush with tough bristles.

• Cleaning solution – you will need some kind of mild soapy liquid that won’t damage the straws or your hands. Opt for a biodegradable, nontoxic dishwashing liquid if possible, or mix together equal parts water and vinegar.

• Disinfectant – you couple use disinfecting wipes to give an extra layer of protection to your reusable straws. Ideally, opt for wipes that contain natural ingredients like tea tree oil and lavender oil rather than harsh chemicals like bleach.

• Towel – finally, you will need a towel to hand dry the straws before storage. A microfibre cloth is perfect for this job as the fibers are able to absorb more moisture from the surface of the straw more quickly.

What are some of the best methods for keeping my reusable straws clean?

Using the appropriate tools and products for cleaning is one of the key factors for keeping your reusable straws squeaky clean. Here are some of the best methods for keeping your reusable straws clean:

1. Hand Washing – Before and after each use, rinse reusable straws with warm soapy water and a soft brush to clear out any residue or particles. This will prevent germ build-up and keep any lingering bacteria to a minimum.

2. Boil Water – Submerge your straws in boiled water (not boiling) for 10 minutes or longer. This will help kill bacteria, which can be especially great for teething babies’ sippy cups. Be sure to allow them to completely cool before handling.

3. Vinegar & Baking Soda– Make a paste with vinegar and baking soda, then scrub it onto the straws with a small toothbrush. Rinse off the paste with warm water and use a cloth towel to dry them off—this method is great for removing dirt, gunk, algae growth and other microbes from your straws.

4. Dishwasher– If you choose to use the dishwasher, remember to always place your straws on the top rack in an upright position (not lying down). This will help ensure that the heat generated by the machine don’t warp the shape or deformation of your straws during their wash cycle.

No matter which cleaning method you choose, make sure to inspect each one after washing and thoroughly dry off or air dry afterwards before using again—this is essential if you want to keep your reusable straws in good shape!