Taste The Earth Blog

How To Clean Travel Mugs? You'll Be Amazed With These Hacks!

by Mark Morphew on Dec 12, 2021

How To Clean Travel Mugs? You'll Be Amazed With These Hacks!

Let's be honest. A good insulated travel tumbler is a commuter's best friend. Can you imagine being stuck in rush hour traffic without it? I thought not.

As much as we love our travel mugs, when was the last time you cleaned it, I mean really cleaned it?

I'm not talking about a quick rinse under the kitchen faucet. I mean a deep clean, making sure to get inside all of the nooks and crannies and scrubbing the lid to remove any lingering bacteria.

If I had to hazard a guess, I bet for many of you reading this, the answer is never.

Remember, you take your travel tumbler practically everywhere you go. Just imagine how much dirt and grime has snuck inside some of those hard to reach places.

Used day in and day out, and even with regular rinsing and washing, travel mugs and tumblers can become breeding grounds for mold, some of which can actually make you sick.

Okay, have I got your attention?

The good news is that giving your travel tumbler or mug a deep clean once a week isn't at all difficult. In this article, I will show you how to clean travel mugs and tumblers the right way. You'll be able to sleep easy knowing that your commuter buddy is in tip-top shape.

Mold And Bacteria Can Cause Health Problems

You might think that a quick rinse under the kitchen faucet with a bit of dishwashing detergent is enough. Sure it might look clean, but in reality, there is still bacteria lingering in those hard to reach places, and a quick rinse won't get it out.

Even if you wash your travel mug or tumbler using the dishwasher, the water can penetrate into the inner and outer layers of insulation, and mold can start to grow.

Also, the rubber ring on the lid can be a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Mold, which is a type of fungus, thrives in these moist, dark areas. So that means with every sip you take, you're more than likely also getting a mouthful of nasty mold and bacteria. Yuk!

Don't just take my word for it. According to the USDA, consuming certain molds can be pretty dangerous and could potentially cause severe respiratory problems and even allergic reactions.

How To Clean Coffee Stains From A Stainless Steel Travel Mug

Keeping your travel buddy clean and bacteria free doesn't have to be a chore. In fact, you can carry on doing the routine cleaning you've been doing but just make sure you do a deep clean at least once or twice a week.

There are a few simple and effective ways to deep clean your insulated travel mug or tumbler - here are a few of our favorite methods.

Just Use Soap!

By far, the easiest method to clean travel mugs is by simply using regular dish soap. We suggest that you take apart your tumbler or mug as much as possible by removing the lid, rubber seal, and other components which can be easily removed.

Next, fill a bowl with hot water and add a few drops of dishwashing soap. Submerge all of the tumbler parts and allow to soak for 30 to 40 minutes.

Gently clean the different parts with a soft sponge and then rinse under running water to remove any leftover soap and dirt. Leave the tumbler and the parts to air dry.

Clean Using Baking Soda

Every kitchen cupboard has baking soda lying around; let's put it to good use.

Create a paste of equal parts baking soda and water. Using a new toothbrush, gently dab into the baking soda paste and scrub the hard to reach spots on the tumbler or mug.

Once you're happy, give your tumbler or mug a quick rinse under running water and allow it to air dry.

You'll be amazed at how clean your tumbler will look after this cleaning hack!

Try Using Some Vinegar To Sanitize

Like baking soda, every household has regular vinegar somewhere in the pantry, and it actually works wonders on travel mugs and tumblers.

Just fill your tumbler or mug with a teaspoon of distilled white vinegar and warm water. Let that soak inside for around 20 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly.

You can also soak the lid and other components of the tumbler or mug in the vinegar solution.

How To Clean Your Reusable Travel Mug And Tumbler Lids

Sometimes a basic soaking of the lid won't remove dirt, debris, and bacteria, and you could be causing more harm than good.

Sure, the water can penetrate into those hard to reach places, but in most cases, it won't thoroughly flush out all of the nasty germs lurking inside.

Tight fitting mug and tumbler lids with rubber seals are prime targets for mold and bacteria to grow. The good news? They're made to be taken apart, cleaned, and then put back together quickly.

Go and grab your tumbler or mug and have a quick look. Try gently pulling on the rubber or silicone seal; if it pulls away easily, you can remove it.

Once removed, use any of the above travel mug cleaning tips to ensure any sneaky bacteria or dirt is completely removed.

Do's And Don'ts

If you've gotten this far, we hope you now have a better idea of how to clean travel mugs and tumblers. Just remember that there's no need to do a deep clean every day; once or twice a week is more than enough if you do a quick rinse with soap daily.

However, there are some things you should not do when cleaning your insulated travel mug. Below we have listed a couple of things that are a no-no.

Don't Bleach Your Travel Tumbler Or Mug

Definitely don't add bleach to your mug or tumbler. Bleach contains a powerful oxidizing agent that breaks down the chromium oxide layer from the stainless steel parts.

Chromium makes your steel "stainless" if you remove that, your travel tumbler or mug will rust and stain.

Cleaning your travel mug or tumbler with bleach is a big no-no. Just stick to good old vinegar and baking soda if you need a supercharged clean!

Don't Use Abrasive "Green" Cleaning Pads

It might be tempting to try cleaning your travel mug with a green scourer pad. Don't try; you'll wish you hadn't.

The abrasive cleaning pad will scratch the stainless steel causing it to look "cloudy." Not only that, those scratches can become a breeding ground for dirt and bacteria. Leave those green cleaning pads for your dirty pots and pans and well clear from your travel mug!


Mark MorphewMark Morphew is a freelance writer specializing in digital marketing and the hospitality sector. He helps coffee, catering, and food tech businesses create better content that drives more traffic and increases customer engagement.