how to clean a travel mug

Travel mugs are great for taking drinks with you just about anywhere you like, but if they are not kept clean, they can develop an unpleasant odour and can even change the taste of what you are drinking. Considering all the nooks and crevices found in many travel mugs, cleaning them properly and routinely can help prolong their usable life significantly. This article will teach you how to clean a travel mug or even a travel tumbler using three simple and effective methods. By the time you are done, you should be ready to complete a routine or deep cleaning with ease.

Before You Begin

What Will You Need to Clean Your Travel Mug?

While you do not need much to properly clean a travel mug, you will need a few supplies. Check to make sure you have what you need before you start cleaning your travel drink container.

For dishwasher safe travel mugs:

  • Dishwasher
  • Dishwasher cleaning solution

For routine handwashing:

Baking soda, white vinegar, sponge and brush.
  • A sink with running water
  • Scrubbing brush or sponge
  • Dish soap

For deep cleaning:

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • A small bowl to soak the lid
  • And all of the supplies needed for a routine hand wash

How to Clean Travel Mugs: 3 Easy Methods

Method #1: In the Dishwasher

Washing your travel mug in the dishwasher is often the simplest way to get the job done.

Many travel mugs are completely dishwasher safe, especially ceramic travel mugs. However, travel mugs with added accessories like handles and sleeves can create crevices that hold water and bacteria if they are put in the dishwasher. A ceramic or stainless steel travel mug with a painted design may also be unsuitable for the dishwasher.

If you are unsure if your cup is dishwasher safe, it may tell you on the bottom of the mug. Otherwise, we recommend you play it safe and use one of the other two methods described later on.

  • Take the lid off of your travel mug and give it a good rinse with hot water.
  • Place your travel mug and its lid on the top rack of the dishwasher and run the machine.
  • When the dishwasher cycle is complete, shake out any excess water and leave the mug and lid to dry completely before putting them back together.

Method #2: Routine Hand Washing

If your mug is not dishwasher safe or you simply want to clean it real quick, routine hand washing is most likely your best option. This should be done every time you use your travel mug to avoid any coffee, tea, or milk buildup from your drinks in the cup or on the lid.

  • To start, separate the lid from the cup and give them a good rinse with hot water.
  • Next, take the lid apart. Many travel mug lids have hinges that they can slide or click out of. If it has a slide mechanism for the mouthpiece, it may click off as well. If you often put milk and sugar in your coffee or tea, it can easily build up around the rubber seal in the lid and on the threading, so make sure to remove it as well.
  • Using dish soap and a scrub brush or sponge, wash your travel mug’s cup and all parts of the lid.
  • Pour out all of the soapy water. Rinse the mug and lid thoroughly with warm water to remove any soapy residue.
  • Place the mug and lid on a drying rack to air dry completely.
  • When completely dry, reassemble the pieces and use the mug like normal.
Clean travel mug

Pro tip: If your travel mug has a narrow opening on the top or is not wide enough for you to fit your hand inside to reach the bottom, we recommend using a bottle brush. They are specifically designed for cleaning a bottle and make cleaning the entire cup easy and accessible.

Method #3: Deep Cleaning with Baking Soda or White Vinegar

If you are wondering how do you get the smell or a bad taste out of a travel mug, this method is for you. When a routine cleaning simply is not enough to bring your travel mug back to pristine condition, it may be time to try a deep cleaning. Deep cleaning can remove most stains and odours. We recommend deep cleaning your travel mug about once a month or whenever stains and smells develop. This method is great for making a stainless steel travel mug sparkly clean.

  • Remove the lid on your travel mug and add one to two teaspoons of baking soda, depending on the size.
  • Then, add a decent amount of white vinegar. About 3 ounces or enough to fill the mug a quarter of the way should be plenty. Distilled white vinegar is great for cleaning stains due to its acidic nature but is not abrasive enough to damage your travel mug, stainless steel or otherwise.
  • Let the baking soda and vinegar mixture foam up inside the cup to clean the walls of your travel mug. You can also stir the mixture vigorously to speed up the results.
  • After a few minutes, pour the baking soda and vinegar mixture into a small bowl. Take apart the lid as much as possible and put all of the parts in the bowl to soak. As you’ll remember from above, many travel mug lids can be taken apart to some degree and doing so will help make for thorough cleaning in the end. This is particularly true if your lid has a rubber ring that likes to attract bacteria and might be allowing contaminants to build up.
  • While the lid soaks, rinse the mug thoroughly. Then, wash it like normal using dish soap and warm water.
  • Next, remove the lid from the bowl and rinse it thoroughly before washing it with soap and warm water.
  • Rinse all of the components to remove any traces of soapy residue.
  • Let all the parts air dry separately overnight or until they are completely dry before reassembling the lid and putting it back on the cup.

Clean Your Travel Mug Today

Whether you were searching for a way to routinely clean your travel coffee mug or you wanted to learn about deep cleaning, by now, you should have all the information needed. So what are you waiting for? Clean your mug today to get rid of any stains or buildup so your coffee and other drinks taste great every time.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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