The easiest way to clean reusable straws is to pop them in the dishwasher. They get cleaned without you having to worry about wasting or using too much soap and water.
However, they can still house germs and bacteria that might cause serious health problems. Imagine the bacteria build-up from the sugary drinks. Or the nooks and crannies where bacteria can lurk and hide. Gross!
Not mentioning the residues and food debris that are stuck inside especially if you have been using your stainless steel straws for smoothies. A simple dishwasher couldn’t clean and reach that area. Moreso, some types of reusable straws can deteriorate when used with a dishwasher. Better check the care instructions first.
At the end of the day, just like reusable water bottles, reusable straws need to be taken back home and cleaned. In this case, a thorough hand washing could help remove those nasties. Luckily, they are not that hard to clean.
How to Clean Reusable Straws
Most reusable straws available on the market come with a set of a cleaning brush or pipe cleaner. Yep, you will need a cleaning brush or pipe cleaner. These cleaning tools can brush and reach the insides, easily removing whatever is stuck inside the straw.
For example, Klean Kanteen’s 5pc Stainless Steel Straw Set Black comes with a free cleaning steel brush made from palm fibres instead of microplastic. Bambu’s Bamboo Straws come in a set with a plant-based bristled cleaning brush. We love both of these brands for their eco-friendly sipping devices and the plastic-free cleaning brush that comes with them.
You also need a mild soap like Castille, a sponge and warm water. Vinegar, known for its natural antibacterial properties, may also come handy in keeping your reusable straws clean and sanitized.
Washing your reusable straw
Cleaning your reusable straws is not optional, it’s necessary. It would make your favourite straw last longer and keep you away from harmful bacteria and moulds.
Start by cleaning the exterior using a sponge. Wipe the tip where your mouth has been in contact. Add the mild soap in warm water and use the same solution with the cleaning brush to scrub the interior. Do this repeatedly until the debris is removed. Rinse and dry. Voila! Your reusable straw is clean.
Bamboo and glass straws may need a little love from a vinegar solution. Bamboo straws may be soaked in vinegar overnight monthly for a deep clean. You will need to boil water and add a spoonful of vinegar. Silicone and metal reusable straws can also be boiled in a vinegar solution.
Bamboo straws can also be placed inside a canister filled with warm soapy water and shake. Rinse and thoroughly dry in a well-ventilated area. What’s great about bamboo straws is the fact that bamboo is naturally antibacterial.
Reusable glass straws often get cloudy. This can happen in areas where hard water is present. To bring back the lustre, you can soak it in vinegar and use a stainless steel cleaning brush.
Remember to handle glass straws carefully as they can be susceptible to breakage and fissure. Store them in a pouch or wide-mouthed bottles where they won’t be mixed with other objects that might cause them to break.
You may also rinse your reusable straws under the tap after each use before bringing them home. Do not forget to wash the straw case and pouch. They can also be a ground where bacteria can proliferate.
How often should you wash your reusable straws?
Clean your reusable straws right away after using them with fruit juices, smoothies and dairy products. These types of beverages can easily allow bacteria to breed and grow. They can also harden inside the straw when left unwashed.
Make it a habit to clean your reusable straws regularly. Anything that is deemed reusable must be cleaned after use. Better be safe and protected from illness-causing bacteria than be sorry.