How to Clean Reusable Straws and Water Bottles

Reusable straws and water bottles have become increasingly popular sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic. However, like any item we use repeatedly, they require periodic cleaning to keep them fresh and prevent buildup of dirt, grime, and bacteria. With the right methods and tools, cleaning reusable straws and bottles is easy.

Supplies Needed

Cleaning your reusable straws and bottles is simple with just a few supplies:

  • Mild dish soap or bottle cleaning tablets
  • Bottle brush and/or straw brush
  • Hot water
  • Diluted vinegar solution (1 part vinegar, 3 parts water)
  • Baking soda
  • Clean towels

Cleaning Reusable Straws

Reusable straws are prone to getting gunky, so regular cleaning is a must. Here’s how to clean them properly:

1. Rinse the straws thoroughly under hot running water. Rinsing removes any visible dirt or debris. Run water through the entire straw from both openings.

2. Make a cleaning solution. Mix a few drops of mild dish soap with warm water. Alternatively, dissolve a straw cleaning tablet per the product instructions.

3. Scrub the interior of the straw with a straw brush. Insert the brush into each opening and scrub vigorously to remove film and buildup. Make sure to get the entire interior surface.

4. Rinse thoroughly. Run hot water through the straw again until the soapy solution is gone.

5. Disinfect the straw. For extra disinfecting power, soak the straw in a vinegar solution for 5-10 minutes, then rinse again. The acidic vinegar kills bacteria.

6. Air dry the straw. Let the straw air dry completely before using again to prevent mold growth.

Cleaning Reusable Water Bottles

Reusable bottles also need regular scrub-downs to stay fresh and prevent germs. Follow these steps:

1. Add hot water and a drop of soap. Squirt a small amount of dish soap into the bottle, then fill about 1/4 with very hot water.

2. Secure bottle brush to long handle. Attach a bottle brush to a long handle, like a wooden spoon, to enable scrubbing the bottle interior.

3. Scrub interior surfaces. Use the brush to vigorously scrub all interior surfaces – bottom, sides, threads.

4. Rinse soap away. Empty soapy water from bottle and rinse several times with hot water until soap is fully rinsed out.

5. Clean exterior. Use dish soap and warm water to wipe down the bottle’s exterior surface. Rinse.

6. Disinfect with baking soda. For extra disinfecting, mix 1 tsp baking soda with 1 cup hot water. Shake solution in bottle, let sit 5 minutes, then rinse.

7. Air dry upside down. After washing, place bottle upside down on a drying rack until fully dry.

8. Clean mouthpiece. Remove mouthpiece and wash separately with soap and water. Air dry.

9. Sanitize regularly. Once per week, sanitize the bottle by adding 1 tbsp bleach to 1 quart water. Rinse thoroughly after 5 minutes.

Thorough cleaning is key to keeping reusable straws and bottles fresh and hygienic. Be sure to allow all components to fully air dry before re-assembling and using to prevent mold growth. Establish a regular cleaning routine based on frequency of use. With the proper care, your reusable straws and bottles can provide sustainable hydration for years to come!

Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Reusable Straws and Bottles

How often should I clean my reusable straw?

Reusable straws should be cleaned after each use. Give them a quick rinse and scrub to remove residue. For thorough cleaning, disassemble and wash all parts at least weekly.

What is the best way to clean a reusable water bottle?

The most effective method is to use a bottle brush, mild detergent and hot water. Scrub the inside surfaces thoroughly, rinse soap away, sanitize regularly with bleach or baking soda, and allow to fully air dry.

Can I put reusable straws in the dishwasher?

Most reusable straws are not dishwasher safe. The high heat can warp straw materials. It’s best to wash them by hand for longest lifespan.

How do I get rid of smells in my water bottle?

To remove odors, clean thoroughly with hot soapy water, let sit with a mix of baking soda and vinegar, and air dry fully. Scrubbing with lemon juice can also help freshen smells.

What natural products can I use to clean straws?

Great natural cleaning options include diluted vinegar, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil and baking soda. Create gentle scrubbing solutions.

How do I clean reusable straws and bottles on the go?

Portable cleaning kits are available with small brushes and dissolving tablets. Or bring a reusable solid soap bar for easy cleaning anywhere. Carry extra straws.

Can I put plastic reusable straws in the dishwasher?

No, most plastic reusable straws will warp under high dishwasher heat. Silicone and metal straws hold up better, but handwashing is still recommended.

Is it necessary to disinfect as well as clean reusable bottles?

Disinfecting kills germs that cleaning alone can’t. Use a bleach or vinegar solution periodically for thorough disinfection and to keep bottles fresh.

How can I remember to clean reusable straws regularly?

Keep a supply of backups so you always have a clean one ready. Designate one kitchen drawer for used straws to wash. Add a reminder on your calendar.


Regular cleaning is essential for reusable straws and bottles to keep them hygienic and functional. Following the proper methods using dish soap, bottle brushes, vinegar, and other cleaning solutions will allow you to safely use your sustainable drinking gear for the long haul. Establish a routine for washing straws after each use and bottles at least weekly. With proper care and maintenance, you can rely on reusable straws and bottles to cut back on plastic waste and keep hydrated in an eco-friendly way.