Eco-friendly replacements for single-use objects like disposable plastic straws are booming in popularity as the concern over climate change increases. Reusable straws are just one of the many sustainable choices – however, it’s important to know how to clean reusable straws as they can harbor bacteria if not cleaned properly!
The easiest method for cleaning reusable straws is with pipe cleaners or a straw cleaning brush with dish soap. First, rinse your reusable straws with clear water, add a bit of soapy water to a pipe cleaner and push it into the straw. Give the straw a good scrub, and then rinse with clear water.
There is a lot more to know about keeping reusable straws clean – cleaning without a straw brush, sanitizing your straws, or getting rid of mold is all information you can discover below! Furthermore, you’ll find a list of the best reusable straws to help you decide which ones to get.
How To Clean Reusable Straws Without Pipe Cleaners
If you’ve lost your pipe cleaner or don’t possess a straw cleaning brush or never bought them, it is possible to clean your reusable straws without one. Below are four simple steps to clean reusable straws without a pipe cleaner:
- Rinse with hot water: The first step is to rinse your pipe cleaner immediately after using hot water – the sooner, the better. You can rinse via a tap or boil water and then run it through. The water must be hot to loosen any sediment left in the straw.
- Soak the straw: After you have rinsed, create a solution of warm soapy water in a bowl and leave your straw to soak. The longer you leave it, the cleaner it will be, so if you aren’t in a rush to use it again, it is best to leave it to soak. Alternatively, if you want to be extra sure use boiling water.
- Rinse the straw with clean water: Now that your straw has soaked through, you can run clean warm water through it, and it should be spotless! If not, you can repeat the above steps.
- Place the straw in the dishwasher: If you have a dishwasher, your last step should be placing your straw into the dishwasher for one final clean.
Once the cleaning process is finished it’s always best to allow time to air dry the straws before using them again.
How Often Should You Clean A Reusable Straw?
It is best to clean reusable straws after every use. This will prevent a build-up of sediment and other debris inside the straw, which can harden and become a pain to try to remove later. Furthermore, leaving old liquid inside the straw leaves room for bacteria to grow.
If you’re feeling a little lazy, a trick I found to work well is to place the straw in a soap solution and leave it in there to soak until you’re ready to clean. The benefit of this is that you do not have to clean it straight away, and nothing hardens on the inside of the straw in the meantime.
Sanitizing Your Reusable Straws
On top of cleaning your reusable straws after every use, it is also a good idea to sanitize them regularly. Some bacteria may grow and be stubborn when it comes to the removal with pure soap and warm water; therefore, weekly sanitizing is a good idea.
Sanitizing your reusable straws can be done with one of two things:
- Chlorine Bleach
- Distilled white vinegar
Chlorine Bleach. If you want to use the chlorine bleach method, then all you need to do is fill a bowl with warm water, add a tablespoon of bleach and leave your straws to soak for a maximum of 15 minutes. Rinse your straw thoroughly afterward with clear water and allow it to dry fully before use.
While the bleach method is common and perfectly safe, I prefer using distilled white vinegar. I find that this method works well and prevents me from rewashing my straw hundreds of times to remove the bleach smell.
If you are someone who gets anxious to use bleach on something you want to drink out of (just like me), then you will prefer the distilled white vinegar method.
Distilled white vinegar. Take one cup of hot water and two tablespoons of distilled white vinegar and mix well. Place your straw into the solution and leave it to sit for 15 minutes. The ratio is 1 cup to 2 tablespoons of vinegar so if you need more than a cup, adjust the ratio accordingly.
How Do You Get Mold Out Of A Reusable Straw?
If you have left your straw with some smoothie residue sitting for a bit too long, you may have mold inside the straw. Do not panic – you do not have to throw this straw away. In fact, getting rid of mold is easy!
The first thing to do is make a solution of boiling water and dishwashing liquid. The water needs to be boiled to kill the mold inside the straw. Make sure your straw is completely submerged in the water and let it sit for a minimum of 10 minutes.
Once 10 minutes is up, run clean water through your straw to clear it. Then, take a pipe cleaner or a straw cleaning brush and run it through your straw until all the mold is gone.
After completing the above process, I like to sterilize my straw with chlorine bleach or distilled white vinegar (as discussed previously). This ensures that any leftover mold, invisible to the naked eye, is killed.
Types Of Reusable Straws
If you haven’t bought your reusable straws yet but are busy searching, you have probably noticed how many there are in the market – there are hundreds of brands and types to choose from!
There are a number of other things to keep in mind when choosing straws, for example, are they dishwasher safe? or can you sanitize by boiling glass straws?
Lucky for you, I’ve compiled a table of the different brands of reusable straws and what they are best for. If you are picky about what it is made of, then look at the material column to narrow down your choices.
OXO Good Grips
Stainless steel with silicone tips
Silicon straw brand
Stainless steel straw brand
Glass straw brand
Cookut Bam Bam
Bamboo straw brand
How Long Do Reusable Straws Last?
Now that you’ve seen the various types of straws available, it is a common question to wonder how long these straws last. The answer is simple: These straws should last a lifetime if taken care of properly.
Stainless steel, silicon, and glass straws are all expected to last a long time. Bamboo reusable straws, on the other hand, are expected to be replaced since bamboo as a material is biodegradable, decreasing in quality over the years.
If you do not want to replace your straw every few years, it is best to stay away from bamboo straws. Stainless steel straws are the most popular choice, stainless steel – metal straws are easy to clean and are very durable.
Ditching disposable plastic straws and adopting reusable straws is a great way to go green. And keeping reusable straws clean is an easy thing to do! A simple process involving a straw brush, and hot soapy water will keep your reusable straw squeaky clean for future use!
It is best to clean your straw immediately after use, and additional weekly sanitizing is a great idea. Lastly, it’s time to select the ideal reusable straw for you by looking at precisely what you want it for and what it is made of.