How to Clean Your Travel Mug—and Why You Should

Updated: Mar. 01, 2023

A travel tumbler is a commuter's BFF. It keeps your hot drinks hot and your cold drinks cold. But when was the last time you really cleaned yours?

Travel mugs are a practical drinking accessory for commuters, campers, hikers, tea enthusiasts and coffee connoisseurs who are always on-the-go. However, even though these reusable mugs are durable, they are certainly not invincible. Used day in and day out—even with regular rinsing and washing—these mugs can become home to molds that can make you sick.

Don’t stop using them, though! They’re an easy way to go green (and we’ll show you how to stay healthy).

How Mold Could Cause Health Problems (and How Did It Get in Your Mug?)

Chances are that your mug might be dirty because you try to clean it. Most travel mugs are not completely dishwasher safe. However, if you pop your mug in the dishwasher to clean it, water can seep between the inner and outer layers of insulation. When the water gets trapped, mold can grow. Also, the rubber ring that serves as a seal on some lids can also trap water and grow mold.

According to the USDA, consuming mold can be dangerous since some types of mold may cause serious and severe respiratory problems and allergic reactions.

How to Clean Your Travel Mug

There are a few simple and effective ways to safely and deeply clean your travel mug—and yes, skip the dishwasher:

With Soap

Using a clean sponge, wipe your mug and lid down with warm, soapy water. Rinse them quickly under running water. Dry with a paper towel or a microfiber cloth.

(Ahem…how clean is your sponge?)

With Vinegar

Fill your mug with a mixture of a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar and warm water. Let the solution sit for about 15 minutes, then rinse it out. You can also clean the lid by soaking it in vinegar and water.

With Baking Soda

Using a new toothbrush, scrub extra-stubborn, hard-to-reach spots with a paste made from equal parts baking soda and water. Check out 50 more clever tricks for cleaning with baking soda.

By skipping the dishwasher and staying diligent about cleaning, you can keep healthy and enjoy a nice cup of joe. Have you tried ours yet?

If none of these work, try the Bottle Bright tablets to make your travel mug sparkle. Best part? They’re made of safe, non-harmful ingredients.