How To Clean Your Travel Mug The Right Way

A quality travel mug will last you several years. It will let you enjoy hot tea or coffee for many hours. It is also an environmentally friendly choice, replacing single-use paper cups. To help you keep your travel mug clean and fresh for a long time, we have made this guide that contains useful tips for proper care of your travel mug.

How often should you clean your travel mug?

Most of the manufacturers recommend a thorough rinse and clean after each use. Of course, we all know that does not always happen. Sometimes it is not possible to clean your mug between refills at the office or gas station. No worry – a simple rinse under running water should be enough. Just remember to thoroughly wash the mug with soap at home.

You should wash the mug and its lid often because coffee, tea, milk, sugar, and other contents leave stains and particles in the mug. If they are left uncleaned, the taste and smell can change for the worst. In addition, milk particles, coffee grounds, or tea leaves can be a prime growing spot for mold or bacteria. 

Another factor that determines how often you should wash your travel mug is your choice of drinks. For example, if you enjoy plain water, coffee or tea, you will have to thoroughly clean the mug less often – every two or three days. However, if you enjoy your coffee or tea mixed with milk and sweetened with sugar, cleaning should be done every day.

It helps to make a habit out of cleaning your mug often. A quick rinse under running water after each drink will keep the mug clean and fresh, and a more thorough wash with soap will destroy bacteria and prevent stains. 

How to keep your travel mug clean and fresh?

We recommend cleaning your travel mug with soap or dishwashing detergent often. Since these mugs are long and narrow, it’s difficult to reach the deepest corners of their inner containers with just your hands. That’s why we recommend using a brush.

It’s important to follow the user’s manual and manufacturer’s recommendations because some mugs are dishwasher safe, but others are not. For some mugs you can clean the lid in a dishwasher, but not the entire mug.

Take apart the lid of your travel mug

To thoroughly handwash your travel mug, you have to follow these four simple steps. You will need dishwashing detergent or soap, a brush, and a bowl.

Step 1. Mix warm water and dishwashing detergent (or soap) in a bowl.

Half a teaspoon is enough to make foam that will soak in and remove stains from the lid. Mix it carefully.

Step 2. Put the lid in the bowl. 

If the lid has removable parts, take it completely apart. Once you have mixed this cleaning solution, submerge the lid in the bowl. Leave it to soak in for 10 min.

Step 3. Clean the mug with water and dishwashing detergent or soap

While the lid enjoys a nice and relaxing bath in the bowl, it’s a good time to focus on the mug itself. Pour a couple of drops of dishwashing detergent or soap into the bowl, and clean the mug under running tap water. You can use a brush to scrape the inside of the container, and a sponge to clean the outside. 

Step 4. Rinse and dry the mug and lid. 

After washing both parts with water and soap, rinse them under running tap water. Place both parts separately in the drying rack to let air inside them.

How to remove deep stains?

Sometimes soap and water are not enough to remove coffee and tea stains. If you, like us, enjoy black tea, it will leave brown stains that are very hard to remove.

After a while, the inner container can become brown, like in this Kambukka Etna. We used it for two weeks, filling it with black tea at least three times a day, and its inner walls became solid brown. The usual methods were not enough to get rid of these stains.

That’s why we had to find something stronger that would completely get rid of these stains. We recommend using vinegar and baking sode. This method is recommended by many brands, like Contigo, because it’s a safe way to get rid of even the deepest stains in your travel mug.

A teaspoon of baking soda will clean the deepest stains

Step 1. Mix baking soda and vinegar in the mug.

A teaspoon of baking soda and around 3oz of vinegar should be enough to loosen even the deepest stains. When you mix them, they will start bubbling – that means that they are making a chemical reaction and they are working!

Step 2. Close the lid and shake the mug.

You should shake it for around a minute to thoroughly and evenly disperse the liquid and cover every spot. Pour everything out in the sink afterward.

Step 3. Scrub the mug with a brush.

After that, it’s business as usual – the vinegar and soda have done their jobs and the stains should be easier to remove. Pour a bit of dishwashing detergent or soap and clean the mug with the previous method.

Step 4. Rinse and dry the mug and the lid.

Rinse every part under running tap water, and leave them on the drying rack overnight. This method is surprisingly effective to get rid of deep stains, smells or coloring in the mug’s inner container. Using these four steps, we made this Kambukka Etna almost brand-new! You can repeat this method every time you want to deep clean your travel mug.

Comparison - before and after deep cleaning travel mug

We hope that this guide was useful to you. Proper use and care will make your thermal mug last a long time to let you enjoy your favorite drinks in a practical and environmentally friendly way.  

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