How To Clean Reusable Metal Straws
The inside of your reusable straws may have lots of gunk and smoothie build-up, so make sure you’re keeping them free of mold and food particles. Learn how to clean reusable metal straws in the most effective way and with the best non-toxic cleaner!
Every family who pursues natural and holistic living goes through several common rites of passage.
Buying your first bottle of kombucha.
Putting your family on intentional, well-chosen supplements.
Using natural remedies instead of antibiotics for the first time.
All of these were mile-markers in our family’s journey from the conventional to the alternative world.
Another stepping stone?
Investing in reusable metals straws.
I know, that sounds silly! It is silly! But, we’ve also been using the same stainless steel drinking straws in 2012.
We’ve likely saved hundreds — possibly thousands — of plastic straws from landfills and oceans. And, that’s not silly, friends.
Even when you don’t realize it, those little decisions and small steps — those seemingly insignificant rites of passage — go a LONG way toward improving not only your family’s health, but the planet!
What I didn’t know or even really consider was how to clean reusable metal straws…
No, the dishwasher isn’t enough.
I mentioned purchasing our stainless steel straws in 2012. I’m typing this at the end of 2019.
Our metal straws have only ever been put through the dishwasher. In 7 years.
It never occurred to me to clean them any other way!
Dishwashers sterilize things, right? Dishwashers get crud off, right?
Yes and no.
Although the outside of our reusable straws were squeaky clean, crud-free, and sterile, the insides were far from it.
We just didn’t know they weren’t getting a proper cleaning. Our straws have bent necks; it’s not like you can shine a flashlight in there and see 7 years of smoothie build-up.
Gag. Me. With. A. Spoon.
I admit my total ignorance. I just didn’t realize the dishwasher wasn’t enough to clean our straws — until I used a straw that was, ahem, clogged.
After making my PMS Smoothie one afternoon, I tried sucking it through one of our straws, but nothing was coming up. I tossed that straw in the sink and grabbed another one. It, too, seemed clogged. I could get a little bit of smoothie, but it wasn’t as much as usual.
After 3 tries, I found a straw that I could sip out of. But that got me wondering, “What if our straws are clogged….?”
So, I asked my husband to order some pipe cleaners so I could troubleshoot the clogged straws.
Be prepared if you’ve never cleaned your straws!
My first straw-cleaning experience was a rude awakening. I was not at all prepared for the gross crud that came out of them!
So, if you’ve never cleaned your reusable straws before, 1.) know you’re not alone, and 2.) be prepared! What’s about to come out is so freaking disgusting. 😛
Check this out:
That’s what I got on my pipe cleaner after the first pass through the first straw!
I absolutely was not prepared for gunk like that. But then, I went back through the straw the other way…
Like a cloud of smoke, more black and brown gunk came out the other way!
Every time I put the pipe cleaner in the straws and brought it back out again, more gross crud. 7 years of smoothie build-up, y’all.
It came out in large globs, small globs, and in specks.
And each time, I was gesticulating loudly about how disgusting, how appalled, how unbelievable it was that we had been using these straws (and likely sucking up rotten smoothie gunk) for all these years!
Several weeks later, I’m still grossed out. 😛
So, I figured I’m (hopefully) not the only person who didn’t think about scrubbing out the insides of their metal drinking straws. If you’re willing to go there with me and (possibly) discover that your straws might also be in need of a good cleaning, I’m going to share how to clean reusable metal straws.
How to Clean Reusable Metal Straws
You will need:
- liquid castile soap, such as Dr. Bronner’s
- a sink, sink stopper, and very hot water
- sturdy pipe cleaners — craft store pipe cleaners will not work
When we bought our metal straws in 2012, they didn’t come with cleaners. Nowadays, the pipe cleaners come with the straws. I’m 100% positive that, if a pipe cleaner had been included with my straws, I’d have known how to clean them sooner!
Fill the bottom inch of your sink with very hot water and add about a teaspoon of Dr. Bronner’s soap. This is an all-natural, non-toxic soap that works really well for cleaning projects.
Add the straws and let them soak for a few minutes.
Grab your pipe cleaner and go to town…
Go up one end of the straw and all the way out the other end. Then, bring the pipe cleaner back through the opposite way.
After each pass through the straw, rinse the straw and pipe cleaner in the hot, soapy water and repeat.
If your straws have never been cleaned this way, you will likely need several passes, scrubs, and rinses.
In fact, my hot water got so brown and gross, I drained it, rinsed the sink out, and started over with fresh soapy water.
Just keep scrubbing and rinsing until, at last, your pipe cleaner comes out clean. It may take some time and elbow grease, but you’ll eventually get it all out.
Reusable Metal Straw Maintenance
Now, I know that it’s necessary to clean my reusable metal straws with the pipe cleaner after every, single use.
Even, if I drink water out of my straw, I clean it!
Actually, I’ve stopped putting my metal straws in the dishwasher because who knows what food bits are getting squirted into my straws while they’re in there??
So, basic metal straw maintenance…
- Run the pipe cleaner through the straw to clean it after each use, including water.
- Don’t put metal straws in the dishwasher.
- If you’re concerned about the outside of the straws (where you put your mouth) being sterile, you can follow each wash by passing a cotton ball of rubbing alcohol over the straw. Let the alcohol dry and evaporate before the next use.
- Store metal drinking straws in an upright position, such as in a jar, so they can always drain properly.
More Natural Cleaning Methods & Recipes…
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