Image of a water bottle

Quick tips to thoroughly clean a reusable water bottle and straw.

Last Updated: December 21, 2021

If you're already cleaning your drinking implements every day—bravo! If not, read on to learn more about why you should and how to do so.

Many of us likely wait for a visual or olfactorial cue—black mold, a funky smell—before the internal alarm sounds and we attempt a good scouring of our reusable water bottles and straws.

Studies have shown, however, that harmful bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant strains, can crop up in between washings — eek!

If you're already cleaning your drinking implements every day—bravo! If not, read on to learn more about why you should and how to do so. Then give yourself a pat on the back for having already made the switch to reusable bottles and strawsTEXT.

Are reusable straws and water bottles sanitary?

In a 2016–2017 study published in The Journal of Exercise Physiology, 30 water bottles and shakers from the patrons of two different gyms in Brazil were swabbed for bacteria. Eighty-three percent were contaminated with bacterial growth due to inadequate hygiene practices. This included harmful strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli.

These findings not only indicate that cleaning our reusable water bottles isn't always top of mind, but that daily washing of reusable bottles, coupled with proper hand hygiene, is the best way to combat bacteria spread.

And although they didn't test for reusable straws, we recommend cleaning both daily, as you would anything that touches your lips.

What is the easiest way to clean a reusable straw and water bottle?

If your water bottle and reusable straw are dishwasher safe, the fastest and easiest way is to pop your bottle in the top rack and your reusable straw in the silverware basket.

Be sure to remove your water bottle's cap, interior straw, bite valve, etc. as these hard to reach places are prime areas for mold and bacteria to hide and grow.

If your water bottle and straw are not dishwasher safe, then depending on the degree of washing they need, you have some options!

Option 1: Daily bottle wash with soap and water

How to wash

  1. Fill a sink or basin with hot water and 2 squirts of dish soap. Agitate the water to create a soapy solution.
  2. Submerge your straw and bottle (along with its parts that can be disassembled) and allow to soak for up to 5 minutes.
  3. For your straw, run a straw brush or pipe cleaner through one end and out the other side to remove any smoothie particles or other stubborn leftovers.
  4. For your bottle, use a bottle brush to scrub the exterior and interior, every nook and cranny that can be reached.
    • A small toothbrush can come in handy for hard-to-reach spaces too, such as the grooves in the cap and neck where the lid screws on.
  5. Rinse and allow to air dry.
Mrs. Meyers cleaning products and Grove Co. cleaning caddy

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Option 2: How to deep clean a water bottle with vinegar and baking soda

How to wash with vinegar

  1. Follow the Daily Wash guide above.
  2. Then, fill your bottle with a 1:4 ratio of vinegar to water. Shake and leave overnight.
  3. Fill a small basin with the same 1:4 ratio of vinegar to water and soak your straw, your bottle's cap, bite valve, etc. (disassembled) overnight.
  4. Rinse water bottle, straw, and separated pieces with water. Allow to air dry.

Baking soda option

  1. Follow the Daily Wash guide above.
  2. Fill your bottle with 2-4 teaspoons of baking soda. Shake and leave overnight.
  3. Fill a small basin with 2-4 teaspoons of baking soda and warm water and soak your straw and separated pieces overnight.
  4. Rinse and allow to air dry.

Grove Tip

How to wash bottles that hold water or coffee

To clean metal water bottles with a wide-mouth that double as your coffee and tea thermos, fill it with hot water and soap.

Next, insert a steel wool or scouring pad and use the butt-end of your bottle brush as an extension of your hand to scrub out any coffee and tea stains.

For a visual guide to place near your sink, click here.

Final Grove tips

  1. Don't forget about your reusable straw bag or container! This will also harbor bacteria if you're not cleaning your straw every time before you put it back in. Give it a wipe down or a wash, either by hand or in the washing machine, according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Most likely your water bottle will have a rubber gasket to keep it watertight. Bacteria can get easily trapped underneath. Use a fine object such as a toothpick to remove your gasket before doing a vinegar or baking soda soak.
  3. Check out our guide on reusable straws—ones made of different materials and the pros and cons of each. This is a good place to start if you're new to reusable straws or are curious about switching to a different type!

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