How to clean a reusable straw

How to clean the inside of straw

I have a plastic cup from a company I used to work for. I like this mug and it is very convenient for me to drink water with a straw, so I use this a lot. However, after long use, the tip of the straw inside will be dirty.

Does anyone have any tips on how to clean the inside of this straw? A typical cleaning sponge won't work because it's too greasy. I want to be able to use some common household items if possible.


It is best to use a pipe cleaner. Put some washing-up liquid in the pipe cleaner. I like to dip the pipe cleaner in a bottle of soap, but you can pour soap on it. Now slide the pipe cleaner through the straw and rinse it out with water.

If you have a straw that is too wide in diameter for a pipe cleaner, you can braid 2 or 3 together to make it wider.

Use denture cleaner. This creates foams that smell clean and clean deep in the straw.

Use long Q-tips too. These can in some cases push the dirt further, so using soapy water and water pressure will also help.

Additional information

Straw cleaner.

Espresso machine! Heat some steam. If your reusable straw is relatively thick, hit it against the steam jet for a few seconds on each side. Finally, let water run through. Presto! A clean and sterile straw. I do this all the time.

I simply held the straw in an upright position with one of my fingers covering the bottom of the straw. Pour some soap into the straw. Then pour some warm water into the tip of the straw.

At this point, you can just let the water run for a while and then at some point take your finger off the bottom of the straw and rinse the straw out. Or you can also cover the top end with another finger and then shake the straw so that the water hits the edges of the inner straw over and over again. And then rinse.

If you want to make sure it gets as clean as possible, you can repeat the above steps a couple of times.

An adaptation of some of the methods already mentioned, where something is pushed into the straw to remove the dirt.

  • You can Use ear cleaner (Q-Tip) - preferably a clean one. Get it wet and add a little bit of soap and that should be pretty nifty.
  • Floss - If you put some of it in the straw and sit tight and wiggle the straw, it should have good cleaning potential (after all, people brush their teeth with this stuff).
    Alternatives to floss:
    • String
    • Elastic band
    • A chain (like a necklace)
    • A shoelace - a clean shoelace (I think it's most effective as it's similar in width to the straw, so it's nice and tight around the edges)
  • Buy a new one.

Found this on Amazon. Bought something to clear out the drinking straws on reusable water bottles.

Drinking straw cleaning brush - set with 4 stainless steel brushes for drinking straws, drinking glasses, drinking mugs and more!

Inexpensive and should last a long time. Useful for cleaning other tiny hard-to-reach places.

I would put the straw in a container so it can be completely submerged in water. Fill it up, then add a denture tablet or two. Waiting. When it comes out, it should be clean and smell minty. Repeat this process as needed.

You can also try soaking in a tub of white vinegar.

Get some bottle cleaners for the Natural Flow bottles, they are perfect for cleaning drinking straws for plastic cups! Our 4 year old has some toddler sized cups with these plastic straws and we use the natural river cleaner brushes to clean her straws (and the three month old daughters' bottles too!). They're inexpensive and last a long time compared to having to use a new long Q-tip every time you wash the straw.

You can pick them up wherever there is a baby department, WalMart, Walgreens, CVS, Toys R Us, etc.

I put a thin tissue paper in the drinking straw and then pushed the tissue paper with the other plastic straw, couldn't believe how much dirt got on the tissue paper, did it three times, my drinking straw is so clean.

Now for some really unconventional considerations with my newly developed straw cleaning device.

Equipment needed:

  • Dirty straw (otherwise the whole thing won't be needed ...)
  • A couple of balloons (preferably water balloons and small ones!)
  • Elastic band / hair band / cord
  • water
  • Soap (liquid type)
  • Optional - sand or other coarse-grained material (to reduce the abrasiveness of stubborn dirt)

What you have to do:

  1. Fill a water balloon with some water and some soap (enough to squeeze the water out easily) and sand if you wish
  2. Place the straw in a filled balloon and tie it with an elastic band / string / whatever to keep it from falling off
  3. Place another balloon on the other end of the straw and tie it off as well
  4. Squeeze the filled balloon and the water should rush through the straw to the other balloon
  5. Repeat this a few times - the sand would contribute , some stuck Dirt particles too remove (which for your information is absolutely grim, just buy a new straw you think is crazy).
  6. Remove the balloons and place the straw under running water to remove any soap / sand residue
  7. Done.

As I said earlier - this took a bit of rethinking and might involve more effort than it's worth, but it would be fun to see if it's effective!


The number of people who propose only to buy new straws, is horrific. The purpose of reusable straws is to keep these cheap, disposable plastic straws out of the landfill. Say yes to the pipe cleaners and yes to tiny bottle cleaners. Some reusable drinking straws come with mini bottle washers (sized for the drinking straw). You want a hack? Cut a dishcloth into thin strips so you can stick it all the way through the straw.

I cut a wire clothes hanger with some wire cutters (make sure it's longer than your straw) and cut an old tee into tiny squares. Tape the cloth to the end of the hanger and dip through the cloth and throw it away when you're done.

I read all the answers here until I found a solution on my own. What worked for me was just a simple, really thin fan-artist brush. I had it in my brush collection but I hadn't used it to paint yet so it was clean.

Dish soap and water were of course also necessary.

Use a bamboo stick first if it can be easily passed through the pipe, or find iron or steel wire that can fit inside the pipe. Find an old fabric that has a surface covered in lint. Now make a long strip of this fabric and wrap it diagonally around the rod or wire. Wrap it tight, your washer is ready. Now immerse the wrapped stick in soapy water mixed with water for some time. Now use this scrubber to wash your straw. Move the scrubber in and out of the straw as needed to clean it.

Put a q-tip of water into the straw and blow the q-tip out through the other side.

I have similar cups and straws. I just take everything apart and put it in a dishwasher.

I have a water pick for brushing my teeth. You can either use it with just water or with mouthwash. If you use mouthwash and turn it on the strongest setting, or the "pulse" setting, it is great for cleaning straws (rinse a few times with hot water to avoid lingering mouthwash aroma).

In my experience, straw squeegees are best for cleaning straws. Especially after drinking smoothies.

This is the brand that makes it:

If you could soak the straw in bleach and let it sit, it would get rid of the dirt. Soap Q-tips or paper clips with a tiny piece of cloth might work as well.

I fill my large stainless coffee mug with some soap, vinegar, and boiling water and turn it over a few times. Break a pair of chopsticks that come with takeaway Japanese food. Use half of the chopstick to run into the straw. Pull in and out several times, rinsing the swab. Do the same on the other end, rinsing the straws and chopsticks again in clean water, and air dry.

I started with the CRABOLO solution - finger on the hole and filling it with soap and water, but then I ripped open a paper towel and tore it into tiny tiny pieces and filled them up and pushed them into the straw, then I just got them blasted everything out again. Rinse it again with water and then wash the outside.

This brought the taste out of my straw after adding soda to my water cup.

I apply detergent to the wet Q-Tip and push it through with a wooden skewer.

Since these are lifehacks and you are looking for "alternatives," I suggest that while Pipecleaner and other similarly suggested tools are great ideas, the cost of those tools, soap, warm water and your time, far exceeds the cost of buying one Pack would outweigh new straws.

The cost of soap, detergent, etc. is not very high, however Your time is precious .

I see you are in San Francisco and as an example I notice that there are 3 Walmarts there (apparently).

50 straws for $ 0.99 at Walmart

I guess you should be able to use the same straw for about a week (depending on what you drink, how much you drink, and if you rinse it out daily, etc.).

Per year: $ 0.99, 30 minutes (?) To load.

(Prices are just for demonstration purposes very nearly)

  1. Soap - $ 1 per year
  2. Hot water (gas / electricity bills to heat water) $ 2 per year
  3. Pipe cleaner (or similar alternative) $ 2 per year
  4. Your time - really priceless, but say 15 minutes a week (until you get the detergent, soap, warm water, etc.)

Per year: $ 5 per year and 13 hours of your time - that's almost 2 full working days!

As you say it's just the tip of the straw - snap it off .

I am sure you will have enough straw to be happy and the end of the dirt will be gone!

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