How to Clean a Straw

To cut down on waste, a lot us are using reusable straws. Learn how to clean a straw without a straw cleaner in this quick tutorial!

Dish soap, gloves, sponge and pipe cleaner used to clean a straw.

How to Clean a Straw

At my home, we use a lot of straws. I’ve been trying to ditch the plastic straws and use more of the reusable ones. They are great and all, but instead of throwing them away, we need to wash them. Embarrassing as it may be to admit, I never used to clean them out until now.

One day I noticed some brown colored stuff inside of my son’s straw that attaches to his thermos cup. I was horrified to figure out it was mold growing inside of his straw and my dishwasher wasn’t enough to get rid of that.

Supplies Needed to Wash a Straw

It only takes four items to get that straw looking new:

  • Pipe Cleaner (any color will work)
  • Dish Soap
  • Warm Water
  • Sponge

How Do You Clean a Straw Without a Straw Cleaner?

The secret weapon I use are Pipe Cleaners! Follow these steps:

  1. Get a sponge, dish cloth or brush and clean the exterior of the straw with warm soapy water. Be sure sure to wipe the areas your mouth touches.
  2. Add a little bit of dish soap directly onto the Pipe cleaner and push it through the straw opening. If it’s a longer straw, come in from opposite ends to get it all the way clean.
  3. Rinse off the dish soap and it’s clean.

How Do you Wash Reusable Straws in the Dishwasher?

Most reusable straws are dishwasher safe, but the dishwasher is not the best at getting all the debris out of the inside of a straw.

You will still need to follow the same steps above for how to clean a straw. Next, place the clean straw into your utensil/silverware dish rack to let it run through the dishwasher cycle. It will sanitize it this way and come out super clean.

How Do You Get Mold Out of a Straw?

Mold in a straw simply happens from food particles and water touching the inside of the straw. The particles get trapped in there and can harbor mold.

When you find that brown moldy look in your reusable straw, don’t panic…it’s going to be okay. The acid in your stomach will kill off that moldy water you’ve been drinking, but get it cleaned out as soon as you notice it there.

Soak the moldy straw in warm soapy water for 10 min. That should loosen the mold and follow that will a soapy pipe cleaner to get it all the way out.

The soapy water with the pipe cleaner will clean off the mold, but you should probably disinfect it as well.

How to Disinfect Your Straw

  1. Fill up your kitchen sink with 1/3 cup liquid bleach per 1 gallon of warm water. It doesn’t need to be deep, but just enough that your straws can soak.
  2. Place some weight on top of your straws, like a heavy glass or dish, to keep the straws completely submerged.
  3. Let them soak in the bleach water for 5 min to disinfect, then rinse well with water.

Straw Cleaning Brushes

They make handy straw cleaning brushes online that work great. You will still want to use the steps about washing your straw, but you’ll just use the straw cleaning brush instead of a pipe cleaner.

The Best Reusable Straw

Our family uses straws a lot for smoothies and protein shakes. Check out this post from My Mommy Style to learn all about the best reusable straws to use at home, work or on the go. Find the reusable straw that works best for you and your family.

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  • Perfect! I usually put a dab of dish soap inside the straw and put some water in it, plug the holes, and swish the water inside lol (sounds more complicated, I know!) Can’t wait to try this tactic! Although… I will need to buy some pipe cleaners. lolReplyCancel

    • Melissa Hadfield

      I have totally been doing the soap/water/swish method for awhile, but I could never get my smoothie straws clean. Smoothie straws are the worst! I hope you try this, it’s way easier than swishing…not that there’s anything wrong with swishing. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Terra

    Yes. I have done that before, too. Then, I bought an actual straw cleaner at target, I believe. Inexpensive, sturdy, bristles are strong and scrub very well, has a little handle and I have it hooked up by the sink. We all in our house have personal waterbottles with straws and with our daily smoothies and juicing so it comes in very handy everyday.ReplyCancel

    • Melissa Hadfield

      I didn’t even realize they made an actual straw cleaner! That is awesome!ReplyCancel


MyMommyStyle Meet Camille

Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you're here you'll find something that makes your #momlife easier!


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