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How To

How To Clean Reusable Water Bottles, Food Containers, and Straws

Jun 22, 2020

Reusable food and beverage containers make sustainability in the kitchen simple, but cleaning them and removing odors and stains can be tricky. Here, we break down how to properly clean everything from silicone food bags to reusable straws and everything in between.

Stasher Bags & Other Silicone Food Storage Bags

To clean: Pop in the dishwasher or handwash with warm water and Dish Detergent and Dish Brush.

For odors: If the bag smells like last week’s marinara, soak the bag in two capfuls of Scented Vinegar and warm water for at least 30 minutes. Wash as normal. Allowing your bag to sit in the sun for an hour or two can also help freshen unwanted odors.

For stains: If it’s stained, (again, the marinara sauce!) soak the bag in hot water and a capful of All-Purpose Bleach Alternative until the stain has lifted.

how to wash reusable garbage bags

Plastic Food Containers

To clean: Handwash with warm water, Dish Detergent, and Dish Brush. If using the dishwasher, place on the top rack to avoid the plastic from melting or distorting.

For odors: Plastic is porous, so odors from meals past are apt to stick around. Soak the container in a couple of capfuls of Scented Vinegar for at least 30 minutes, then wash.

For stains: Same deal as above for stains—because of plastic’s porosity, color-rich foods are likely to leave a tint behind. Try soaking the container in a capful of All-Purpose Bleach Alternative and hot water to lift the discoloration. To avoid future stains, line the container with parchment or wax paper before adding your food.

Metal Food Containers & Water Bottles

To clean: Avoid using sponges while washing, as any strange smells from the sponge can transfer on to the metal. Instead, fill with warm water and Dish Detergent and use a Dish Brush. For water bottles, swish Glass & Crystal Cleaning Brush along the inside of the bottle to remove buildup. To avoid these items from getting damp and musky, be sure they are completely dry before sealing and storing them. We recommend wiping excess water with our Lint-Free Cleaning Cloths, then allowing to sit overnight.

For odors: Usually some Dish Detergent and warm water are enough to eliminate odors on metal, but if you detect any lingering stenches, fill the container with two capfuls of Scented Vinegar and warm water and allow to soak for a minimum of 30 minutes, then wash again.

For rust: If rust occurs, wet a Copper Cloth, add a squirt of Dish Detergent, and gently affected area to lift.

how to clean reusable straws

Glass Food Containers & Water Bottles

Wash these as you would your glassware—with warm, soapy water or in the dishwasher. If your container or bottle has a plastic lid, refer to the plastic container tips above to avoid stink and stains.

Metal or Silicone Straws

To clean: First, rinse the inside of the straw as soon as you’re done using it to avoid any buildup from hardening. Seal the bottom end with your finger and place the top end of the straw beneath a hot running faucet. Hold for a few seconds. Now let the water run through the bottom and repeat a few times. Next, squeeze some Dish Detergent into the inside of the straw. If you don’t have a special straw brush, use a pipe cleaner or even a piece of dental floss or string to work the soap into the inside of the straw.

Another option is to add the straws to a pot of water, add two capfuls of Scented Vinegar, then bring the pot to a boil for 10 minutes. Let the water cool down, then rinse the straws with water and Dish Detergent.

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