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How To Clean A Travel Mug And Get Rid Of That Stench

three different travel mugs
three different travel mugs - Gus Gan/Shutterstock

If your cabinets are overflowing with cups, you're not alone. But let's get real: eventually, you'll have to throw some of that stuff away. Travel mugs are designed to help reduce waste, so before you head for the bin, let's start by trying to clean them. This way, you can give away the mug for someone else to use.

The strange odor that you smell in your travel mug -- despite the lack of presence from stains or otherwise -- is from mold. Not cleaning your travel mug regularly can result in a buildup of mold in the insulation of the cup. To prevent the smell from appearing in the first place, make sure to read the instructions for your travel mug before you start using it. It's also a good idea to help your travel mug last longer by having a small rotation of travel cups so you are not overusing one and rushing the cleaning process.

If it's too late, we get it, and we're here to help. To get rid of that mold smell, you'll need to clean the mug thoroughly.

Read more: The Best Kitchen Gadgets You Can Buy

What Tools You Will Need

soap, sponges, and plates
soap, sponges, and plates - Goffkein.pro/Shutterstock

There are a few different materials that are good for getting stubborn smells out of travel mugs. To start, you'll need a simple sponge. Make sure it's clean. Additionally, you should invest in a few other scrubbers and cleaning utensils so you can get into every little crevice of your mug. Tiny brushes might be necessary if your mug has a detachable straw or a small lid. Next, you'll need to have some dish soap on hand. Lastly -- to be extra diligent with your cleaning -- get some distilled white vinegar and baking soda ready, too.

While you might usually clean your dishes in the dishwasher, most travel mugs are crafted with unique materials, meaning they are one of the many things you should not put through the dishwasher. If you disregard that warning and use the machine anyway, the harsh cleaning process of the dishwasher might warp the material of your mug. If this happens, suds and water can seep into the crevices of your travel cup, creating mold that starts growing where you can't see it. Stick with soap and a little elbow grease.

Start By Taking Apart The Cup

water bottle pieces
water bottle pieces - Jenson/Shutterstock

Step one of cleaning all of the bad smells out of your travel mug will be taking the cup apart. To make sure you're getting every part of the travel mug clean, you'll need to give every little part of the cup special attention.

To start this cleaning process, find every removable piece of your mug and separate them from the main drinking vessel. Every travel mug is built differently, so you'll need to inspect the mug thoroughly to find all of those pieces. Some mugs have reusable straws, and others have rubber rings under the lid. Unscrew the cap and flip open any closed hatches.

Once you've detached every piece, lay all of them out on your counter. Make sure to take stock of what pieces you have so you don't lose them in your sink while scrubbing. Taking a photo of all the pieces while they're laid out might be a good idea. Once you're ready, it's time to clean.

Then, Scrub Down The Entire Thing

woman scrubs a reusable straw
woman scrubs a reusable straw - Lazy_bear/Getty Images

Now that you've found and documented all of the pieces of your travel cup, it's time to scrub down each and every one. Grab your dish soap and a clean sponge to get started. Now, gently scrub down all parts of your cup with dish soap and warm water. Using the smaller scrubbers is essential to get rid of any hidden smells, so make sure a cleaning tool is touching the entire surface of every little piece.

After you're done scrubbing, let the cup dry completely on a drying rack. You can also use a microfiber cloth to dry the cup. Repeat this process a few times a month or more if you are using the cup daily.

If you've scrubbed all that you can and the smell is still lingering, not all hope is lost. Now is the time for you to use your vinegar and baking soda.

Lastly, Soak Everything In Vinegar And Baking Soda

baking soda, vinegar, cleaning tools
baking soda, vinegar, cleaning tools - May Lim/Getty Images

If you tried using the classic soap and water trick and the smell is still there, don't worry. There are many different ways to clean, and another popular one is to use vinegar. Vinegar has a lot of unexpected uses, and one of them is a great natural cleaning solution.

Try soaking the cup in a mixture of two tablespoons of white distilled vinegar and warm water. If you really need the extra elbow grease, add a dash of baking soda to the mix, too. You'll only need about a teaspoon to reap the benefits. Let this mixture sit for about twenty minutes, then scrub it down to release any stubborn smells. Now, rinse the cup with warm water and let it dry on the drying rack.

This process kills excess germs that have been hanging around on your cup. Again, if the stench still isn't gone after you've cleaned the mug, don't risk getting sick. You can always buy a new cup.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.