Brenda asked: I have a Contigo coffee travel mug. It seals by a vacuum-like press. How do I clean in the tight places of the lid? I use milk in my coffee and it gets yucky. I almost need a brush the size of a cotton swab, but bendable.
Cleaning the deep grooves of travel mug lids is a common problem and reason that many travel mugs end up in the trash. Whether it’s milk or sugar for coffee or tea, when these items get trapped, they lead to mold and growth that no one wants close to their beverages. To clean these grooves we have to think outside the box and re-task our cleaning tools.
You Will Need:
- Dish soap or detergent
- Warm water
- Soft cloths
- A brush, such as:
- Baby bottle brush (some have nipple brushes as well that are smaller)
- Small brush (such as Wilton tip brush)
- Disposable mascara brush
- Interdental brush
- Pipe cleaner
Steps to Wash the Mug:
- Fill the sink with warm water.
- Add a small amount of dish soap or dish detergent.
- Agitate the water to mix until suds form.
- Place the entire cup into the water so that it is completely submerged.
- Allow the cup to soak for several minutes to loosen any dried on dirt or drinks.
- Use a soft cloth or sponge to wash the surfaces, both inside and out.
- Use the bottle brush or disposable mascara brush to clean the inside of the cup/mug and remove any residue from the beverages on the bottom.
- Use a small brush to clean the grooves and tight areas in the lid. Small bottle brushes are built on a wire and can be bent to reach difficult areas. Manicare is a brand of disposable mascara brushes that also can be bent.
- Rinse all pieces of the cup/mug thoroughly with clean water.
- Dry with a soft cloth.
- Set it on a drying rack and allow it to air dry completely.
Deep Cleaning the Lid
If the above cleaning with a tiny brush was not enough to clean out all the gunk from the lid, here are some deeper cleaning methods.
You Will Need:
- A bowl
- A denture tablet
Steps to Remove the Build-Up:
- After you have finished cleaning the lid with the above method using a tiny brush, fill the cup with water, attach the lid and lock it.
- Shake the cup vigorously. This will help to release more of the gunk that was loosened with the brush but did not come out. It can help to use seltzer or club soda instead of plain water while doing this.
- Empty out the water and gunk by turning the cup upside-down and pressing the release button.
- Fill a bowl with water and put the lid in the bowl.
- Drop in a denture tablet and let it fizz for as long as needed.
- This process can be repeated as many times as needed to remove all of the gunk.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Always store the mugs and cups with the lids removed. This will prevent moisture from becoming trapped in the cup, and ward off mold and other growth. With a Contigo lid, something must be used to hold open the spout however, such as by placing it upside-down on a dishwasher rack post or inserting a hard plastic straw.
- Metal cups can be placed in the dishwasher along with the lids. However, painted, plastic and ceramic cups should be hand washed. All lids can be washed in the dishwasher.
- If you can’t get all of the gunk out of your lid, you may be able to order a replacement lid.
- New models of the Contigo cup have an easy-clean lid that opens up for cleaning inside it.
- There are many great comments on this page with helpful ideas, such as using a water flosser, an air compressor, hydrogen peroxide, or a combination of baking soda and white vinegar (which foam up when combined – sprinkle baking soda into the lid, then pour in the vinegar). Thank you to everyone who has helped!