Have you ever discovered a travel mug in the bottom of your catch-all purse, realizing it was there for a few days? I have! More than once, much to my shame. As I am what my mother affectionately calls a ‘nuisance guest’, meaning I like a wee splash of milk and sugar in my coffee, you can imagine what the inside of my mug smelled like after ripening well.
I have tried everything from soaking travel mug lids in hot soapy water over night, to scrubbing them with baking soda and vinegar. The latter allowed my inner elementary science fair participant out to play as I created a lovely volcano from the chemical reaction. However, my mug lids still smelled disgusting.
I tried submerging the lids in used coffee grounds overnight as one blog suggested. That was an epic failure and it took forever to clean all the grounds out of the lid’s mechanism.
As I am not fond of consuming bleach, I bypassed one suggestion to soak the lids in a weak bleach solution. Bleach will also compromise the structure of the plastic and may release toxic plastic into your coffee over time, if you use bleach regularly.
I tried using a denture cleaning tablet however this tip only works on stained ceramic mugs. This also works on porcelain mugs but I don’t recommend it on fine china, it caused fine crack lines to appear in a prized tea cup.
Finally, I stumbled across the solution. It so easy, it’s shameful. No scrubbing, no science experiments needed, no fancy coffee travel mug cleaning powders or brushes needed.
Run a table knife or any flat, dull object that will fit along the ridges of your travel mug lid to remove any visible crud.
Allow water to run THROUGH the lid for about 10 seconds by holding open the closing mechanism of the lid, if necessary.
Wash the lid well, using soap and water. If the lid is dishwasher safe, the best place to do this is in the top rack of your dishwasher.
And now for the secret!!
Place the lids in your freezer for 20 – 30 minutes.
The stink should be gone!
Don’t leave overnight or the plastic will pick up the smell of your freezer. That’s a whole different problem, smelly freezers!
This method works for any plasticware, from Tupperware to ziplock containers.
©2014 Katherine Walden