If you’re a woke millennial, you’d know that disposable plastic straw contributes to a substantial amount of plastic waste in the world. According to National Geographic, “One study published earlier this year estimated as many as 8.3 billion plastic straws pollute the world’s beaches.” In fact, head of “eateries outreach” at non-profit group Plastic-Lite Singapore, Mr Pek Shibao told ChannelNewsAsia that Singapore’s usage of straws is “excessive”. With international backlash against the use of plastic straws, some restaurants and food places in Singapore have stopped providing disposable plastic straws for their patrons.

And it seems more people are switching to using metal, glass or bamboo straws.

However, did you know that the carbon footprint a reusable metal straw leaves behind is a lot higher than that of a disposable plastic straw? This means that if we are really aiming for sustainability, our reusable straw has to be used for a long time to make the switch worth it. And since you’re gonna be using your straw for a long time, it’s important to keep it clean because imagine all the bacteria—or even mold—that can accumulate in that tiny cylindrical metal. Gross.

One common mistake that people make is to simply rinse their straws with water after each use. While this might make your straw appear clean on the outside, there might still food debris (or remnants of bubble tea pearls) trapped on the inside of your straw and this results in bacteria buildup. To ensure your straw is kept clean on the inside and out, here is a step-by-step guide on how to properly clean your reusable straw! 

Step 1: Rinse your straw

When you are done using your straw, rinse it with water to ensure that nothing is caught inside and hardens there. To really give your straw a proper rinse, use your finger to cover the bottom of the straw to trap water in the straw. Then, release and allow the water to flow through. This is especially useful when there are little bits and chunks trapped in your straw, perhaps from your protein shake or smoothi). If there are still food debris trapped inside and the water is unable to flush the remains out, you can also try blowing through the straw. 

Step 2: Clean the inside of your straw

To clean the inside of your straw effectively, we highly recommend you get a straw brush which can be purchased for just $1 on Ezbuy here. This tool is really worth the small investment because it will help you to clean your straw thoroughly. Apply some dish soap onto your straw brush and insert it into your straw before scrubbing it like how you would normally scrub your dishes. Do this from both ends of your straw to ensure the brush reaches the whole length. If you are looking for an even more thorough cleansing, add some baking soda onto your brush. This will really help in getting out any debris that is still trapped inside.

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Step 3: Clean the outside of the straw

While the inside of your straw is now clean, make you remember to also clean the outside of your straw with some dish soap as well. Areas to pay more attention to are both ends of your straw, especially the end you drink from since most bacteria tends to build up there. If you wear lipstick, be sure to scrub it clean of any lipstick stain!

Step 4: Rinse again

Last but not least, remember to rinse off when you are done cleaning your straw. Run some warm water through your straw and there, you’re done! 

It wasn’t too hard right? If you are looking to buy a metal straw, here are our recommendations.