Silicone straws are a safe, reusable, durable, flexible, and eco-friendly substitute for plastic. The upfront cost is greater than that of plastic straws, but the reusability more than compensates for the initial expense. Besides, you can clean and maintain silicone straws with minimal effort.
Silicone straws are generally dishwasher safe. The only exceptions are those containing any adhesive or glue, plastic parts, and other additives that are unsuitable for cleaning and the temperatures inside a dishwasher. Check the manufacturer’s label to be sure.
Silicone straws don’t contain any plastic, but the siloxane curing process during manufacturing may involve additives or agents to attain some physical and chemical characteristics. This guide discusses everything about safely cleaning silicone straws in a dishwasher and more.
Why Silicone Straws Are Dishwasher Safe
The silicone used to make reusable drinking straws is a polymer of metalloid silicon and other materials. Silicone straws are an elastomer, a rubber-like material. This silicone rubber has unique physical and chemical characteristics, not identical to those of organic latex or resin.
Standard-quality silicone straws endure temperatures up to 482°F (250°C), much higher than the maximum heat inside dishwashers. Also, silicone’s water repellent and unreactive nature with soap ensure the straws get cleaned without any degradation.
Caveat: Use Ordinary Dishwashing Soap
Silicone doesn’t react with regular soap or detergent. However, any special ingredient in a soap or cleaning agent can lead to residual traces and avoidable buildup inside silicone straws, potentially dirtying and clogging the pipe in due course.
Some soaps or cleaning agents contain oils, antimicrobial chemicals, and other ingredients for different purposes, such as moisturizing. Any such material that can stick or cling to a silicone straw poses a problem. Also, avoid any soap or detergent with infused fragrance.
How To Clean Silicone Straws in a Dishwasher
Follow these tips to clean silicone straws in a dishwasher:
- Use a bristle brush to remove gunk from inside the silicone straws.
- Rinse the straws under a faucet to eliminate the gunk and other debris.
- Put them in the dishwasher like you would any other utensil.
- If there’s mold inside a silicone straw, opt for manual cleaning.
Many brands offer a cleaning brush or two with their silicone straws. Several companies include a portable case or pouch, too. You may use such cases or bags for regular storage and carry them around when necessary.
Here are a few best selling silicone straws on Amazon.com:
- Flathead Reusable Silicone Drinking Straws: With a cleaning brush and travel case. The set has 10 BPA-free straws, straight or bent, for 20 to 30 oz (600 to 900 ml) tumblers.
- Hiware Reusable Silicone Straws: With a pair of cleaning brushes. These long and flexible BPA-free straws for up to 30 oz (900 ml) tumblers don’t taste like rubber.
- Onmier’s 12 Pack Silicone Straws: These have 6 each of straight and bent pieces. These 10 inches (254 mm) long straws come with two cleaning brushes and a storage bag.
- Senneny’s Set of 6 Silicone Straws: These are bent and long enough for up to 30 oz (900 ml) tumblers. Choose between 6 mm (0.24 inches) and 8 mm (0.31 inches) diameters.
How To Clean Mold in Silicone Straws
You can clean mold and kill the spores using hot water, soap, a cleaning brush, or dental floss. Also, you may occasionally use an antimicrobial solution, such as distilled white vinegar, chlorine bleach, and baking soda to eliminate different bacteria and fungi.
There are different methods to clean mold in silicone straws using the cited solutions. You could put the mold-laden silicone straws into a pot of boiling water. Turn off the heat, add some dishwashing soap, and scrub the straws using the bristle brush or dental floss.
You may prepare a bath in your sink for the silicone straws. If an ordinary soap doesn’t work, use distilled white vinegar or chlorine-based bleach to kill various germs and microorganisms. Silicone is resistant to the oxidation caused by chlorine, and the material surface is non-permeable.
Rinse the straws well, and you won’t have any bleach, vinegar, or baking soda traces and residual buildup. You can get rid of the mold before putting the silicone straws in the dishwasher, so you don’t have to worry about leftover spores.
It’s safer to clean reusable silicone straws after every use. If you use them regularly, you should disinfect these straws at least once a week.
The Opacity Problem of Silicone Straws
For all the benefits and practicalities, silicone straws have one significant problem, opacity. You cannot see through most silicone straws, thus encountering two issues.
- You won’t really see a liquid when drinking, so you must feel it.
- Residual traces and buildup are hard to glimpse. Hence, the straw may be unclean.
The opacity problem has a solution, of course. You can consider translucent or clear straws that allow you to detect signs of stains, uncleanliness, and mold inside the silicone straws.
Here are two translucent or clear straws from Amazon.com that you can consider:
- SPLF 12 Pack Translucent Silicone Straws are a suitable option. These extra-long collapsible straws are made of premium-grade silicone and BPA-free.
- You’ll also find Veskaoty’s Clear Silicone Straws for Toddlers and Kids. This set of 12 has flexible 6.7 inches (170 mm) straws for 6 to 10 oz (180 to 300 ml) tumblers.
The opacity problem isn’t equally challenging for everyone. Thus, you may or may not consider translucent and clear silicone straws. Many people prefer a wider range of colors, whether bright and glossy or subtle and matte.
Silicone Straws Are Not Necessarily Oven Safe
Dishwasher temperatures range from below 140°F to around 200°F (60°C-93.33 °C) during the main and rinse cycles.
Silicone straws begin to deteriorate when temperatures range from 482°F to 752°F (250°C to 400°C). Standard or food-grade silicone used to make the straws may harden and turn brittle at temperatures closer to 750°F (almost 400°C).
The material may combust or auto-ignite at around 842 °F (450 °C). Silicone doesn’t melt like plastic, but it combusts and disintegrates.
Hence, don’t put silicone straws mistakenly in ovens, including microwaves. You won’t know the exact heat-tolerance threshold of a particular type of silicone used in a straw. Also, keep silicone straws away from direct flame.