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How to Clean the Built-In Straws on Kids' Sippy Cups & Bowls

When the author found some alarming stuff in her child's sippy-cup straw, she knew she had to warn others.

How to Clean the Built-In Straws on Kids' Sippy Cups & Bowls

How to Clean the Built-In Straws on Kids' Sippy Cups & Bowls

Does Your Toddler's Cup or Dish Have a Built-In Straw?

Many bowls and cups with built-in straws are on the market today. One of the reasons they are so popular is because they provide lots of fun during mealtime. Kids will race to see who can suck up their milk the fastest. My 6-year-old used to love blowing into the straw and watching the bubbles that ensued. I know that kids are not supposed to play around while they eat, but let's face it, they just do!

I used to keep a lot of these bowls and cups handy for visiting playmates who might want to join in the fun, but then I discovered a health menace lurking in those built-in straws. If left uncleaned, after only a couple of uses, the straw becomes a breeding place for some very grimy-looking stuff and some very dangerous bacteria.

Eeeeew! The content of the straw. Ain't you glad you read this?

Eeeeew! The content of the straw. Ain't you glad you read this?

The Dishwasher Won't Clean the Inside of the Straw

Parents just toss these bowls and cups into the dishwasher and never think to even look inside those straws. Even if the machine does a good job, it does not clean the inside of the straw.

Oftentimes, food particles get trapped inside of these straws, even after cleaning. The result is a build-up of debris and harmful bacteria, and drinking from these straws can cause a toddler to be sick.

How to Clean the Inside of Sippy Cups & Bowls With Built-In Straws

Give your sippy cups and bowls a thorough cleaning every so often. Cleaning them is not that hard; it's rather very simple. Here's how:

  • Hand wash sippy cups and bowls after every single meal. Don't use a dishwasher.
  • Soak sippy cups in soapy water after using them for milk or juice, and shake so that the soap reaches into the built-in straw.
  • After washing, turn the cups upside down on the dish rack to drip dry.

Keeping Sippy Cups & Bowls Clean: Tips and Tricks

Some parents' reaction might be to throw out all the bowls and cups with built-in straws, but remember, kids love to drink from straws, even grown-up kids. Instead of throwing them out...

  • Clean after every use. Practice cleaning these cups and bowls after every use, and rinse out those straws with warm, soapy water.
  • Use them for liquids only. Avoid using the sippy cups or bowls for semi-solid foods like cereal, as this might get stuck in the straw.
  • Inspect the straws often. Double-check the straws every once in a while to make sure your cleaning is getting the job done.
  • Replace old plastic dishes. Treat the cups and bowls with built-in straws like you do your toothbrushes. If possible, replace them every 3 to 6 months. If your toddler has an attachment to a specific type or color stock up on their favorites. This will make it easy to swap the old with the new without your child noticing.

Bottom Line: Your Child's Safety

Remember, it's all about keeping your child safe and healthy. So, take all necessary precautions to ensure that you're cleaning those cups and bowls properly after each meal.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Natasha from Hawaii on April 20, 2012:

Wow, it never would have occurred to me that the dishwasher wouldn't get the straws clean. I don't have kids, but I still find this information useful. Thanks!

Comfort Babatola (author) from Bonaire, GA, USA on December 02, 2011:

@ alezafree - You're welcome. Hope the content doesn't gross you out!

Aleza Freeman from Las Vegas, NV on December 01, 2011:

Oh man, we have exactly the bowls and cups pictured above. I am rushing home tonight to clean the straws. Ugh! Thanks for the tips!!!!!!

Comfort Babatola (author) from Bonaire, GA, USA on November 17, 2011:

Thanks Trish Paul for stopping by. Yes, craft fuzzy sticks sure do work. Another great idea!

Trish Paul on November 17, 2011:

craft fuzzy sticks work just as well, pulls the grime right out and if you wash your dishes in HOT water with good dish soap bacteria shouldn't be a problem.

kiran on August 20, 2011:

woww..... where can i buy this from?

Comfort Babatola (author) from Bonaire, GA, USA on August 09, 2011:

Thanks SamboRambo. It's just one of those things you just can't help but think about,that is, keeping our children safe & healthy.

Samuel E. Richardson from Salt Lake City, Utah on August 09, 2011:

Wow! Who would-a thought? I admire your "out-of-the-box" thinking.

BentleyMom on April 29, 2011:

I understand the cups with the straw, but the bowl? We don't buy either of these, kids have to learn how to eat out of a normal bowl with a spoon. And I hate any sippy cup with a straw, it's just more to clean!

Comfort Babatola (author) from Bonaire, GA, USA on April 19, 2011:

@Darlene: I agree with you about the older kids, they were just in it for the fun. They're all grown up now. The whole purpose of this is to inform mothers of toddlers who love these bowls and cups that they need to take extra care in the cleaning process. Kids just want to be kids and have fun, our job is to keep them safe.

Darlene on April 18, 2011:

These bowls are way to much trouble. They are not worth it and these older kids shoud be eating out of a regular bowl and learning some manners.

Runway from New York on April 18, 2011:

Thanks for the tips!