How To Clean a Stainless Steel Tumbler

pink tumbler in front of bushes and pink flowers

How To Clean a Tumbler

So you've snagged yourself a trendy tumbler—congrats! Now, let's talk about how to keep that icon clean so it’s as fresh and hygienic as the day you got it. After all, you want it to stick around for the long haul, right? Luckily, we've got the lowdown on how to clean your 40 oz or 24 oz tumbler so it stays in pristine condition. Let's dive in on how to clean a tumbler!


One of our #1 recommended ways to clean your tumbler. Why, you ask? Well, it keeps it clean and free of bacteria without ever compromising that bright finish on the outside. Start by separating the slider from the lid, since debris can easily get trapped in this area. Next, remove the slider gasket to get a real deep clean. Using a bottle brush, scrub the interior and exterior with warm, soapy water, making sure to reach all the nooks and crannies. Once cleaned, lay out all parts to dry completely before reassembling. Here’s a quick play-by-play for you to remember:

  1. Separate slider from lid
  2. Separate slider gasket 
  3. Use a bottle brush
  4. Lay out to dry


It's best to hand wash the base and lid to avoid any potential damage, but some pieces can go in the dishwasher. The straw can go in the top rack of the dishwasher, and the key mechanism, spout, and both gaskets can be put in the utensil case. After the dishwasher cycle is complete (and that episode you’re watching has ended on a major cliffhanger), grab all those parts, making sure they’re thoroughly dry before reassembling and using your tumbler again. To summarize:

  1. We recommend hand washing the base and lid
  2. Straw can be placed in the top rack of the dishwasher
  3. The key mechanism, spout, and both gaskets can be placed in the utensil case of the dishwasher
  4. Run the dishwasher and use it afterwards!

How To Tackle Tumbler Stains and Odors

Hey we get it—cleaning isn’t the most exciting activity, but it is ridiculously important. Over time, stainless steel tumblers can develop stains and odors that are tough to remove with regular washing. Trust us, you don’t want that! But it can happen to the best of us (even if you stay up on regular cleaning), so if you’ve spotted some stains or your tumbler’s smelling a little funky, let us help you out. Here’s how to clean your stainless steel tumbler.

Baking Soda Paste

The easiest thing to make, and you probably have the ingredients sitting in your kitchen already. All you need is baking soda and water. Mix them together until a thick paste forms, and apply this paste to the stained areas inside your tumbler and scrub with a bottle brush. The gentle yet effective baking soda will help lift stains without damaging the stainless steel. Cool, huh? Once you've scrubbed the stains away, rinse the tumbler thoroughly to remove any baking soda residue.

Ingredients Needed:

    • Baking soda
    • Water
    • Bottle brush

Vinegar Soak 

If those stains and odors aren’t budging, it’s time to bring out the vinegar soak. Just fill your tumbler with white vinegar and let it soak for several hours or overnight. Vinegar's natural acidic properties help break down residues and neutralize odors like no other. After soaking, scrub the tumbler with a bottle brush to remove any remaining debris, then rinse thoroughly to make sure no vinegar smell remains. 

How to use vinegar and baking soda as cleaning solutions

Cleaning instructions:

  1. Scrub and rinse every piece with warm, soapy water. A sponge or straw brush can help you access smaller spaces.
  2. Spray or soak all pieces in distilled white vinegar. Leave in vinegar for several hours.
  3. Mix 1-2 Tbsp baking soda with 2-3 Tbsp of distilled white vinegar and scrub the solution in.
  4. Rinse everything with warm water, or place them on the top rack of your dishwasher.

EcoBrite Tablets

EcoBrite tablets offer an excellent way to keep your FreeSip bottle pristine. What are bottle cleaning tablets? These potent tablets dissolve in water to create a strong cleaning solution that effectively removes stains and odors, almost like magic. They're perfect for our coffee fans who need to clean their SmoothSip coffee tumbler! Just fill your bottle or tumbler with water, drop in an EcoBrite tablet, and let it soak for the recommended duration. Afterward, rinse thoroughly, and your bottle will be clean and fresh. 

Avoid These Tumbler Cleaning Mistakes

If you love your tumbler, you’ve got to treat it right—and avoid these mistakes. 

Another mistake is using bleach on your tumbler. Bleach is too harsh for stainless steel and can cause discoloration and corrosion. Similarly, never microwave your tumbler, as stainless steel is not microwave-safe and can cause sparks or damage your microwave. Lastly, avoid freezing your tumbler. The expansion of liquids when frozen can damage the tumbler's structure. By following these care instructions for tumblers, you can maintain their quality and functionality for years to come.

Use Metal Brushes on Your Tumbler

Using a metal brush on your tumbler is a really common one. Metal brushes can scratch the stainless steel surface, leading to rust and degradation over time. Instead, use bottles with soft brushes. They’re gentle, effective, and won’t have your tumbler looking like it’s been beat up.

Bleach Your Tumbler

Next, put down the bleach. Bleach is a color killer, not to mention it’s too harsh for stainless steel and can cause corrosion. Instead,stick to natural cleaning agents like baking soda and vinegar to keep your tumbler clean without risking damage and leave the bleach for your laundry.

Microwave Your Tumbler

Never—and we mean ever—microwave your stainless steel tumbler. Microwaves and stainless don’t mix. Microwaving it can cause sparks (and by sparks, we pretty much mean an unexpected fireworks show) and completely damage both the tumbler and your microwave. Play it safe and stick to hand washing or dishwashing as recommended.

Freeze Your Tumbler

Last, but certainly not last, keep your tumbler out of the freezer. Liquids expand in the freezer and will damage the tumbler’s structure. There are better, safer ways to keep that water cold… like with ice cubes.

Tumbler Cleaning Routine

Want to keep your tumbler looking and smelling fresh? Here's how to do it right. Clean your tumbler after each use to avoid that nasty build up of residue and bacteria. Trust us, leaving your favorite latte in there for days is not a vibe. Prompt cleaning helps prevent stains and odors from setting in, making your life (and your tumbler’s) a whole lot easier. And don’t forget to dry it thoroughly after washing to avoid any moisture mishaps. Follow these simple instructions for how to clean a tumbler, and you’ll enjoy a clean, fresh tumbler every time.

Grab Your Next Stainless Steel Tumbler With Owala!

Looking for your next stainless steel tumbler? Look no further than Owala! Our 40 oz tumblers aren’t just pretty faces, but they’re also built tough to handle all your needs. Crafted with high-quality stainless steel, Owala tumblers hold up to daily use while keeping your beverages at the perfect temperature for hours. Whether you're commuting, working out, or hitting up some epic trails, Owala is perfectly suited to your lifestyle. Plus, our tumbler colors are just too good to miss. Ready to get yours?