Close this search box.

How to Clean Your Stanley Cup (No, Not That One)

And why you may want to skip the dishwasher.

If you buy something from the links on this page, we may earn a commission. See our Affiliate Disclosure.

Natural Ways to Clean Stanley Cup Tumbler

Your Stanley cup is like your trusty sidekick, accompanying you on all your adventures, from early morning hikes to late-night camping trips, drinking endless ounces of water, and even bringing some wine with you when you’re out with your friends.   But just like any loyal companion, your tumbler needs a little TLC to stay in top-notch condition. Don’t sweat it! Cleaning your Stanley Tumbler can be easier than you thought.

After using our Stanley cups for over a year and even drinking out of our YETI for more than 5 years, we’ve come up with some really easy ways to clean your Stanley and even included some more natural ways you can clean it with everyday household items.  


8 Steps to Cleaning Your Stanely Cup

This isn’t rocket science after-all, so we’ve narrowed it down to eight really easy steps to take when cleaning your Stanely.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Before you begin, gather all the supplies you’ll need for cleaning your Stanley Tumbler.  These are some options we regularly use:

  • Warm water
  • Dish soap or mild detergent
  • Bottle brush or sponge
  • Optional: White vinegar, baking soda, or lemon juice for tough stains or odors (more on this below)

Step 2: Take Your Tumbler Apart

If your Stanley Tumbler has multiple parts, like a lid with a gasket, a ginormous plastic straw, or a removable handle (remove those two little screws on the handle if you want to really get every nook and cranny – but def not required) disassemble it completely. This will ensure that you can clean every last inch!

Step 3: Rinse It Thoroughly

Start by rinsing your tumbler with warm water to remove any leftover liquid or debris. Pay close attention to the interior and exterior surfaces, as well as any crevices or hard-to-reach areas.  If you don’t drink from it with the lid on and use it more like a regular cup, pay extra attention to the mouth area (it can get kind of gross).

Step 4: Prepare Your Cleaning Solution

Fill a sink or basin with warm water and add a few drops of dish soap or mild detergent. If your tumbler has stubborn stains or odors, you can also add a splash of white vinegar, a sprinkle of baking soda, or a squeeze of lemon juice to the water for extra cleaning power.  We’ll get into more of these solutions below if you want to stay away from soaps and detergents. 

Step 5: Scrub Away (But Don't Scrub Too Hard!)

Dip your bottle brush or sponge into the soapy water and start scrubbing the interior and exterior of your tumbler. Pay special attention to any areas with visible stains or residue, using gentle but firm pressure to loosen them.  Our general rule of thumb is treat it like you would when brushing your teeth.  You don’t want to brush too hard!

Step 6: Clean the Lid and Accessories

This is the area we feel like you’ll want to pay the closest attention to so that you can prevent any mold or nasty buildup. 

If your tumbler has a lid, straw, or other accessories, be sure to clean them thoroughly as well. Use a smaller brush or sponge to clean any crevices or hard-to-reach areas, and rinse them thoroughly to remove any soap residue.

More specifically, here are some things to try:

Rinse Thoroughly:  Rinse each part of the lid and accessories under warm water to remove any visible debris or residue. Hold them under running water and use your fingers to gently scrub away any stubborn spots.

Soak in Soapy Water:  Fill a small bowl or basin with warm water and add a few drops of dish soap or mild detergent. Place the disassembled lid and accessories into the soapy water and let them soak for a few minutes. This will help loosen any remaining dirt or grime.

Scrub and Clean:  After soaking, use a small brush or sponge to scrub each part of the lid and accessories. Pay close attention to any crevices or hard-to-reach areas where dirt and bacteria can accumulate. Use gentle but firm pressure to ensure thorough cleaning.

Use a Pipe Cleaner or Q-tip for Detail Work:  For particularly tight spaces or intricate parts, such as the threading on the lid or the inside of a straw, use a pipe cleaner or a Q-tip dipped in soapy water to clean them thoroughly. These tools can help reach areas that may be difficult to access with a brush or sponge.

Rinse and Inspect:  Once you’ve scrubbed all the parts of the lid and accessories, rinse them thoroughly under warm water to remove any soap or cleaning solution residue. Take a moment to inspect each piece to ensure that all dirt and grime have been removed.

Air Dry Completely:  After rinsing, allow the lid and accessories to air dry completely before reassembling them. You can place them on a clean dish towel or drying rack to ensure proper airflow. Avoid using a cloth or paper towel, as these can leave behind lint or fibers.

Step 7: Rinse and Repeat

Once you’ve scrubbed every inch of your tumbler and accessories, rinse them thoroughly with warm water to remove any soap or cleaning solution residue.

Step 8: Air Dry Your Tumbler

After rinsing, allow your tumbler and accessories to air dry completely before reassembling them. You can place them upside down on a clean dish towel or drying rack to ensure proper airflow.

"Natural" Solutions For Cleaning Your Stanley

These natural cleaning methods are effective at removing stains, odors, and bacteria from your Stanley Tumbler without the use of harsh chemicals. Plus, they leave behind a fresh, natural scent, so you can enjoy your beverages without any lingering chemical smells.

Vinegar and Baking Soda Solution:

  • Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in your tumbler.
  • Add a tablespoon of baking soda to the solution and stir until it begins to fizz.
  • Let the mixture sit in your tumbler for about 10-15 minutes to loosen stains and odors.
  • Use a bottle brush or sponge to scrub the interior of the tumbler thoroughly.
  • Rinse the tumbler with warm water until all residue is removed.
  • Air dry completely before using it again.

Lemon Juice and Salt Scrub:

  • Squeeze the juice of one lemon into your tumbler.
  • Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt into the tumbler.
  • Use the lemon half to scrub the salt and juice mixture around the interior of the tumbler, focusing on areas with stains or odors.
  • Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the acidic properties of the lemon to break down grime.
  • Rinse the tumbler with warm water and scrub any remaining residue with a bottle brush or sponge.
  • Rinse thoroughly and air dry.

Tea Tree Oil and Water Solution:

  • Fill your tumbler halfway with warm water.
  • Add a few drops of tea tree oil, known for its natural antibacterial properties.
  • Swirl the solution around to distribute the oil.
  • Let it sit for 15-20 minutes to disinfect and deodorize the tumbler.
  • Rinse thoroughly with warm water to remove any oil residue.
  • Air dry completely before using.

Why You May Want to Skip the Dishwasher

In most cases, Stanley cups are dishwasher safe, but there are some considerations to keep in mind:

Material: Stanley Tumblers are typically made from durable materials like stainless steel or BPA-free plastic. Stainless steel tumblers are generally safe to put in the dishwasher, but plastic components, such as lids or seals, may not be dishwasher safe. Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations for each part of your tumbler.

Heat: High temperatures in dishwashers can affect certain materials over time. While stainless steel is generally safe for dishwasher use, prolonged exposure to high heat and harsh detergents can potentially cause discoloration or damage to plastic components or seals. If your tumbler has any plastic parts, it’s best to hand wash them to avoid potential damage.

Gaskets and Seals: Many Stanley cups feature gaskets or seals to prevent leaks, especially in lids with drinking spouts. These seals are often made from silicone or rubber, which can degrade over time with repeated exposure to heat and detergents. Hand washing these components can help preserve their integrity and prevent leaks.

Decorative Finishes: Some Stanley Tumblers may have decorative finishes or coatings that are not dishwasher safe. These finishes can be sensitive to heat and chemicals, leading to fading, peeling, or discoloration. Hand washing is the best way to preserve the appearance of these tumblers.

As always, check with the specific washing instructions on the specific Stanley you have so you know whether or not it’s truly dishwasher safe.

In Conclusion

And there you have it, fellow adventurers and guardians of the almighty Stanley Tumbler! With our trusty tools and a sprinkle of imagination, we’ve journeyed through the realms of cleanliness, vanquishing stains, banishing odors, and restoring our beloved chalice of refreshment to its former glory. From bubble bath bliss to lemon-fresh lemonade scrubs, we’ve explored the most whimsical and wondrous ways to keep our tumblers sparkling clean. Now you just have to actually do it!  You should.  It’s worth it!

Have a fun cleaning hack you want to share?  Drop me a line at

If you found this cleaning guide helpful, check out some other fun things we’ve tackled like how to clean your YETI, upcoming Stanley colors being released, really cool Stanley accessories for your prized tumbler, ways to save with a Stanley coupon, and some actual Stanley sales happening today!