Are Contigo Travel Mugs Dishwasher Safe?

Kind Of… Let Me Explain

Are Contigo Travel Mugs Dishwasher SafeI’ve used many travel mugs in my day and there’s always one thing I wish I could do with my mugs – I want to be able to throw them in the dishwasher without damaging them.

I have plenty of experience in putting cheap mugs in the dishwasher and then not too long down the road I find them leaking.

My best guess is that some of the seams on various travel mugs start separating and leaking. You end up getting a small, weird swishing amount of water accumulating in-between the walls of the mugs.

This water never comes out for some reason. It’s pretty disturbing and gross when you think about it.

Well with Contigo mugs like the popular West Loop, Snapseal Byron, and especially the Contigo Autospout Strawcup which I give to my kids all the time I have to clean them daily, no amount of mere rinsing at the sink will work.

Although the build quality is far higher than normal run of the mill travel mugs, not a lot else is different. If you want the thing to last a long time then you should probably hand wash it every time.

Related: See this post for more on getting the coffee smell out of a travel mug.

However this is not a hard and fast rule across the board.

Let me explain.

The Lids Are Dishwasher Safe But That’s It

If you want to throw your Contigo travel mugs in the dishwasher Contigo recommends you only put the lids in the top rack of the dishwasher.

The lid is largely made of plastic and it opens up for deep cleaning in many of the newer models.

Without a fancy travel mug bottle brush this can be pretty hard. It may be best to clean your Contigo by hand but it certainly isn’t the most convenient in all situations.

How To Clean A Travel Mug

If you are going to clean your travel mug by hand then make sure you have a good set of bottle brushes. It will make your life much easier.

The big brush can get all the way down to the bottom of the tumbler and scrub it on all sides far easier than you can shove a sponge down there to clean. And the nooks and crannies of the lid are basically impossible to get to without the tiny brush included in the pictured set.

See product details and pricing for these brushes here on Amazon.

Assuming you have the brushes or something relatively similar then all you really need is warm soapy water. Just lightly scrub them down periodically and all will be well. You don’t want coffee oil residue from building up and this is really all it takes to keep the residue at bay.

If you want to minimize coffee odors the occasional soak in a 95/5 mixture of water and white vinegar will do the trick but you’ll have to do this periodically because once that coffee smell sets into the plastic lid it can be virtually impossible to get rid of. It’s what many people recommend buying two mugs. One dedicated to coffee and the other dedicated to everything else.

Why else do you think Contigo sells their popular Autoseal line in packs of two anyway? 🙂

If you do end up putting the lids in the dishwasher make sure to open up all the insides all the way. Mugs with fancy lids can be opened from the inside to clean all the nooks and crannies so you do yourself a disservice by not opening then for the dishwasher to do it’s job.

Cleaning The Lid By Hand

Here’s a good demo of hand washing the auto-seal lids although it’s worth noting that older models have a different lid that doesn’t open up like this one.

Let me give you a few more tips now.

Are Contigo Travel Mugs Dishwasher Safe?

According to Sip Contigo, it depends. If you are just washing the lid, it is dishwasher safe.

Contigo travel mug lids are top-rack dishwasher safe, as are any unpainted stainless steel bodies.

But that’s about it. The stainless container should be hand washed. Contigo recommends hand washing all stainless travel mugs in order to keep its nice and shiny surface.

What is the best way to clean Contigo Travel Mugs?

Over time, liquid residue and molds can accumulate around the lid. This affects the taste of your coffee and gives a stale-like odor to your drink. This is one reason why travel mugs often end up in the trash. How can you avoid this?

Regular cleaning is needed. This is highly recommended if you use your travel mug on a daily basis.

For regular cleaning, you will need warm water, mild detergent, and soft cloth.

  1. Fill the sink with warm water.
  2. Add some mild detergent and make the water soapy.
  3. Submerge the lid and cup. This will allow any build up and residue to loosen for easy cleaning.
  4. Use the soft cloth to wash the surface and the inside wall of the cup. Avoid using abrasive cleaning materials. This will damage the surface of your travel mug.
  5. Use the bottle brush to remove any residue at the bottom of the container. Your hands may not be able to reach the bottom of the container so better use a bottle brush to get to the ring at the bottom.
  6. Use the small brush to clean the lid. Brush the deeps and grooves. Small bottle brushes have wires that can be bent to reach corners and curves on the lid.
  7. Rinse all the pieces with water thoroughly.
  8. Dry with a soft cloth.
  9. Let it air dry on a rack to ensure that all parts are dry before safekeeping.

When do you need to deep clean a travel mug?

For some reasons, there could be an occasion when you left your travel mug with coffee overnight. Or worse, you left it in the office over the weekend.

The liquid inside would have accumulated mold. It would smell bad. If it’s an ordinary travel mug, one might decide to just throw it away. But if you have a Contigo Travel Mug, it may not be that easy to just dump it.

The solution is deep cleaning. You will need water, seltzer, a bowl and a denture tablet.

  1. Perform the methods used for regular cleaning.
  2. Due to the accumulated build up, it will not be easily removed by just a regular bottle brush. Fill the container with water, add some seltzer or club soda and attach the lid.
  3. Shake the container vigorously. This will easily loosen any remaining residue in the container. When you see that the inside is clear, drain the container.
  4. Fill a bowl with water and submerge the lid. Add a denture tablet and let it fizz. This will clear up any remaining residue sitting in the grooves of the lid.
  5. Using seltzer and denture tablet will remove the build and keep your travel mug smelling fresh and clean.

Important reminders from Contigo

Contigo Travel Mugs is one of the best choices for travel mugs. The manufacturer released important reminders to ensure that you enjoy the benefits of investing in a high-quality insulated travel mug.

  • DO NOT overfill. Fill liquids to just below the fill line in the body as shown.
  • DO NOT microwave or freeze.
  • DO NOT use cleaners containing bleach, chlorine, abrasives, and/or other harsh chemicals.
  • DO NOT use with pulpy beverages.
  • DO NOT continue to use product if damaged.
  • DO NOT carry bottles containing liquid in bags to help prevent accidental opening.

Popular types of Contigo Travel mugs

Contigo travel mugs come in different types and features. Here are some of my top picks:

  • Contigo Autoseal Transit Mug – It is easy to use, sleek design. It has an autoseal to avoid any spillage. It has an ergonomic design so the lid won’t bump your nose or obstruct your line of sight.
  • Contigo SnapSeal Byron Travel Mug – It is a basic mug, no fancy features and very affordable. It has a nice lead lock but no autoseal. You cannot just throw it in your bag because it could open by accident and spill over your things.

Brian Mounts

Head blogger, editor, and owner of "Top Off My Coffee", a website that has been educating readers about coffee brewing techniques and equipment since 2012.

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