So, you swapped out your plastic straw habit for a reusable bamboo option. This sustainable switch can last for years if you give it the right care. Here’s what you need to know to keep your reusable straws in tip-top (or rather, “sip-top”) condition.
On average, Americans use 500 million disposable straws daily. That breaks down to every American using 1.6 straws. Every single day. Because plastic straws are so small, they often fall out of recycling sorting machines, leading to an extremely low recycling rate. So, it’s not hard to imagine the tremendous impact that switching to bamboo, reusable straws can have.
But once you’ve made the switch, it’s not over. In order to reduce waste long term, your reusable straw needs to get the proper care. Luckily, caring for and learning how to clean bamboo straws only takes a few simple steps.
Daily Use: 3 Tips To Keep Your Bamboo Drinking Straw In Perfect Condition
From the office to a quick lunch on the road, your reusable straw can end up in a lot of different situations. Here’s the best way to care for it, no matter where you go.1. Store it well– but keep it accessible
There’s no point of having a reusable drinking straw if it’s not there when you need it! Look for a bamboo drinking straw that comes in an easily packable container (like a straw sleeve or durable bag). To keep your straw clean and damage-free, store it in its designated container. Keep it handy where you’ll need it most, and consider keeping a straw or two in your glovebox or daily bag so you’re never stuck without one.2. Don’t leave it soaking in water
Bamboo is an extremely durable, water-resistant material. But it’s still a natural, woody plant. So, while you can easily use your bamboo straw for hours of sipping, don’t leave it soaking in water overnight. This can cause even the best bamboo reusable straws to crack or change color.3. Wash it well, every time
When you are done using your reusable straw, make sure that you wash it properly. Particularly if you’re using it for smoothies or drinks other than water. Bamboo is naturally antibacterial, but giving it a thorough wash after every use will extend its lifespan and keep it from absorbing flavors from your beverages.
Bamboo Straw Care
So, how do you clean bamboo straws? Washing a reusable straw might seem tricky, but with the right tools, it’ll only take a minute.
Are bamboo straws dishwasher safe?
While bamboo straws can be safely cleaned in a dishwasher, it’s not recommended. The intensive heating and drying cycles of a dishwasher prematurely age bamboo, wood, and other natural materials. In order for your reusable straws to last as long as possible, refrain from putting them through the dishwasher.
How to clean bamboo straws
To properly clean bamboo straws, use warm, soapy water to wash them inside and out. For the best clean possible, use a straw cleaning brush to scrub the inside of each straw, too. We recommend a natural dish soap that’s free of harsh chemicals, such as this soap bar from Meliora.
If you use your reusable straw for thick drinks such as smoothies, rinse your straws out thoroughly before washing.
Once your bamboo straw is cleaned, let it dry completely in an open area before storing it. Then, keep it safe in a drawer or cabinet away from direct sunlight, or stash it in a travel case.
Optional straw care
Want to keep those straws really shining? Or, does your child have a habit of biting on the end of their straw? If you notice that your reusable straw is looking a little dull, you can bring its shine and smoothness back.
First, use a piece of fine-grit sandpaper to lightly sand any part of the straw that you wish to smooth. We recommend 220-240 fine grit. Best to focus on the tip of the bamboo straw.
Bambu offers Precision Bamboo Straws which do not include the green outer skin and therefore, you can sand the entire straw. Our OG straws or Original Green Bamboo Straws retains the natural green skin so you will want to sand just the tip of the straw.
Wash thoroughly with soap, water, and a straw brush. Finally, rub a drop of finishing oil along the outside of your straw to add an extra level of sheen. Let your straw air dry for at least 8 hours before using.
Sustainability and End Of Life
Choosing a reusable option is nearly always the better environmental choice. But, there are still other factors to consider. The biggest? Material safety and end of life.
Are bamboo straws safe?
Simply put– yes! Bamboo straws (at least the ones made from Bambu), are made from 100% bamboo, and nothing else. Furthermore, the material used to make Bambu straws is certified organic and USDA Biopreferred. This means that they’re guaranteed to be chemical and pesticide free, and made from 100% natural, renewable materials. Unlike plastic straws or other coated options, like paper straws, bamboo straws won’t leech anything into your drink. Even when they’re used for hot beverages.
How long does a bamboo straw last?
Bamboo reusable straws can last for years. In fact, when given the proper care, there’s no reason why a bamboo straw would become unusable. Bamboo is the strongest woody plant on earth, and it’s more water resistant than wood. Handwashing and thoroughly drying bamboo straws between uses will greatly extend their lifespan.
Are bamboo straws biodegradable?
Made from only natural materials, bamboo straws are 100% biodegradable. Unlike plastic straws, which will exist for 200 years after their tossed in the trash, bamboo straws break down 1.5-2 years after they’re disposed of. In some places, bamboo straws can also be discarded as yard debris, which speeds up their decomposition even more.
How to dispose of your straws
Bamboo straws are biodegradable, which means that they will break down in the same way that bamboo plants would in the forest. No matter how you dispose of them, bamboo straws will break down into the soil in 1.5-2 years. You can safely dispose of bamboo straws in the trash, but if your commercial compost facility accepts bamboo straws, that is a preferred choice. You can also add bamboo straws to a backyard compost bin or (if accepted) your yard debris.
Show some bamboo love! Shop the first and only USDA Certfied Organic and Biopreferred bamboo straws.