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Here’s Why Your Travel Mug Is Leaking

A person holds a travel coffee mug.
Alla Simacheva/Shutterstock.com

Most of us need a little pick-me-up in the morning, whether it’s coffee or tea. If you want to take it to work or class with you, there’s a good chance you’re using an insulated travel mug. But if you’ve recently spilled coffee down your shirt or noticed your tea going cold, there might be a reason why.

If you’ve been washing your insulated travel mug in the dishwasher, you might inadvertently be ruining it—even if your intentions were to keep it clean.

If you tossed the care instructions for your mug before reading them, you might have missed that it’s not dishwasher safe. That’s true of most insulated mugs and tumblers, and there are good reasons why. They’re called heat and water pressure.

Insulated mugs have an interior chamber and a larger one outside of it, and they are separated by a gap. The outer and inner chambers are sealed after all the air has been sucked out of the empty space. That space and the airtight seal partially help keep your drinks hot because there’s nothing leaching heat away.

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A dishwasher’s heat and water pressure damage the airtight seal. This allows particles to get inside that can cause the mug to lose its effectiveness slowly. But it’s not just its insulation. You could also damage the lid’s seal if you place your lids in the dishwasher alongside the mug. If you’ve got a faulty seal on your lid, you might develop a leak and have a disaster on your hands before work.

So what’s the best way to wash travel mugs? It might take more work, but you should wash them with traditional warm water and dish soap. A soft sponge should do the trick to scrub away any leftover staining from coffee. When done, allow it and the lid to dry. You’re good to go for your next work or class day.

Need more than just dish soap to get rid of staining? Try this unexpected toiletry to banish those mug stains.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is the Assignments Editor at LifeSavvy. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer with a focus on beauty and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Allure, and Hello Giggles. Read Full Bio »
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