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Cleaning a Thermos

Whether stainless steel or glass, these insulated containers need to be rid of prior food or beverage odors. This guide is about cleaning a thermos.

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Cleaning a Thermos
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June 1, 2016 Flag
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This is a guide about cleaning a stainless steel thermos. Tea and coffee are common beverages kept in a thermos. Both can leave stains inside.

Stainless Steel Thermos against white background

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November 15, 2010 Flag
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To clean a thermos easily, drop in four Alka Seltzer tablets and let soak 1 hour or more, then rinse.

By duckie-do from Cortez, CO

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October 16, 2011 Flag
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Does anyone have some tips on cleaning a dirty (coffee) thermos?

By Sushila

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October 18, 20110 found this helpful

Denture tablets will clean it up quickly also.

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October 18, 20110 found this helpful

Depending on how dirty it is, fill with hot tap water and add one or two denture tablets. Leave setting in the sink, preferably over night. The next morning put your hand over the now cooled top and shake it up and then pour it down the drain. If it didn't get all the 'crud' out then repeat the same procedure a second time-leaving until the water has cooled so it doesn't burn your hand.

When you rinse it well it should be as clean as when new. I cleaned a stainless steel one this way that looked completely black inside. After two cleanings it sparkled. Now I just periodically clean with one denture tablet and it is good to go for another month or so.

Good luck!

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October 18, 20110 found this helpful

Vinegar; cleans coffee pots

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October 18, 20110 found this helpful

Denture cleaning tablets work the best. They also work good on cleaning jewelry, wedding rings; anything that can get wet. The tablets from the dollar store, work just fine. Also remove tea stains from cups.

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February 11, 2010 Flag
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I have a pop top thermos that doesn't come apart, but I need to clean it. I use it everyday and I need to figure out how to clean this. I don't want to buy a new thermos. Can you help me? Thank you.

By Yvonne

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February 13, 20100 found this helpful

You can also add alittle salt & chopped ice & shake, let sit and shake again comes out crystal clean! Also works good for your glass coffee pot.

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February 13, 20100 found this helpful

I purchased a baby bottle brush and have found it to be very useful.

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February 15, 20100 found this helpful

Add some uncooked rice & a little water & shake that should break up any sort of residue that formed. The chipped ice works really well on coffee pots.

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February 15, 20100 found this helpful

Maybe a denture cleaning tablet and warm water placed inside the thermos could clean the inside.

Those denture tablets are not expensive at the dollar-type stores. They can be used to clean a number of items; such a a vase, even to cleaning the toilet bowl. (I learned about these denture tablets right here on Thrifty Fun!)

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May 9, 2011 Flag
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How do you remove a metallic taste from a stainless steel thermos?

By ERC

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May 10, 20110 found this helpful

The taste is probably not coming from the stainless steel. It is probably coming from the cap or plug which is lined with plastic or rubber. The best thing to do is not cap the thermos between washings. Leave it opened and the plug and cap opened to the air.

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May 11, 20110 found this helpful

I have the same problem with a stainless steel thermos, and it is a stainless steel taste, not plastic or rubber. I'm hoping someone posts a good solution.

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May 12, 20110 found this helpful

I have used a stainless steel thermos for years, and have no problem with metallic taste. I have found that decaf coffee doesn't keep a fresh taste and taste metallic, but that is the nature of the coffee. Regular coffee is fine. My son has a stainless steel water bottle; he has no trouble with off taste. What are you carrying in your thermos?

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May 13, 20110 found this helpful

I have a new stainless water bottle that I recently used to put iced coffee in. I ended up dumping it out because it tasted so bad, bitter & metallic. This was a new bottle I'd never used either. I washed it & air dried it without the lid on it too. I'm disappointed, hope someone else has an idea on it, I just figured I wasn't going to be able to put coffee in it.

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April 21, 2012 Flag
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Thermos lid.How do you thoroughly clean the pop top (pourable) lid to a stainless steel thermos? I don't see any way to take it apart, but it smells and needs some serious cleansing.

I have tired soaking in dishwater, bleach, and dishwasher detergent. I have wedged it open and put it through the dishwasher. Nothing helps.

By Marnie L.

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April 22, 20120 found this helpful

Have you tried submersing it in hydrogen peroxide for a good, long time? The advantage of hydrogen peroxide is that, in small quantities it is not toxic to people but it can really clean things quite well. So, if there is a trace amount left, you are not going to poison anyone. And works best when it is cold or in room temperature. That would be an important factor when you are dealing with a plastic object to clean. Good luck!

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April 22, 20120 found this helpful

Another good option would be a denture cleanser tablet. Totally safe since it's a product for dentures and used in the mouth. Will bubble up a lot of yucky stuff.

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April 24, 20120 found this helpful

Maybe vinegar will do the trick its an odor eater for rooms and laundry. You may be able to soak it in vinegar, I do know when you mix apple vinegar and baking soda it causes a chemical reaction and foams maybe it will get in the crevasses and eat away the film causing odor. It will eat hair and unclog drains my mom also uses salt and lemon juice to do some cleaning like the garbage disposal try that as well.

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June 29, 2013 Flag
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My thermos has black scale in it and I hope someone out there can help solve my problem. How can I remove this?

By Julie Z. from Kamloops, BC

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June 29, 20130 found this helpful

I just use the denture tablets. Put a couple in the bottom of the thermos and pour boiling water over them and shake the thermos with the cover on. Let sit for an hour or so and repeat this procedure till the water runs clear.

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July 3, 20130 found this helpful

We use dishwasher soap, since we always have it on hand. Just put a little in the thermos and fill with water. After about 10 minutes it will look brand new.

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October 14, 2005 Flag
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My son left a new stainless steel thermos in a friends car for several days with a small amount of hot chocolate in it. I cleaned out the mold by soaking with bleach but some odor still remains. How do I get out the remaining moldy odor?

Kim from Canada

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October 14, 20050 found this helpful

Try dissolving a denture cleaning tablet in the thermos with very hot water and let it sit for a while, overnight if possible. Then rinse, and the moldy odor will probably be gone. I use cheap denture cleaning tablets from the dollar stores for a variety of cleaning and deodorizing jobs. They are great for getting hard water stains out of flower vases and other glassware, too.

Tori from Pittsburgh, PA

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October 16, 20050 found this helpful

Try filling the thermos with plain white vinegar and let it set overnight. Then empty it out in the morning and rinse well.

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October 19, 20050 found this helpful

Thanks for the tips. I'll give them a try and will let you know what works.

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November 22, 20080 found this helpful

What is the best way to remove coffee stains from my thermos?

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September 13, 2013 Flag
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Both the Clorox Bleach company Customer Service and Oxiclean Customer Service say not to use their products to clean a stainless steel thermos. Why? Using products that contain bleach can cause damage to the metal. I contacted the company that makes "Simple Green" and was told that their product will not damage a stainless steel thermos.

Here is the email response from Simple Green:

Simple Green All Purpose Cleaner is safe and effective for cleaning the inside of a stainless steel thermos. The product can be used at about a 1:10 dilution ratio. To insure that there is no residue remaining, rinse thoroughly with clean water.

Customer Service and Business Support Manager
Sunshine Makers, Inc./ Simple Green
15922 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
562-795-6091

I was able to purchase Simple Green at Ace Hardware. It is likely that it is available at other hardware supply stores. And yes, it does work.

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