Mold in coffee mug (3 things to do)

In this brief guide, we’ll be talking about “mold in coffee mug”, discussing how to prevent, and clean mold out of your coffee mugs.

Mold grows everywhere, but many have discovered the ugly side of coffee travel mugs. These mugs are designed to keep hot beverages hot and cold beverages cold, thus, trapping moisture in the lid causing mold to grow. If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, you must own a travel mug. In any case, regardless of your beverage of choice, you would be using a travel mug. Well, let’s just say you may just be ingesting more than your morning coffee or tea.

How does mold grow?

Travel mugs are a great investment, but if not cleaned properly they can grow mold. The seals on these travel mugs trap moisture and that moisture turns into mold. Mold is a type of fungus that flourishes in a wet and dark environment. Mold can either be black or green, it comes from several species of fungus. One being Stachybotrys chartarum.

How to clean your coffee mugs?

  • Take it apart

Take the lid apart, take out the rubber part of the lid, and anything else that comes out. This includes everything.

  • Start washing it

Start washing everything with hot water and soap. In my experience what helps best is to soak everything for 5 minutes in hot water and soap to make sure all the bacteria have been cut out. Both dish soap and hot water are essential as they go hand in hand to getting the closest cleaning.

  • Get into all the nooks and crannies

Get into every part, even the ones that are hard to reach. I recommend a small, bristled brush that can reach in tiny places. Just gently scrub for a minute or so, be sure to not ruin the mug while you’re at it.

  • Time to dry

Lastly, dry all your stuff. Be sure to dry it overnight by placing everything upside down in a drying rack or a kitchen towel. If your mug is dry, mold will not grow on it so make sure to keep it dry.


Will dishwashers help clean your mugs?

  • Firstly, make sure your travel mugs are dishwasher safe, then place them in if they are. Dishwashers will clean your mugs, but not as effectively as you may want. When mold grows on your mugs it isn’t easy to remove by just placing it in a dishwasher, you have to scrub everything down. Although it may help in sanitizing it as it used hot steam and water depending on the setting of your dishwasher.

According to the USDA, consuming mold can be very sickening for health. Molds can cause respiratory problems and allergic reactions.

A few sips of mold aren’t a big deal, because our stomach acid kills the mold right away. If it’s once or twice, you probably won’t get an infection. But be sure it’s not more than that, mold can cause cramps, an upset GI, nausea, and diarrhea.

Mold affects people in different ways, often it doesn’t have any symptoms at all. Exposure to mold has symptoms similar to cold so you can never know which one it is. Here are a few symptoms of mold exposure:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Nose stiffness
  • Skin rash
  • Sore/itchy throat

People with asthma might suffer from asthma attacks, as mold creates a lot of difficulty for the respiratory system.

 Mold poisoning is known as mycotoxicosis. It can cause:

  • Aches and pains in the body
  • Headaches
  • Nosebleeds
  • Memory loss
  • Changes in mood

If you have a strong immune system, you won’t be severely affected but those without a strong immune are at a higher risk of infection. So, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you have been feeling sick and have also been drinking out of a moldy cup you should see your doctor immediately. You might be at risk of mold poisoning.

Mycotoxins (mold) are also found on some crops, like coffee beans. Research shows that mycotoxins are present in a large number of coffee beans and eventually make it to the final drinking stage. Decaf coffee has a larger number of mycotoxins. I know what you must be thinking, but don’t worry, the percentage of mold is below safety limits, so coffee is still safe to drink in moderation.

How to diagnose mold exposures?

 There isn’t a proven test for mold, but doctors can deduce what you have through a simple blood test or a skin prick test.

Bottom line

Mycotoxins are found in many foods, including coffee beans. However, they are that abundant. The benefits of coffee outweigh the negatives in many ways. Be sure to always clean all the nooks and crannies of your coffee travel mugs, because you never know what’s hidden underneath those lids.

In this brief guide, we answered queries about “moldy coffee mug”, discussed different methods of preventing and cleaning mold from coffee mugs, and potential hazards of ingesting mold unintentionally.


Esha Hamid

Esha Hamid is currently a medical student. She is a highly-skilled professional with the ambition to learn and improve her skills. Driven by her passion for coffee, she loves to experiment with coffee from all around the world. She is a well-rounded coffee enthusiast, who can take on any role as needed. She is currently enrolled at Plovdiv Medical University. In her free time she likes to cook, and experiment with new coffee recipes.

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