Who needs a ‘straw cleaner’?
If you have little kids, you do.
I first heard of a straw cleaner while reading the reviews for the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer. (Go there right now and read them. It will enrich your life.)
Feel better? Okay, continuing with original topic.
At first I thought, ‘Who needs a brush for cleaning straws? Aren’t straws plastic and disposable?’ Some reviewers said they loved the straw cleaner for their fancy, reusable glass straws, and I figured that wasn’t really me, so didn’t think any thing more about it.
Until I encountered this:
This is my daughter’s water bottle. It’s by Playtex, she has them in two colors, and I love them. They have easy-grab handles, the lid snaps over to keep them from spilling, and it taught her to drink from a straw (very handy when we’re in a restaurant and the only thing we have for her to drink is a glass of water). They also come apart into four pieces for easy cleaning – at least until you get to the straw part.
Despite my attempts to use them just for water in between meals, sometimes they were the only thing available and she used them while she ate. And a toddler drinking means one thing: backwash. (This is why I didn’t want them used with food, but whatever.)
So then I was faced with a straw full of crud, which is completely disgusting, especially considered how long it must have been there. Initially I used a toothpick to scrape around inside and got most of it off, but was still grossed out by the problem. I didn’t want to give up the water bottles, but straws really have to be clean, you know?
Epiphany: I could order one of those fancy straw cleaners! I couldn’t remember which one I had seen initially, so I just searched for ‘straw cleaner’ on Amazon, and found that someone had read my mind.
Enter the OXO Tot Straw and Sippy Cup Top Cleaning Set. (OXO has the most BRILLIANT stuff.) This amazing set has the straw cleaner, a lid-thread-and-general-tiny-areas cleaner, and a pick-style cleaner for the tiny holes in the lids of your traditional sippy cup.
The straw cleaner is 4 1/2″ long, 2″ of which is bristle. There’s even a little plastic knob on the end to keep the metal from sticking you! It’s plenty long enough to reach through a sippy-cup straw, and might even go through a regular straw if you attack from both ends.
The general cleaner is for all the little crevices and crannies you find in sippy cup lids, the threads on screw-on tops, and even parts for your breast pump. I haven’t gotten much use out of it yet, but am not complaining that it was included with the other two pieces.
The pick-style cleaner is a stroke of genius. Most ‘regular’ sippy cups these days have a series of tiny holes in the mouthpiece through which the drink is dispensed. You could easily use a toothpick to clean these out, but this pick is handy and reusable.
The only con I can find to these tools is that they seem a little delicate. The pick cleaner bends very easily, and all of the brush surfaces are very soft. Truthfully, this is just fine given what you’re cleaning with these. You’re not scrubbing out a baked-on casserole, so as long as you’re washing your sippy cups frequently (which you should be), it should only take a gentle poke and a light scrub to get off the food bits.
This set definitely goes on my list of must-haves for any new parent.