Coffee Facts

How To Get Coffee Smell Out Of Thermos

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Even if you have the best travel mug or thermos, coffee stains and unpleasant smells come with use. You might enjoy the aroma while preparing your morning mug. But, it can be disappointing when your thermos smells like yesterday’s stale coffee.

 Here are seven cleaning methods you can use to refresh your thermos.

How To Get Coffee Smell Out Of Thermos


Coffee creates stubborn odors at the best of times, but prevention can save you time. Make sure to clean within 7-8 hours to prevent odors or residue. If you can’t wash your thermos immediately, rinsing can help.

 It’s also crucial that you dry your thermos completely. The trapped liquid in the coffee thermos or lid creates an environment that bacteria and mold love. Eliminate the wet to eliminate potential odors.

Baking Soda

The baking soda method of cleaning is a classic, and for a good reason. It’s effective against rust, stains, and stubborn coffee smells.

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You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Water

 Add a teaspoon of baking soda to your thermos and fill it with clean water. As there will be a fizzing, chemical reaction, place the thermos where it can overflow safely. If you have a larger thermos, you might need to add more baking soda, but never add more than a teaspoon at a time.

 Let the baking soda solution sit for 10-15 minutes. Then, with a bottle brush or cloth, wipe the insides of the thermos while it is soaking.

 Rinse the thermos with water and then let it dry.


Vinegar is another classic kitchen ingredient that is a capable cleaner and disinfectant. You may substitute with apple cider vinegar as necessary.

You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • Hot water

 Pour half a cup of vinegar into your thermos, and then fill it with hot water. Secure the thermos lid and then shake the vinegar solution-filled thermos like you’re grooving with maracas. Set the thermos aside and let the liquid sit for 30 minutes. 

 Rinse, and rinse well, less you curdle your cream and taste the horror that is vinegar coffee. If the pesky coffee smell remains after rinsing, try round two of the vinegar shake and soak.

Mustard Powder

Mustard powder is a common kitchen spice that doubles as a deodorizer. You can use it to remove food odors from your thermos, hands, and refrigerator. 

You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of mustard powder 
  • 1 tablespoon of water

 Mix your mustard powder and water to create a paste. Next, use a bottle brush to scrub the thermos interior with the paste. You can also use a cloth, but you’ll likely need a bit more elbow grease.

 After letting the paste sit for several hours, wash your thermos with soap and hot water. Next, wipe the thermos interior and leave it to dry.

Salt and Ice

With the salt and ice method, you’re creating a homemade scrub, much like a DIY face scrub. Be warned. The ice will be noisy as it moves.

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 2-3 tablespoons table salt

 Pour crushed ice until your thermos is half full, and then add 2-3 tablespoons of table salt. Close the lid and then shake thoroughly so that the combination of salt and ice scrub the thermos interior. 

 After 1-2 minutes of shaking, toss out the mixture and rinse. Then, wipe, or air dry the thermos completely.

Citric Acid Powder

Citric acid powder, also known as sour salt, is a compound made from citrus fruits. If you want an all-natural product, citric acid cleaners are effective against bacteria, mold, hard water stains, rust, and odors.

You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon citric acid powder
  • Hot water

 Start by adding a tablespoon of citric acid powder to your thermos, and then fill it with hot water. Stir to ensure the powder is mixed. Then, set it aside for three hours.

 Finally, empty your thermos, rinse, and then let it dry. If the coffee smell is gone, but you think it’s too lemony fresh, try a round of soap and water.

Antacid Tablets

Antacid tablets help remove residue and odors because of their handy combination of citric acid and dissolving action.

You’ll Need:

  • 4 antacid tablets
  • Water

 Antacids fizz, so you’ll need a safe area for overflow. Toss four antacid tablets into your thermos and fill it to the top with cold water. Put the lid on and shake it up.

 Soak your thermos for one hour and then rinse. Finally, wipe down, or air-dry your thermos.


We’ve shared a few familiar, and a couple of surprising, deodorizers. Which solutions have you tried before? Are there any new ones you plan to try?

 We hope your thermos will be smelling fresh soon, so you can get back to enjoying coffee on the go.

 Happy caffeinating!

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