When it comes to washing up, I admit I can be a bit of a lazy washer, and the dishwasher is my go-to appliance.
But how safe is the dishwasher for my Contigo water bottles as well as the different lids?
The Contigo water bottles are made from non-toxic and highly durable materials, but does this mean they are safe in the dishwasher?
The plastic Contigo water bottles and the lids are top-rack dishwasher safe, as well as all the accessories like the straws. The body of the stainless-steel bottles is not dishwasher safe and should be hand washed. Only the lid can be placed on the top rack of the dishwasher.
I own 4 different Contigo bottles that me and the kids use on a regular basis. While the bottles themselves are easy to clean the lids can be notoriously difficult to clean and keep free of mold. I love using the dishwasher to clean them as the heat can kill mold and keep the lids and bottles safe to drink out of for longer.
However, knowing which Contigo water bottles are dishwasher safe is good information to have. It turns out that dishwashers could potentially damage the coating and vacuum seal of the stainless steel bottles.
How Do You Know Contigo Water Bottles Are Dishwasher Safe?
Known for their innovative and fun lids and highly-durable Eastman Tritan plastic, Contigo water bottles are one of the most popular brands in the market. But how can you actually be sure that they are dishwasher safe?
Firstly, you can be sure because on their website and the printed instructions, Contigo advises that their plastic water bottles are designed to be washed on the top rack of the dishwasher.
In their detailed care instructions, Contigo advises customers to only use the top rack of the dishwasher to wash the plastic water bottles and the lids.
In regards to their water bottles they state:
Lid, plastic body and straw are top-rack dishwasher safe.
Hand-wash stainless steel body.
On their Top Questions page they state:
All our lids are dishwasher safe – but we strongly recommend rinsing them prior to putting them in the dishwasher. Simply let the water run through the spout as well as the vent and then toss them on the top rack of your dishwasher.
I like to take this a step further and quickly run my bottle brush through the spout before putting them in the dishwasher.
They also advise that if you are handwashing your bottles then only a mild detergent should be used.
The following cleaning mixtures can not be used for the bottle or the lid:
- Bleach (Here's why not)
- Abrasive cleaners or scrubbers
- Other harsh chemicals
Handwashing with hot tap water and mild soap is recommended instead of harsh chemicals. When I can be bothered or I'm already doing the washing up I'll often just wash my Contigo bottles using my bottle brush and warm soapy water.
What Happens If You Put A Stainless-Steel Water Bottle In The Dishwasher?
Putting your stainless-steel Contigo water bottle in the dishwasher may result in damage, which is why Contigo warns consumers not to do so.
However, many customers report putting their Contigo in the dishwasher for months of even years without issue.
On their care and use guides page in regards to their mugs they state:
Lid and any UNPAINTED stainless steel body are top-rack dishwasher safe.
HAND-WASH ONLY any PAINTED stainless steel body.
The only parts of the bottle that can be used in the dishwasher are the lid and any unpainted or uncoated parts of the bottle.
I assume this is because there is the possibility of the dishwasher damaging the painted or coated surfaces of the stainless-steel bottles.
I technically have an unpainted stainless steel body Contigo bottle. So according to their care instructions I should be able to put this in the dishwasher.
However, I do know that insulated water bottles have a vacuum seal that works to keep your beverages hot or cold.
The way this is manufacturer is the bottles are placed in a vacuum chamber and then sealed with a soft metal. Interestingly, lead is often used in this manufacturing process for a lot of water bottles which is why they feature a base cap to protect consumers from any lead exposure.
The only company I know not to use lead for this process is HydroFlask. No HydroFlask bottles made after 2014 use lead in the manufacturing process. But I'm not sure if the same can be said for Contigo.
Putting an insulated stainless-steel bottle in the dishwasher can damage the vacuum seal due to the intense heat of the dishwasher. This can melt the vacuum seal and allow air into the vacuum chamber, which will prevent the bottle from providing insulation properly.
In fact, there are many other brands like RTIC whose double-walled insulated bottles are not dishwasher safe either.
There are a few brands that are completely dishwasher safe. For example, Yeti bottles are one of the brands that are dishwasher safe.
Is Dishwasher Damage Covered Under Contigo’s Warranty?
Let’s say you have made the mistake of putting your stainless-steel water bottle in the dishwasher, and now it is damaged. Is this damage covered under Contigo’s warranty?
Contigo does offer a lifetime guarantee against defects in the materials and workmanship. Compared to other brands like RTIC or YETI, this is a generous warranty.
However, this does not mean that dishwasher damage is covered by the warranty.
Damage caused by improper care is not covered by the warranty. In the warranty document, they specifically say that cleaning-related issues are not covered either.
Cleaning related issues, accessories, including straws and brushes, are also excluded.
So if your water bottle has been damaged, I recommend reaching out to Contigo anyway and seeing if they will replace it for you. Up to you whether or not you choose to disclose the fact you put it in the dishwasher.
The Contigo Lids Can Be Washed In The Dishwasher
The reason why Contigo water bottles are a popular choice is thanks to their cleverly designed lids.
There three main lids are:
- Autospout (with straw)
- Autospout Chug
The Autoseal lids are used on the stainless-steel travel mugs, and these are the only parts of the mug that can be washed in the dishwasher on the top rack only. They are also used on a variety of water bottles.
The Autospout plastic water bottle lid pops out when the button is pressed and is also safe to use in the dishwasher, thanks to the durable plastic.
Don’t worry about the straw getting damaged, either, as it is made from the same plastic as the lids and can be washed on the top rack of the dishwasher.
Here's what Contigo said in an email to me about what their lids are made out of:
We use high-quality, BPA free, Tritan copolymer plastic which is certified BPA-free on the overall lid and body inside and outside make of the plastic product. All plastic that comes in contact with food or beverage in your Contigo® product is BPA-free. Validation that this plastic is BPA-free and is supported by robust testing by independent third-party accredited laboratories.
The last lid design, the Autospout chug, is used on plastic water bottles and these lids are safe to use in the dishwasher as well.
Water bottle lids are perfect breeding grounds for mold, so you should be aware that the dishwasher is not able to completely get rid of mold.
The heat does kill a lot of mold but it may not kill all of it or wash away mold remnants. If you have mold in your Contigo lid you need to do a deep clean of the lid or replace the lid entirely.
How To Clean Your Stainless Steel Contigo Water Bottle?
Because you can not put the insulated water bottles in the dishwasher, you will need to wash the bottle by hand.
Doing this can be tricky as the shape of these bottles are tall and narrow, which means you cannot fit a hand inside them to clean them. I personally use a bottle brush in order to clean the inside of my Contigo bottle.
Any bottle brush will do the trick but I like this 3-in-1 bottle brush set from Amazon as it also gives you a straw cleaner and a smaller brush which is great for cleaning out the rubber gaskets of your bottles.
Three tools in one. Includes a long bottle brush, straw brush and detail cleaner (great for cleaning inside lid gaskets). Comes with organizer ring and storage hook,
When handwashing, Contigo suggests soaking lids and straws in hot, soapy water for 10 minutes and rinsing them. Be sure to open the lid by pressing the button so that the water flows through the lid.
For some of the lids you'll also want to release the tab on the bottom that says “PUSH TO CLEAN”
Once you have rinsed the bottle, you can scrub the interior of the bottle using a bottle brush.
Contigo recommends rinsing the bottles immediately after each use, but sometimes this is not enough, and you’ll have to give it a deep clean.
You can learn more about cleaning insulated bottles by reading my guide on how often should you clean your insulated bottle.