Can You Put Starbucks Cups In The Dishwasher?

By Cory White
Can You Put Starbucks Cups In The Dishwasher?

Are you a Starbucks aficionado who wants to simplify your daily coffee routine? Since Starbucks plastic cups are a frequent choice for those who enjoy their chilled beverages, a question that comes to most people’s minds is: can they withstand the cleansing rigors of a dishwasher?

Luckily, certain types of Starbucks cups can be put in the dishwasher. Generally, Starbucks plastic cups are dishwasher-safe. However, it’s important to remember that not all plastics are created equal and there may be instances where a particular plastic cup may not be suitable for dishwasher use.

In this article,  I will explore Starbucks cups types and materials, dishwasher safety, and answers to the most common questions surrounding the compatibility of these cups and the dishwasher. Let’s get this started!

Understanding Starbucks Cups

When it comes to Starbucks cups, they’re more than just vessels for your favorite caffeinated beverages. They come in a variety of materials, each affecting their dishwasher safety differently. Here’s a quick rundown of the common materials used:

  • Plastic cups: Lightweight and convenient, these cups are mostly dishwasher-safe. However, placing them on the top shelf of the dishwasher is recommended to minimize exposure to intense heat which could warp the product.
  • Reusable cups: These eco-friendly options can be either plastic or stainless steel. The plastic ones are generally safe for dishwasher use, while the stainless steel ones should be hand-washed to avoid damaging their insulation properties.
  • Ceramic mugs: Starbucks also offers ceramic mugs, which are generally dishwasher-safe. However, high temperatures could fade designs and prints over time.
  • Glass mugs: The transparency of glass mugs adds to the appeal of your drinks, they are typically safe for dishwashing. Again, it’s best to place them on the top rack.
  • Tumblers: Made from stainless steel or plastic, the tumblers (particularly the stainless steel ones) are often the least dishwasher friendly. Hand washing is usually the best cleaning approach.

Dishwasher Safety Explained

empty dishwasher

Understanding dishwasher safety can help maintain the lifespan and quality of your Starbucks cups. The dishwasher uses heat and cleaning agents that could potentially harm certain materials.

Dishwashers clean through a combination of heat and detergents. Even on the top rack, cups can be exposed to high temperatures and harsh cleaning chemicals. Plastics, especially thinner ones, may warp or melt under exposure to high heat. Certain inks or prints on cups might also fade due to the abrasive nature of dishwashing detergents.

Metal-based cups, such as stainless steel tumblers, pose a different concern–they could lose their insulation properties with the temperature changes in a dishwasher. This is because consistent heat can weaken the vacuum seal, rendering the insulating feature useless.

Moreover, some cups may have delicate features like hand-painted designs or glued-on elements that aren’t made to withstand the rigors of machine washing. In such cases, hand washing is recommended to prolong the lifespan of the cup and keep it looking its best. Always remember to check the cup manufacturer’s recommendations before putting your beloved Starbucks cup in the dishwasher.

Reusable Starbucks Cups and Dishwashing

reusable starbucks cups

Starbucks offers a range of reusable cups, a hit with coffee lovers who are also environmentally conscious. When it comes to dishwashing, these cups’ suitability largely depends on what they’re made of.

Reusable plastic cups are generally safe to go in the dishwasher. Like with other plastic cups, it’s best to put these on the top rack to shield them from intense heat that could potentially cause warping.

However, the equation changes a bit with reusable stainless steel cups. They’re designed with insulation properties to keep your drink hot or cold for longer periods, and washing these in a dishwasher could affect those properties. Steel cups can undergo changes when exposed to high heat, which can weaken the insulation.

Starbucks Ceramic and Glass Mugs in the Dishwasher

starbucks mugs and glass

Starbucks ceramic and glass mugs offer an elevated drinking experience. These mugs handle dishwasher heat somewhat differently than their plastic counterparts, something you’ll want to bear in mind when it’s time for cleanup.

Ceramic mugs from Starbucks are typically safe to wash in a dishwasher. Just keep in mind that over time, the high heat and strong detergent could potentially cause the color and print to fade. If you have a mug with a special print you want to preserve, consider hand washing instead.

Glass mugs, on the other hand, hold up well in dishwashers. They’re sturdy and resistant to heat and strong detergents. Still, for the safest care, it’s best to place these mugs on the top rack of the dishwasher, which is generally gentler than the bottom rack.

Regardless of the mug type, always check for the manufacturer’s instructions regarding dishwasher safety. Some Starbucks mugs may come with specific washing instructions to help preserve their quality and design.

Starbucks Tumblers: Dishwasher or Not

Starbucks tumblers have gained popularity for their stylish designs and excellent insulation properties. But when it comes to their relationship with dishwashers, things get a bit tricky.

Most Starbucks tumblers, especially those made of stainless steel, are not recommended for dishwasher use. Dishwashers expose items to a fair amount of heat, and this can affect the vacuum seal that gives the tumbler its insulating power. Over time, the tumbler could lose its ability to keep your drinks hot or cold.

Plastic tumblers from Starbucks may be a bit more forgiving and could potentially handle the dishwasher, but it’s suggested to place them on the top rack to protect them from the most intense heat. The high heat of the cycle may warp or distort the plastic, so it’s better to err on the side of caution.

Cleaning Non-Dishwasher Safe Starbucks Cups

sponge cleaning

Even if your Starbucks cup isn’t dishwasher safe, that doesn’t mean hygiene has to take a back seat. There are plenty of methods you can use to keep your coffee containers clean and ready for the next drink.

The safest and simplest method is hand washing with warm, soapy water. A soft brush or a non-abrasive scrub sponge can come in handy to remove any remnants of your latte or frappuccino. Make sure to rinse it thoroughly to get rid of any soap residue.

For stubborn stains or tastes that just won’t budge, a mixture of baking soda and water can come to your rescue. Leave it in the cup for a few hours, then scrub and rinse. Vinegar can also be used for the same purpose, especially if you’re dealing with coffee stains or residual flavors.

It’s important to let the cup dry completely before you cap it. Moist environments can breed bacteria and might lead to bad odors. Using a dishtowel or air drying will do the trick.

FAQ Starbucks Cups and Dishwasher

There are several frequently asked questions (FAQs) when it comes to the harmony between Starbucks cups and dishwashers. Let’s dive into some of the most common queries.

Can I put my Starbucks plastic cup in the dishwasher?

Generally, yes. Most Starbucks plastic cups are dishwasher safe. It’s advisable, however, to place them on the top shelf of your dishwasher to minimize heat exposure and prevent warping.

Are Starbucks ceramic mugs dishwasher safe?

Typically, yes. Starbucks ceramic mugs can go in the dishwasher. Yet, you may want to hand wash mugs with special prints to prevent fading over time due to the heat and harsh detergents.

Can I put my Starbucks tumbler in the dishwasher?

Most Starbucks tumblers, especially stainless steel ones, are not recommended for dishwashing. Consistent heat exposure can weaken the vacuum seal and damage the tumbler’s insulation properties.

How can I clean a non-dishwasher-safe Starbucks cup?

If your cup isn’t dishwasher friendly, hand washing with warm soapy water is your best bet. For stubborn stains, a mixture of baking soda and water or vinegar can be used.


Cleaning your Starbucks cups correctly is essential, not only for hygiene but also to preserve their quality and extend their lifespan. The rule of thumb is: always check the product’s cleaning instructions before popping your cups into the dishwasher. In essence, striking a balance between dishwasher convenience and hand-washing necessity can help you enjoy your Starbucks beverages in their dedicated cups for a long time to come. 

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