Yearly Archives: 2015

How to Clean and Prevent Mold in Sippy Cups, Straws, and Valves

Written by : Posted on December 7, 2015 : 1 Comment

Causes of Mold

There are four conditions needed for mold growth: mold spores, temperature, moisture, and mold food. There are two main problems with mold, and they are illness and pests. Some people can become ill or allergic to mold and this is an unhealthy way to live. Even worse, mold attracts the likes of pests like cockroaches and other insects that you don’t want in your home. If you did, you’d need to call in, but there are ways to prevent something like this from happening so you don’t have to resort to this. Mold spores are airborne and found everywhere in small amounts, and cups are typically stored at room temperature, so there’s not too much you can do to control those. The most effective ways to prevent mold from growing in your children’s cups is to properly clean them to reduce trace foods, and more importantly to eliminate all moisture after cleaning.

A sippy straw is shown with a standard slit valve. The straw valve traps water and food particles, and can harbor grime and mold.

Straw valves trap water and food particles, and can harbor grime and mold.

A straw sippy cup is shown with a standard sliding travel valve. The travel valve slides to close the straw off so the cup doesn't leak when stored in a bag for travel. However, the travel valve is difficult to clean and traps water and food particles, and can harbor grime and mold.

Travel valves slide to close the straw off to prevent leakage when stored in a bag for travel.

Travel valves are often difficult to clean. They trap water and food particles, and can harbor grime and mold, and then transfer that to the straw they’re covering.

Basic Steps for a Mold-Free Cup

Sippy cups are notorious for their tendency to harbor grime and mold, especially in straw valves and travel valves. These tips will help you get your children’s sippy cups cleaner and stop mold from growing.

1. Wash the cup immediately after each use.

2. FULLY disassemble the cup. Moisture and food collects in the joints between parts, and is exactly the type of place where mold can grow. Separate all straws, valves, rubber rings, plastic sliding covers, and so on.

3. Pre-rinse straws, valves, and other parts that collect food with warm water. Most rubber valves can be opened by pinching with your fingers. Pinch the valve and run water through it to pre-rinse.

4. Wash by hand in warm soapy water, or by dishwasher.

5. Shake out remaining water from all parts. Shake out any water collected inside straws. If your cup or straw has a rubber valve, pinch it open while you shake to get the water out.

6. FULLY dry all parts before assembly. This is a key step, since moist parts won’t dry once assembled. Consider storing the cup disassembled, and assemble only when ready to use.

Advanced Steps for a Sparkling, Mold-free Cup

1. Use a straw brush to scrub inside straws.

2. Use a straw brush or a toothpick to scrub inside valves.

3. Weekly or monthly sterilization may be used to keep your cups extra clean, especially if you hand wash. Some of the more popular sterilization methods:

a. Washing in a dishwasher will sanitize, and some hotter dishwasher cycles can even sterilize. The dishwasher is often the best solution for keeping your cups extra clean without exposing them to excessive temperatures and harsh chemicals that can deteriorate plastic, rubber, steel, and paint.

b. A steam sterilizer is effective for killing mold. As with all methods, you must ensure that the parts are fully dried afterwards, so use the dry cycle if available.

c. A diluted chlorine bleach bath (typically 1 tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water, soak for 2 minutes) is effective, but requires some precautions:

i. Never mix bleach with ammonia, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, or other household cleaners, can produce toxic fumes. Follow the link for more info about handling hydrogen peroxide safely.

ii. Open windows when using bleach. Bleach is a chemical irritant. It can irritate the lungs and mucous membranes. In its concentrated form, it can damage skin, eyes and clothing.

iii. Thoroughly rinse and dry all cup parts afterwards.

d. A vinegar bath can help to clean grime, but isn’t effective enough to meet the technical definition of sterilization and will only kill about 70% of the mold.

Resources and References

  1. USDA. Infant Nutrition and Feeding: A Reference Handbook for Nutrition and Health Counselors in the
    WIC and CSF Programs. USDA, Alexandria VA, March 2009.
  2. National Center for Environmental Health. Basic Facts about Mold and Dampness. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, August 11, 2020. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  3. Moisture and Mold Problems: Preventing and Solving Them in Your Home. WebMD, October 23, 2014. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
  4. Mold Growth, Assessment, and Remediation. Wikipedia, June 2014. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
  5. Rose, Bobbie. Sanitize Safely and Effectively: Bleach and Alternatives in Child Care Programs. California Childcare Health Program, October 2008.

How Much Water Should You and Your Kids Drink Each Day? Hydration Guidelines for Toddlers, Teens, Adults, and Pregnant or Nursing Moms.

Written by : Posted on November 16, 2015 : No Comments

The Benefits of Drinking Water

Water helps maintain the balance of body fluids, affecting functions such as circulation, temperature control, and digestion. Drinking sufficient water can reduce risk factors for constipation, kidney stones, and other chronic diseases. Drinking the right amount of water can also help control calories, keep muscles energized, and keep skin vibrant.

Hydration Guidelines

How much water you and your kids should drink a day. Hydration guidelines for toddlers, children, teenagers, adults, and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, based on Total Adequate Intake as set by the Institute of Medicine.

While pure water is one of the healthiest beverages, you will get similar levels of hydration from other non-alcoholic beverages. So adult women should generally be drinking a combined total of about 9 cups of water, tea, juice, and other beverages each day to stay hydrated.

In fact, your total water intake comes from both beverages (including tea, juice, and milk) and from foods (including soups, fruits, and veggies). This ratio is typically about 4 to 1, meaning that for every 4 cups of water you get from drinking beverages, you get about 1 more cup from the foods you eat. So if you happen to be on a liquid diet or you’re eating dried foods, you’ll need to bump up the amount of fluids you drink by about 25% to compensate.

These guidelines for adequate intake of water are meant to cover the general needs for each life stage and gender group. However, your daily water needs will vary depending on your environment (temperature & humidity), physical activity level, health, and diet.

Continue Reading

Kids not drinking enough water? Use these 7 easy tips to get toddlers to drink more water.

Resources and References

  1. IOM (Institute of Medicine). Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride and Sulfate. The National Academies Press, Washington DC, 2005.
  2. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition, and Allergies (NDA). Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for Water. EFSA Journal 2010, 8(3):1459. EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), Parma, Italy, 2010.
  3. Fluid Facts for Kids. Retrieved 11/12/2015.
  4. Mayo Clinic. Water: How much should you drink every day. Retrieved 5/17/2016.

Able Play Review – Fun Drinking Cups for Children of All Abilities

Written by : Posted on August 14, 2015 : No Comments

We recently came across a really great non-profit called the National Lekotek Center. The mission of the Lekotek Center is to “make the world of play accessible to all children, especially those who have disabilities or special needs.”

“Toys and play are the vehicles used to provide children with an understanding of and an ability to relate to the world around them,” according to the Lekotek Center. Their sites offer “therapeutic play-based family sessions for families of children with disabilities structured to help children learn, develop and thrive in a world that presents them with many unique and complex challenges.”

The Lekotek Center recently evaluated our Sip & Spin straw cups according to their AblePlay standards, and gave it a good rating:

Able Play ratings seal for the Sip & Spin straw cups. This great find is useful for developing physical, sensory, communicative, cognitive, and social/emotional skills.


Here are the quotes from their evaluation by special needs parents and professionals:

“I was worried about moving him up to a ‘grown up’ cup, but I love how my son no longer missed his sippy cup once he realized how this fun, spinning cup worked!” –Keri L., Chicago, IL

“As a Speech Pathologist, I always look for fun ways to promote oral motor control and planning to help develop kids’ feeding skills and speech production in new and innovative ways.” –Amy L., CCC-SLP, Chicago, IL

“My son is working on his oral motor control. When he sees that I am going to serve water in the Sip & Spin, he gets excited to see the spinning cars!” –Karina A., Mother of Felipe who has cerebral palsy

Please visit the National Lekotek Center and their AblePlay toy rating site for more information.

It’s Launch Time!

Written by : Posted on August 4, 2015 : No Comments

We’re so excited to announce the launch of our new straw cups. Our Sip & SpinTM straw cup is especially fun, with a pinwheel that spins when you drink. Our ZoomiTM straw cup has only 3 parts to simplify healthy drinking.

The Sip & Spin straw cup has a pinwheel in the lid that spins when a child drinks. “My son watches the spinner while he drinks and he really does drink more with these cups,” says Dana V., one of our Kickstarter backers. “It’s the first straw cup for my one year old and he did great. He loves the flexible straw and spinning parts.”

nuSpin Kids Sip & Spin Straw Cups have a pinwheel that spins as you sip. These cups make it fun for kids to stay hydrated. They are also dishwasher safe, and free of BPA, Phthalates, PVC, and Nitrosamines.

In celebration of our launch, we’re combining each Sip & Spin straw cup with a bonus Zoomi straw. The cups come in two styles, Monster Trucks and Butterflies. They’re available online now!