Have you ever thought about buying non-toxic straws? I am guessing you have since you are reading this now! To be honest with you, this wasn’t a consideration of mine until recently. But I am making some changes to make my family’s home less toxic, and you should, too! I bought a variety of non-toxic straws to try out and review for you – so you don’t have to!
I am on a mission to reduce the use of toxic substances in my home! Clean-eating has been a focus for our family all along, but I hadn’t put much thought into the cleaning supplies I use. I bought all-natural body products for the kids when they were babies, but I moved away from that as they got older. It never even occurred to me that I should worry about things like non-toxic straws or other kitchen items. But after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis I started doing some research, and I am learning that plastics and other chemicals can cause damage to our bodies and make us sick.
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Why do you need non-plastic straws?
I read the book The Autoimmune Solution by Dr. Amy Myers. One of the many things she teaches about in the book is how plastics are toxic. Many of us have heard about BPA (bisphenol A), a toxic substance found in many plastics. “BPA mimics estrogen and is considered an endocrine disrupter. Your endocrine system includes all your hormones, which means that BPAs are responsible for wreaking havoc on your thyroid, adrenals, and the glands that produce your sex hormones, putting you at risk for numerous disorders,” (p.129).
But BPAs are not the only thing about plastics that are dangerous. Dr. Myers cites a 2014 study by neuroscientist George Bittner, in which he and his colleagues tested 455 different products that were made of plastic and found that almost three-fourths of them “released a significant amount of estrogen-mimicking toxin into the food, medications, or personal-care products they contained.” (p. 133).
In other words, even BPA-free plastic might be unsafe. I use a plastic straw every day in my morning smoothie. Ack! Time for a change.
Factors I Considered for Non-Toxic Drinking Straws
When testing out the straws, I thought about several different factors.
- Comfort of use
- Ease of cleaning
The first type of straw I tried was paper. These are terrible. They got soggy. And they taste weird.
Silicone is one possible substitute for plastic. It has a rubber-like consistency. It is considered to be relatively safe, though some people are concerned that we don’t know much about it. If you’d like to learn more, I found this article about silicone vs. plastic.
I tested Kitchen Up regular-size silicone straws. They feel different in your mouth than a plastic straw. They are thicker and “wiggly.” It felt a little strange at first, but I got used to it. Here is the set I purchased:
The silicone straws are dishwasher safe, and they seem to get well-cleaned by the dishwasher. They come with some brushes if you want to hand-wash them, and that works pretty well.
The pack I purchased cost $7.95 on Amazon. It included 8 silicone straws, 2 metal straws, a carrying bag to fit one straw, a carrying bag to fit all the straws, and 2 brushes. That comes out to about $0.80 per straw, which is a great deal for something that is reusable.
I think these non-toxic straws are super cute! I love the bright colors. Plus, if more than one person is using the straws the colors make it easy to know whose drink is whose. Straws like this are available in more neutral tones if you prefer that style, so I will include a link to that type in case it’s what you’re looking for.
Here are two more neutral sets. The first ones are bent, which I find comfortable, and the second ones are wider to accommodate boba drinks or thick smoothies or milkshakes. They are similarly priced to the ones I bought.
As for portability, the purple bag that comes with them is pretty cute. It has a little drawstring on it. However, not everyone would want a bright purple bag to carry – my teenage son, for one. I also think that putting a dirty straw into a cloth bag would make the bag dirty. A little oogey, in my opinion. Plus it’s a bit tricky to get the straw into the bag, as the rubbery quality of the silicone sticks in the satin bag. So these are probably best for home use.
Metal straws are another type of non-toxic straws. Metal is widely regarded as safe. I would check which type of metal your straws are made of before purchasing, however. You want them to be stainless steel. You also want to make sure that the ones you choose are smooth and not too light, or else they could hurt you or get bent.
I purchased the Straw Expert set of 16 steel straws. It is a very nice set of 4 long bent straws, 4 shorter bent straws, 4 long straight straws, and 4 shorter straight straws. The set also includes 8 colorful silicone mouthpieces, 4 brushes, and a velvet-like carrying bag. The metal is good quality and has a pleasant medium weight.
This company also sells sets that are all bent or all straight, if you prefer one over the other.
I tried using the metal straws without the silicone mouthpieces, and it was not my favorite. Metal conducts heat, which means it also conducts cold. So when I put my metal straw in my glass of ice water, it was REALLY COLD on my lips. And if you ever wanted to drink something hot with it, you’d burn yourself. If you like to drink room temperature drinks, then it wouldn’t matter.
I also found the metal to have a…wait for it…metallic taste. Which I don’t like. Again, this is a personal preference and might not bother everyone.
Once I put the silicone mouthpiece on, I was happy! Plus, I think they are delightfully pretty. I am drinking my Izze Sparkling Water through the metal straw with the pink mouthpiece right now!
You should keep in mind, though, that if you like to drink acidic drinks, such as orange juice or lemonade, the metal can have a chemical reaction with the acid and taste strange. I tested this out by putting some lemon juice in my water and letting the metal straw sit in my glass for a bit. Sure enough, when I drank it – yuck. It had an awful bitter taste. So for acidic drinks, don’t use metal.
The set I chose is typical straw width. If you like to drink thick smoothies or milkshakes, or if you are into boba tea, then you will need to get the straws with a thicker diameter. Here’s a link to those:
These guys are easy to clean with the provided brushes. Easier yet – they are dishwasher safe! When I use my straws for smoothies (or really, anything besides water) I give them a quick rinse afterward to make sure no food particles dry inside.
I paid $9.99 for my set of 16 straws, which means each one was only $0.62! What a deal! And that doesn’t include the mouthpieces. These are definitely the best-priced non-toxic straws that I found.
I think the silver color of the metal straws is really pretty. And the silicone mouthpieces come in a variety of attractive colors. I like choosing which color to use each day, and I like that the variety of colors means that you can designate whose cup is whose easily.
The straw expert set that I bought comes with a velvet-like bag that you can use to carry a straw. It’s okay- it is perfectly nice looking. It seems that putting a clean straw into it to carry it would work well. However, once you use your straw it seems that putting a not-so-clean straw back in a fabric bag is, again – oogey. I think though that in many situations it would work out. If you keep it in your purse and head to Starbucks, you could get your drink to go, put the straw into the drink, and then when you get back home with your drink you could wash your straw.
So one way to fix the above portability issues is to purchase one of the non-toxic straws that are designed to be portable! I purchased this style:
It came in a two-pack. I got a pink one for myself and a blue one for my daughter because every tween girl nowadays absolutely must have a collapsible drinking straw in an adorable case. They also come in green and black.
These non-toxic straws are silicone on the inside and metal on the outside. Silicone is what touches your lips. The shape is a bit different than traditional straws, as the tip narrows. They are also straight, with no bend. It took me a few minutes to get used to this straw, but it feels fine now.
The little cleaning brush is more like a spring with a silicone tip. It doesn’t have any bristles. It folds down into the case for storage. There was a learning curve in figuring out how to get it back into the case. Luckily, my daughter came to the rescue and told me to fold it into fourths. It is a bit of a pain though, so if you don’t like doing delicate things carefully, this probably isn’t the best straw for you.
Another really pretty straw! I find the silver color with the light pink end to be “totes adorbs.” And the little pink case is cutie patooty, too. It’s also super tiny, so could fit in even a very small purse.
If you are buying this straw for the looks of it, you would probably be amused by this article:
This one is a lot pricier than the others. Of course, you are paying for the case, too. I paid $11.99 for a set of two, so that’s about $6.00 each.
Obviously, this one is the winner in the portability category! Plus, the plastic case means that if you want to put your straw away without cleaning it first, you can rinse out the case at home. If you are super picky, then you might not like that your non-toxic straws come in a plastic case. Here are some other options for collapsible straws:
The Bottom Line
My favorite is the My Health Journey.
More non-toxic household items: