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Why Do Stainless Steel Mugs & Bottles Smell?

Have you begin to notice that your coffee or tea taste different in your favorite stainless steel mug or tumbler? Or perhaps there is a bad smell in your metal bottle?

There are actually a number of possible reasons behind that metal smell or undesirable flavors that your stainless steel drinkware is imparting to your drinks.

At the same time, we will also look at possible solutions and alternative stainless steel drinkware so that you won’t have to worry about such smells ever again.

So what’s causing the bad smell and tastes?


Stainless Steel Affects The Taste Of Your Coffee & Drinks

Stainless steel is supposed to be an inert material which means stainless steel itself will not react with your drinks and alter its flavors.

However, while stainless steel is inert, the surface of stainless steel is actually porous. There are tiny crevices on the surface of stainless steel that substances can get stuck in.

This means that when you are washing your stainless steel drinkware or having your daily coffee, liquids such as soap and coffee oils that come into contact with the interior of your drinkware might become trapped on the stainless steel surface.

This is the major reason why your stainless steel mug has that unwanted residual smell and why your favourite coffee or tea tastes weird.



Stainless Steel Has A Metal Smell

Another cause of the undesirable smell and imparted flavors is actually due to tarnish or even rust on stainless steel. Contrary to what many people believe, stainless steel does in fact rust and corrode ( This is especially true when stainless steel is continuously exposed to moisture, high temperatures and high acidity ( For people staying near the coastline, this is why your metal items tend to rust much faster.

Tarnish or rust is a possible reason for the metal smell in your stainless steel drinkware or the strange tastes in your drinks.

The bottom line is, if there is a smell coming from your stainless steel bottle or tumbler, something is wrong. Drinking from stainless steel that has tarnish or rust is clearly harmful but the soap, coffee oils and chemicals that are trapped on the surface of the stainless steel can’t be healthy as well.

To learn more about how safe drinking from stainless steel containers is, check out our article on the topic:


How To Avoid Or Prevent Undesirable Smells In Your Stainless Steel Drinkware?

Don’t want to spend your time washing your stainless steel bottles and travel mugs regularly? Luckily, there are ways to eliminate the problems mentioned above and yet enjoy the benefits we all love about using stainless steel drinkware.


Food-grade 304 Stainless Steel

Many cheap stainless steel mugs or bottles are made from lower grades of stainless steel such as 201 stainless steel and they are much less resistant to corrosion and rusts as compared to 304 stainless steel, which is considered food-grade. When possible, always choose a drinkware made from 304 stainless steel.

However, drinkware made from 201 and 304 stainless steel look almost identical which makes it difficult to tell whether you are really buying a drinkware made from 304 stainless steel. Be wary if the price is too cheap, it is usually too good to be true!


Mirror-Polish Stainless Steel

The interior of stainless steel drinkware with a brushed metal finish are more porous. Choose a stainless steel mug or tumbler with a smooth and highly-polished mirrored interior.

Polishing a stainless steel surface reduces the crevices that unwanted substances can get trapped in. Furthermore, the removal of such crevices also increases the stainless steel surface’s resistance to corrosion ( Using a higher quality stainless steel will also definitely be beneficial.


Stainless Steel With Ceramic Coating

The Steelceramics cup is made from stainless steel with a proprietary ceramic coating on the interior. This ceramic coating completely protects the surface of the stainless steel therefore preventing any substances from getting trapped. This results in no undesirable smells and no strange flavors in your drinks.

With the ceramic coating, the stainless steel interior of the Steelceramics cup is also protected from corrosion and rusting. It has all the advantages of a stainless steel drinkware without the weaknesses.


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