How to Wash Out and Clean a Hip Flask

A couple weekends ago, we joined our good friends in a Light The Night Walk in support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Our friend battled through the disease and we’re always thrilled to support her.

Having walked for a few years, I know one way to make the 2 miles walk more entertaining is to bring us a little something something. That something something was some Glenlivet 12.

So I filled up my two nicest flasks – one from (no longer is business) and one from SWIG. I gave one to a friend and kept one for myself.

how-to-wash-a-hip-flaskBoth were emptied. πŸ™‚

That left me with one question… what do I do now? How do I clean a flask?

After some research, there’s still no answer because the debate between soap vs. just hot water rages on. Soap leaves a residue, but hot water alone may not clean it.

One thing is clear – don’t let it dry out. You need to wash it as soon as possible. Leaving it in your car overnight isn’t a great idea. πŸ™‚

Just think of these beautiful pictures of whisky residue captured by this photographer. That’s what is going on inside the flask, out of view.

The other thing that’s clear…

DO NOT USE CHLORINE. (that’s bleach)

It will react with stainless steel, it’s actually corrosive. That’s bad bad bad.


So rinse it out with hot water, use soap if you want to, give it a few good shakes and flip it over to dry. Personally, I just rinsed it out with hot water about five or six times. I checked it after it dried overnight and I couldn’t smell anything.

Good enough for me!

12 thoughts on “How to Wash Out and Clean a Hip Flask

  1. Agreed. Multiple hot water rinse after finishing the flask seems to be enough to bring the smell back to neutral, which is good enough for me.

  2. So far I’ve found hot water rinsing sufficient. I’m pretty thorough about it, and I haven’t noticed any residue. I suppose in the long run there would have to be some build-up (the thing can’t be perfectly smooth inside, after all) but I’d imagine it would be a pretty long run. Probably a quick swab with a bottle brush from time to time couldn’t hurt.

  3. Thanks for this post Jim! Definitely helped with what I was looking for. New to your site but will definitely keep checking it out.

  4. I cannot believe that your comments made me get up, walk over, pick up my flask, and look inside; but it did. No horror story as it looked fairly good. All I have ever done is rinse with hot water. I do this after using and before using again if it has set for a spell.

  5. “Leaving it in your car overnight isn’t a great idea. :)”

    A better idea is taking a taxi to and from wherever you are drinking, or always have a designated sober driver.

    Please don’t encourage drunk driving by forgetting to mention the need for a designated driver if you are out drinking, whether in a bar or “drinking and walking”…

    /Laphroaig-lover who lost a parent to a drunk driver…

  6. Rinse the flask a few times with hot water. Then, pour a quite small amount of neutral flavored vodka into the flask, & slosh the vodka around until the vodka touches all surfaces. After sloshing, then let the vodka sit on those interior surfaces for a few minutes. Then, pour & shake the vodka out of the flask. Remember, a 40% ABV vodka, and for that matter, your distilled spirit previously in the flask (as long as it is not a liqueur) are disinfectants/bacteriacides. πŸ™‚

  7. Ok thanks for all the tips – bottle brushes would be fine if they fit in the narrow neck and reach around, but that doesn’t work for mine. Deffo no chlorine / bleach. 50% Lemon juice or white vinegar alternating with boiled water is suggested by the manufacturers. Tipping out into a glass means you can be confident there is no debris or dried deposits. Tasting the last water to rinse it out is the final test – no flavour = clean.

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