Food & Nutrition

How to clean your protein shaker (so it doesn’t smell bad)

Consuming sufficient protein is a key element of building muscle, and using protein powder is a tasty and convenient way to get enough protein into your diet. However, although filling a protein shaker with protein powder is a super convenient way to hit your protein targets, the one downside is that it can be really tricky to clean properly. Most of us use a protein shaker to mix the protein powder, which, for some reason, always seems to stink straight after we've finished the drink. It's likely because protein powders are filled with milk and sugar, and because we keep the protein shakers in warm places like our gym bags or our cars, they get warm very quickly which makes them turn sour. Whatever the reason, it's not nice and it's enough to make you want to never drink a protein shake again.


Luckily, it's actually quite easy to clean your protein shaker to make sure it doesn't stink, you just need a little preparation. We've got some tips for you, let's get into it:

Clean it quickly after use

Regardless of how you choose to clean your protein shaker, the number 1 thing you can do to prevent a bad smell from occurring is to clean the shaker as soon as you can after use. The main issue with this is that many of us will be taking our protein shaker to the gym, where you won't usually find proper cleaning facilities (unless you go to a very fancy gym). But even if all you do is just give your protein shaker a rinse with water after you've finished using it at the gym, this will really help with the smell. Just make sure you remember to clean the shaker properly when you get home. Also, some gyms can be quite strict about pouring remnants of protein shake down their sinks as it can often cause blocking, so make sure you don't get in trouble for doing that.

Use lemon

The issue with using washing up liquid to clean your protein shaker is that many of us clean our protein shaker right before using it (because let's face it, many of us forget to clean it straight after using it). And if you've used washing up liquid, you'll often be left with a slightly soapy taste, even if you've rinsed it thoroughly. This is why we love to use lemon as an alternative - we've previously written about how lemon is a great alternative to washing up liquid because of its antibacterial properties, and we think this citrus fruit is extra good for cleaning protein shakers because even if it leaves behind a little lemony taste, it doesn't really matter. Plus, the smell of the lemon is just as pleasant as any brand of washing up liquid, and certainly more pleasant than protein powder residue. We always keep lemons in the fridge precisely for this purpose. And if you're really well prepared and you want to clean your protein shaker straight after you've used it at the gym, you could actually take a small bottle of lemon juice with you to the gym to rinse the shaker with. Bonus points if you're that prepared!
lemon and protein shaker

Leave the ball in

It might seem sensible to take the little ball out of your protein shaker when cleaning it, but leave it in - this little ball will actually really help with the cleaning. The reason that so many protein shakers stink even after you feel like you've cleaned them is because little bits of old protein powder manage to stick to the hard-to-reach parts of the shaker. If you pour a little warm water and a good squeeze of lemon into your shaker, then give it a shake while the ball is in, you'll free up all these little bits of protein powder to make sure nothing is left behind. The key here is to not pour too much water in, otherwise, the ball won't have enough space to bounce around the shaker and unstick any stubborn bits of protein powder.
protein shaker ball

Hopefully, this guide helps you to avoid having a stinking protein shaker. Let us know if it helps or if you have any other recommendations for avoiding the smell!

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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