How Do You Care For A Wooden Mug?

There was a time when owning a wooden mug was only a curiosity or antique from a long-forgotten beer festival, but wooden drinking vessels have become quite trendy. These all-natural cups look good, are environmentally friendly, and will never burn your fingers. A wood mug can be surprisingly durable with the correct care, so let’s go through how to care for it so it stands the test of time.

Caring for a wooden mug has a lot to do with ensuring that it is not exposed to excess moisture or dryness for prolonged periods. This could cause it to crack or warp. The mug should be carefully hand-washed, dried, and stored in a dry place. It must not be exposed to harsh, direct sunlight.

The inside of wooden mugs are sealed with a protective coating to make them watertight. This coating can become damaged if the vessel is not cared for correctly. This can spell disaster for the cup as well as the user.

How To Care For A Wooden Mug

There is an authentic, earthy experience involved in hydrating our bodies using a drinking vessel formed in nature that puts us back in touch with the earth.

Not all wooden mugs are created equal. Some are only recommended for use with cold drinks, while others can also be used to serve hot beverages. Pouring a hot liquid into a wooden mug intended only for cold ales may cause irreparable damage. So before you use your wooden mug, first determine what it was designed for.

The main risk to wooden mugs is that moisture will seep through the protective seal and into the wood itself. This can cause the mug to warp or crack, and of course, once the damage has occurred, it is tough to repair.

To ensure that your wooden mug lasts as long as possible, it is vital to avoid extreme humidity fluctuations. So, while it is fine to hold a beverage for a couple of hours while you are using the mug, it should never be soaked or stored for any period with liquid inside.

Keep in mind that wood is prone to staining, and some wooden mugs also retain slight flavor memory from strong drinks that were contained in them. So if you use wooden mugs regularly, it is advisable to have specific mugs for tea, wine, etc. Natural staining could then become part of the patina of the vessel rather than impact the overall condition of your mug.

One of the excellent properties of a wooden mug is that wood has outstanding insulation properties. So cold drinks stay cooler for longer, and hot beverages can remain hot much longer than in ceramic cups. If you are new to drinking hot drinks from a wooden mug, this is something to remember. The liquid’s temperature may be hotter than you are expecting, so sip tentatively to start as wood is an extremely poor conductor of heat, and the outside of the mug may feel deceptively cool.

There are three main times when you should focus on the care of your wooden mug a little more than usual. These would be as follows:

  • When using the wooden mug
  • When washing the wooden mug
  • When storing the wooden mug

Let’s go through each of these separately, as wood has some unique characteristics that require a little more care than regular ceramic or glass drinkware. However, the lovely natural texture and the excellent insulation properties offered by wood make it a satisfying and almost comforting material to drink from.

One word of caution to anyone who has a wooden mug. Do not avoid using it because you think it is fragile. Wooden mugs thrive on being used regularly, so using them will make them less likely to become dry and brittle.

Caring For A Wooden Mug When Using It

Wooden mugs are sealed to provide a safe and water-resistant finish that can usually hold hot and cold drinks, but check that your mug is suitable to hold hot beverages before trying it. To avoid damage, many manufacturers recommend that water shouldn’t be actively boiling when it is added to a wooden mug. Wait a few seconds before adding recently boiled water to the vessel.

Another caution is never to put your wooden mug into the microwave to reheat a beverage. Remember that wood is a porous, natural material and will essentially ‘cook’ if microwaved. Transfer the liquid you need to be reheated to a ceramic or another microwave-safe container before hitting the start button.

The freezer is another no-go area if you want your wooden mug to last. The extreme cold and high humidity inside a freezer will shorten the item’s lifespan. You can safely add ice blocks to a drink inside a wooden mug, but placing the entire unit into the freezer will place the wood under tremendous stress, making it brittle, and it will eventually crack.

Another thing to remember when using a wooden drinking mug is never to use any implements that could damage or scratch the surface of the wood. When stirring, avoid making harsh contact with the bottom of the cup as it may form scratches in the waterproof sealer on the wood.

How To Wash A Wooden Mug

To keep your wooden mug in tip-top condition for a long time, it should never go into the dishwasher. The mug is likely to warp or crack from harsh machine washing. It may last for a few washes, but the prolonged exposure to heat and moisture will quickly take a toll.

Washing wooden cups and utensils is quite simple. Although it is not safe to add them to the dishwasher, wooden items can be quickly and thoroughly cleaned without a lot of fuss.

Items like wooden mugs or utensils should be hand washed using warm soapy water and a soft cloth. If anything needs to be removed, immerse the mug in warm water and remove the debris with the soft cloth. It is important not to soak any stains or stuck material out of a wooden cup over a prolonged period.

The most important part of the process is that after being hand-washed, the mug must immediately be dried with a soft dish towel before being stored in a dry place. Be sure to dry the inside of the mug so that a film of water doesn’t collect in the bottom while it is being stored.

How To Safely Store A Wooden Mug

Wood is a beautiful, natural material that contracts and expands according to changes in the environment. Humidity or dramatic temperature changes are common causes that damage wooden items. If a wooden mug is not stored in a suitable area, there is a chance that the wood could split or crack.

The best place to keep a wooden cup is in a dry area out of direct sunlight. Exposure to the sun can dry the wood out, resulting in cracks forming.

If you want to keep your wooden mug in an open area as part of a display, check that it is not below a radiator, vent, or near any source of regular heat, for example, from nearby machines. It is also not recommended to keep wooden items on shelves over very humid areas like washbasins or on a shelf above the stove.  

How To Reseal A Wooden Mug

No matter how careful you are, from time to time, you might find that your favorite wooden mug needs some TLC to stay in good working order. One of the only real drawbacks is that if you plan to reseal the surface of your mug completely, it will need some time to cure Fortunately, the process of resealing a wooden vessel is straightforward.

No wood is waterproof, but adding a sealant can render wooden surfaces durable and water-resistant, and with gentle care, they will last for years. Keep in mind that whatever oil or sealant you choose must be non-toxic and render the surface safe to drink from.

If you only use your wooden mug as a tankard for cold beverages, you may only need to apply a coating of specially formulated beeswax plus mineral oil.

Resurfacing the inside of wooden mugs that you use for warm beverages involves a few additional steps. Wood sealants are readily available at most hardware stores, but you will need to be select one carefully to ensure that it will be safe to drink from. Be sure to read the labels before embarking on this project.

Here is what you need to do:

  • Ensure that the wooden mug is completely clean and dry
  • Use a foam brush to evenly distribute a thin layer of sealant across every part of the surface
  • Let it dry completely
  • Then lightly sand the coating with stearated sandpaper. This is special sandpaper that is less likely to get clogged.
  • Repeat the sealing and sanding steps a couple of times
  • Do not sand the final layer of the sealant

For occasional sealing, to add water resistance to protect your wooden mug, use linseed or Tung oil. This will provide a lovely natural, hand-rubbed finish to your mug.

Are Wooden Mugs Safe To Drink From?

If you have an unused wooden mug or are thinking of purchasing one, you may be wondering if it is safe to use. We have become so used to drinking from smooth ceramic or plastic items that the look and feel of wood may make it feel unfamiliar.

Wood has been used for centuries to store beverages safely, and in fact, this natural material often outperforms other materials in terms of insulation. The only downside of using a wooden mug is that it is a naturally porous material and will need a little bit of special care. It should never be added to the dishwasher and must be protected from excess humidity or exposure to harsh sunlight.

If your wooden mug is clean and in good condition, it will be safe to drink out of. So long as you cannot observe any noticeable cracks or splinters, the more you use the mug, the longer it will last. Often mugs that have been in storage for prolonged periods tend to fare worse than mugs that are used frequently.

Wooden mugs lend themselves to an authentic experience for the user. They seem to bring out the taste of beverages, and whether you are at home or out camping, you will feel closer to nature when drinking from a wooden mug.

Where Can I Buy A Wooden Mug?

Wooden mugs used to be specialty items that were only available from specialty wood crafters. However, the rustic charm and charming feel of these natural mugs have made them popular again, and they can easily be purchased online or at stores like Walmart

When choosing a wooden mug, keep in mind what you want to use it for. If you need it for hot and cold beverages, ensure it is labeled as safe for hot drinks. Keep in mind that wooden surfaces can stain, so it might be a good idea to get more than one and keep specific wooden mugs for particular drinks, especially things like tea or red wine.

Some wooden cups have metal stainless steel liners inside, making them more durable. However, if you prefer this option, check that the liner can be removed to wash or if it is set into the wood. 


Wooden mugs have a timeless quality that makes each time you drink from them, drinking them feel like an occasion. However, they require some special care to keep them in good condition for longer. They need to be protected from prolonged exposure to moisture or dry heat, which can cause the wood to warp or crack.

Taking some time to find the correct place to store your wooden cup and using it as often as possible will help to keep it in mint condition for many years.


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