Odor inside thermos cap
December 8, 2010 11:38 AM   Subscribe

I got this Nissan thermos for my birthday this past August. I have no complaints about the way it works keeping coffee warm. But it does have a weird odor, and it might be haunted.

When I uncap the full thermos in the morning, sometimes I smell standing water or mildew. I don't smell it in the morning when I fill the empty thermos. Then, when I pour my first cup into the plastic/steel cap and set it on my desk, there's a popping noise and water drips out from where the plastic edge and steel case meet. Not much, maybe a teaspoon.

After the popping noise, the bottom of the cap/cup can be pressed in and out, like the metal lid of a vacuum-sealed jar. But only while it's still warm from the coffee. This has really just started happening in the past couple of weeks, since it's gotten very cold in my area.

I wash the thermos daily with dish soap and a brush. While it has a faint odor of coffee, it doesn't smell like mildew except for this one time of day. Is there something going on inside the cap? And, if there's dampness there causing the odor, how can I dry it out?
posted by gladly to Food & Drink (6 answers total)
Have you ever stuck it in the dishwasher? Or has a "helpful" family member run it through the dishwasher? Many good thermoses have been lost in the dishwasher war to meet similar fates.
posted by phunniemee at 11:46 AM on December 8, 2010

Best answer: It sounds like the seal on the cap, between the plastic and steel, could be compromised. If there's a leak into the cap, there could be mildew or stagnant water in there. The smell could be exacerbated by the heat from your coffee. Then, when pouring hot coffee into the lid, the air/water in the lid expands - making a noise as it escapes through the compromised seal. Smelling the water that comes out of the lid could possibly confirm this.

Since it's fairly new, I'd probably write to the manufacturer and see if they can send you a new lid. At the least, do what you can to prevent any more water getting inside the lid, like not submerging it when washing.
posted by youngergirl44 at 11:48 AM on December 8, 2010

Wait. You aren't supposed to put thermos lids in the dishwasher? What about the thermos body itself?

Please delete if this is a derail.
posted by teragram at 11:58 AM on December 8, 2010

Response by poster: I haven't put it in the dishwasher, and I'm the only person taking care of it, but I definitely have submerged it in water. Probably on a near daily basis.
posted by gladly at 12:22 PM on December 8, 2010

Best answer: It could just be a manufacturing defect. Contact the manufacturer, or to the retailer if you're within a few months of purchase. They might exchange it.

As far as drying stuff out, try sealing it in a baggie or container with dry uncooked rice. I'm not sure what this will accomplish if there's water trapped somewhere inside that only leaks with temperature fluctuations though.
posted by Hylas at 4:45 PM on December 8, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks! I exchanged emails with customer service, and they're sending a new lid. Over the weekend, though, I'm going to try the rice/baggie trick to dry out the leaky lid.
posted by gladly at 8:01 AM on December 9, 2010

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