How To Clean Your Bombilla

This post may not appeal to every one of the regular visitors to, but there continues to be a stream of traffic landing on my previous post, “Clean Your Bombilla“. This post is mainly for you, new and random cyber-guest! (And fellow yerba mate aficionado!)


Yesterday I decided it was time to clean my bombilla again. (You may recall my post, referenced above, about discovering that I ever had to do such a thing at all?) As with the first experience, I was astonished by what I discovered!

I noticed some yerba stuck in the little slots at the bottom of the bombilla, and I couldn’t get them out. When I looked closer, I thought I noticed some buildup of the fine, powdery dust packed into the bottom, too. Gross! But what to do?


I decided to try to loosen it by just knocking the end (rather gently) against the table. What happened then was the big surprise (and forever changed the way I will clean my bombilla!)

The end came off!

This was a fantastic revelation. (I was actually pretty excited!) I’d always struggled to get the pipe cleaner all the way down to the bottom from the top part of the bombilla. Now I had easy access to it!

I began sliding the pipe cleaner in and even scrubbing a bit more with it toward the bottom (that had never really been cleaned) and it got very dirty. Large amounts of blackish stuff was being scraped out, then rinsed out, and this process continued for a couple minutes at least. I made sure to clear each of the slots too, since I had better access to them.

Today I read that using baking soda can help get the inside of the bombilla clean, too, but it seemed to work just fine with the pipe cleaner and hot water.

Finally, after I was satisfied with the clean water flowing through the bombilla, I reassembled it, and quickly added yerba to my mate (and a couple teaspoons of sugar) and enjoyed free flowing yerba mates for the rest of the morning! ¡Unos mates muy sabrosos!

It’s funny how I keep learning new tricks with this mate drinking… very much by accident!

mate y bombilla

Clean Your Bombilla

Yerba MateSo … I had a “first” experience today, as a mate drinker…

I was drinking “unos mates” for the first time in a week (we were gone, visiting family in Ohio last week) and as I was drinking, I noticed that no liquid was coming through the bombilla, so upon a quick visual inspection, I found the culprit: a big chunk that was stuck at the very tip of the straw. Big meaning, it filled most of the opening!

I chuckled, and thought nothing of it, really… just needed to fish it out.

Then I started to think… Wait… how’d that get there?

Still confused, I went to get a toothpick to fish it out, and when I did it was black, and resembled very fine yerba dust compacted over the years I have been drinking mates! Um…. gross!!

Undaunted, I then tried to clean out the entire bombilla … but, don’t really have a tool for doing that. I rinsed and blew through it and nothing more came out. Satisfied (mostly), I filled up the gourd again and began drinking the mate.


This time, a lot more. I must have loosened them up! Anyway, more and more came out—all the same stuff—so I got a toothpick again and dug in as deep as that would go, about an inch and a half. It was nearly packed full of this black gunk! SUPER gross!!! I can’t believe that I’ve been drinking through it, actually!! 🙂

So… today… lesson learned. CLEAN YOUR BOMBILLA!!!!