You pick up some new tricks when you’re a parent – from juggling dirty diapers to making your breakfast with only one free hand. But one of the most important skills is keeping the things that go in your baby’s mouth clean and hygienic. So, how do you clean a baby bottle?
In this article: 📝
- What is the best way to clean baby bottles?
- What about sterilizing bottles?
- How to wash a baby bottle: Some more FAQs
What is the best way to clean baby bottles?
What you’ll need
- A clean sink
- Clean hands – wash yours before you start
- Regular dish soap
- A sponge for cleaning, or ideally a special bottle brush
- A drying rack or a clean dish towel
It doesn’t matter if the water is hot or cold, as long as the old milk goes down the sink.
Take the bottles apart so that you can clean any milk that’s hiding in the seals, joins, or crevices.
We’re talking about unscrewing lids, taking out valves, and popping the teat out of the ring.
How this works depends on the brand of bottle you have, but you want the pieces to be completely separate before they go in the water.
Wash everything in hot, soapy water.
If you’ve got a bottle brush, use the larger part to get to the bottom of the bottle, and the smaller part to clean the inside of the teat.
Rinse everything under running water.
Leave all the separate parts to air dry, either on a rack or on a fresh dishtowel.
Don’t rub them dry if you can help it, as this runs the risk of reintroducing germs.
You can’t get clean dishes from a dirty sink, so it’s a good idea to clean the sink and drying rack once a day (or after every wash if your baby is a newborn).
And don’t forget about the bottle brush. It should also be cleaned and thoroughly dried when you’re done.
When everything is dry and you’re ready to prepare new bottles, wash your hands and reassemble the parts.
What about sterilizing bottles?
If your baby is less than three months old, if they were born prematurely, or if they have a weaker immune system, it’s also recommended that you sterilize their bottles, pacifiers, and anything else that they’d put in their mouth.
You have a few options here:
You can buy gadgets to make sterilizing less of a chore.
Microwave or electric steam sterilizers are great at killing the germs on washed bottles. Just follow the instructions on the box.
Sterilizing in a saucepan
The traditional way to sterilize bottles is to take them apart and boil them in a saucepan for five minutes.
You’ll then need to wait for the water to cool or remove them with clean tongs, and let them air dry as you would after washing.
If it makes you feel more comfortable, you could use a chemical sterilizer.
These are completely food-safe, which means that they don’t pose any risk to your baby once the bottle is dry.
But it’s really important to follow the instructions exactly to make the solution the right strength.
How to wash a baby bottle: Some more FAQs
Do you have to wash baby bottles after every use?
Simply put, yes. Cleaning baby bottles sometimes feels like a never-ending task, but they do need to be washed, not just rinsed, every time.
Milk is full of sugar, and at room temperature the bacteria can multiply really quickly.
This is also why you should use formula milk within an hour once your baby has started drinking from the bottle.
Can you wash baby bottles in the dishwasher?
Yes, you can, if the bottles you have are marked dishwasher safe.
Wondering how to wash baby bottles in a dishwasher? Just take them apart, rinse them, and load them into the top rack.
What kind of soap do you wash baby bottles with?
And is it OK to wash baby bottles with dish soap?
Dish soap is actually perfect for cleaning baby bottles.
It’s reasonably gentle, you don’t have to worry about how much you’re using, and it’s great at cutting through the fat in dried milk.
The only precaution you’ll need to take is to rinse off the extra suds before you set the bottles out to dry.
You’ve got this, mama!
🍼 More from The 411:
Why I Chose to Formula Feed
Your Essential Formula Feeding Guide
How Many Ounces Should a Baby Eat? A Chart
A Nifty Guide to Bottle Feeding
Do I Need Special Water for Baby Formula?
My Baby Won’t Burp: What Now?