How to wash and clean your baby bottles and sippy cups

baby bottle being washed by small girl

Whether you call it a baby bottle or a feeding bottle, once your baby has finished his meal you are going to need to use the proper technique to get it squeaky clean.

Let’s take a look at the correct procedure to follow when cleaning your baby bottles. The same methods used to clean baby bottles can also be used on sippy cups.

After Feeding Your Baby

It is best to clean your baby bottles immediately after feeding your baby. If you plan to wash your baby bottles later, it is vital that you at least thoroughly rinse each bottle to remove any milk or formula residue. This will prevent the milk from drying and hardening, becoming incredibly difficult to remove.Instead of rinsing, you can also place used baby bottles in the refrigerator until it is time to clean them.

Rinsing your bottle after your baby’s meal is a crucial step regardless of whether you wash your baby bottles in the dishwasher or sink.

This guide is broken made up of three sections. Click below to jump to the specific section:

Cleaning your baby bottles in the sink

washing your baby bottles int he sink can easily be achieved with these six simple steps.

1. Preparing Your Bottle To be Cleaned

Separate your baby bottle into as many pieces as possible. By washing the nipple, bottle and lid separately you will be guaranteed not to miss any dried milk that may be stuck in out of the way places. Bacteria loves dried milk which makes it vital that you clean your baby bottle properly to prevent passing the bacteria onto your baby.

2. Baby Bottle Washing Solution

With your baby bottle in pieces, it is time to begin washing. Prepare hot water in your sink and add a small amount of mild dish soap. Mix the two together until the water is soapy and add your bottle pieces.

3. Scrubbing Your Baby Bottle

With your baby bottle pieces covered in soapy water it is time to get scrubbing. The easiest way to clean out the bottle chamber is by using a bottle brush similar to the one below.

Not all baby bottle brushes are the same length, some are shorter than others. When choosing a bottle brush it is best to use one that can easily reach the bottom of your bottle while still allowing you to hold the handle with a firm grip.

Bottle brushes that are specifically designed to clean baby bottles may come with a silicone nipple cleaner. While this is a nice bonus, you will need to be careful using it. Unless the brush is the bristled type, it can easily tear your baby nipple.

With your bottle brush in hand, half fill your baby bottle with soapy water and insert the brush. Using a back and forth motion, carefully clean the inside of the bottle paying particular attention to the base, neck and lip of the bottle, where milk can easily get caught.

For the outside of the bottle simply use a two sided sponge. Run the soft section of your sponge over the exterior, swapping over to the rough section of the sponge to remove any stubborn milk build up or grime.

4. Cleaning the baby bottle nipple

As touched on above, if you are going to clean your baby bottle nipple then you are going to need a bristled brush. As the bottle nipple is much narrower than the bottle, you will need a small sized brush like the one below. These brushes are also great for cleaning sippy cup lids and straws.

With the baby bottle nipple cleaner in your hand, gently brush around the interior of the nipple. Apply more pressure to remove stubborn milk build up. Rub the sponge around the exterior of the nipple making sure you have removed all traces of milk and baby saliva.

5. Rinsing your baby bottle

You do not want your baby sucking on soap residue for his next meal. When you have finished washing the baby bottle and accessories, run them under cold water to remove any remaining soap suds.

baby bottle nipple cleaning brush

6. Drying your baby bottle

Now that you have finished washing your bottle it is time to set it aside to dry. Air drying is the recommended method for drying baby bottles.

When placing your baby bottle and nipple out to dry, arrange them with openings face down. This will allow any water droplets to run down and out of your baby bottle. Avoid allowing water to pool in your clean baby feeding equipment as a pool of water can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

The easiest way to air dry your baby bottles is by using a dish rack. There are even purpose made baby bottle drying racks available. These racks have hooks to dry your bottles as well as slots to dry your lids and nipples. The baby bottle drying rack is designed to take up as little room as possible, an absolute must for kitchens with limited space.

Congratulations, you have successfully finished cleaning your baby bottles. Do not be discouraged if your first attempt at cleaning takes a loner than expected. Speed will come with practice.

Cleaning baby bottles in a dish washer

If your baby bottles are glass or dishwasher safe plastic then you have the option of using the dishwasher to clean them. Just like cleaning by hand, you will need to separate the baby bottle into it’s individual parts. Simply toss the baby bottles and nipples in with your dirty pots and pans for a full cycle.

Unless your baby bottle instructions specify otherwise, it is always best to place your bottle, nipple and lid in the top section of your dishwasher. Items placed in the top rack of the dishwasher receive a gentler wash than those placed in the bottom section.

Placing your baby bottle lids and nipples in the dishwasher may cause them to slip between the gaps in the tray and become destroyed . A dishwasher basket is a great way to keep your nipples and sippy cup lids in one place. The dishwasher basket has clips that help your nipples stay upright for the duration of the wash. There is even a section for baby straws.


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