Cleaning Tips, Guides & Resources

Learn How to Clean Babies’ Bottles, and Safeguard Your Baby From Harmful Bacteria

Adriana Aziz
February 26, 2023
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how to clean baby bottles custom graphic

Unlike breastfeeding, there is more to be wary of when you are bottle feeding your baby. Germs and bacteria quickly become a threat if the right precautions are not taken with regards to cleaning and sterilising baby bottles.

Studies show that feeding a baby, particularly a newborn under the age of 3 months, from an improperly washed bottle can lead to a number of diseases and infections. Vomiting and diarrhoea are just two common symptoms that your baby may display upon feeding from an unsanitary bottle. One must remember that babies younger than 12 months are highly susceptible to falling sick because their immune systems are not fully developed. This is more evident among premature babies and infants who are ailing from a disease such as HIV or cancer.

With the understanding of just how vulnerable your baby is to bacteria, viruses, and infections, learning how to clean baby bottles is not an option, but a necessity - one that is critically important! So, today, MaidForYou is sharing a simple, foolproof method to clean babies’ bottles, along with the teats/nipples. Furthermore, we will explain two ways to sterilise these items. Remember, cleaning and sterilisation are two separate things, yet go hand in hand when it comes to fully eliminating bacteria and germs.

How Often Should You Clean Your Baby’s Bottles?

woman cleaning white babies bottle in a stainless steel sink

There are a few factors to consider when you talk about the required frequency of cleaning babies’ bottles. Ideally, you must clean and sterilise the bottle and teat after every use; but what do you do when there is milk/formula leftover in the bottle? Do you empty it out and clean both the bottle and teat for their next use, or can you reuse them and then wash them after the contents of the bottle are finished?

Well, firstly, it is not advisable to store breastmilk/formula for more than 2-3 hours. With that in mind, if you have finished feeding your baby but there is milk leftover, put it in the fridge immediately, and ensure that it is either consumed within the aforementioned time frame, or subsequently discarded. If you are reusing a bottle from earlier, replace the teat/nipple with one that has been washed and sterilised.

The reason why many choose to replace a used teat/nipple is because bacteria from the baby’s mouth gets transferred to the silicone or latex material, and remains active. Even when refrigerated, the milk may stay fresh for a few hours, however, the bacteria does not go away. Therefore, it is advisable to immediately remove the teat after a feeding, and cap the bottle before storing it in the fridge.

How to Wash Baby Bottles

woman running pink baby bottle under bathroom tap

There are different ways to clean your little one’s feeding bottle, however, you must remember that cleaning is only the first step, followed by sterilisation. In this method, we are using a

simple, yet thorough hand-wash technique with soap and water that is carried out in the safest way possible to ensure no other contaminants come in contact with the baby bottle and other parts of it.

Things You Will Need to Clean Baby Bottles

  • Basin
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Bottle brush
  • Soft toothbrush (a brand new one)
  • Drying rack/clean surface

NOTE: The cleaning tools used but be solely dedicated to cleaning your baby’s bottle and nothing else.

As you can see, there are just a few basic things required to clean your baby’s bottle. Once you have put them together, follow the steps below to complete a safe and thorough cleaning of the bottle and its additional parts.

Wash Your Hands

Cross-contamination is something to always be wary of when handling your infant’s feeding equipment. Considering the fact that we are constantly touching various surfaces, objects, personal mobile phones, and even our own skin, our hands are prone to germs and bacteria which can easily be transferred to another surface. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is wash your hands thoroughly with hand soap and water. As an extra precaution, you can follow this up by using a hand sanitiser.

Disassemble the Bottle

Most baby bottles come in four parts:

    1. Bottle
    2. Nipple/Teat
    3. Collar
    4. Cover

Each of these components must be removed and cleaned individually to ensure that no milk or residue from the formula is left behind.

Rinse the Bottle Parts

Before you get to the deeper part of cleaning your baby’s feeding equipment, rinse off each component under running water. Be as thorough as you can by ensuring every inch of the item has been rinsed. For this, a high water pressure is recommended while the temperature can be either cold or warm.

Soak & Scrub

Add a teaspoon of dish soap to the basin and fill it with hot water. You want to create a mild solution of soapy water here. Dunk the bottle and other parts into the water and let them soak for a few minutes. Next, scrub the bottle with a bottle brush, and the rest of the components with the toothbrush. Be sure to rinse the bristles under running water between scrubs. During this step, hold the teat under water and squeeze or manipulate the material to pass soapy water through the hole. This ensures a thorough clean of the part that makes direct contact with your baby’s mouth.

Rinse & Dry

Just as you did earlier, rinse all the parts under running water thoroughly to remove the soap. Don’t miss any crevices including the teat hole. Once rinsed, allow the bottle and other parts to air-dry on a dry or clean surface. Avoid wiping as it may leave fibres behind, or worse, cause cross-contamination.

IMPORTANT: Ensure that the bottle material and other components can withstand high heat before soaking them in hot water.

How to Sterilise a Baby Bottle

woman disinfecting babies bottles in a large pyrex bowl of hot water

As we mentioned earlier, sterilising your baby’s feeding bottle is important because cleaning alone does not kill or remove all bacteria. As clean as the washed bottle may appear, there could be harmful germs present that are not visible to the naked eye.

Fortunately, you can very easily sterilise baby bottles at home using either of the methods below.

Boiling Water Method

  1. Take the bottle apart and place the pieces in a pot.
  2. Submerge them in water and bring to a boil. Allow the water to boil for a few minutes before turning off the heat.
  3. Drain the water and take the components out using a sterile pair of tongs.
  4. Allow them to dry on a rack or clean surface.

Sterilising Solution

  1. Purchase a baby-safe sterilising solution. Follow the dilution rates mentioned on the label.
  2. Soak the feeding equipment in a dedicated basin filled with the solution for as long as the product recommends. This is typically between 15 - 30 minutes. If needed, use a clean lid to keep all the parts submerged.
  3. Check if the bottle parts require rinsing after being soaked; if not, shake off the excess water and leave them to air dry.

When you have cleaned and sterilised your baby’s bottle, allow each part to dry completely before assembling it, and storing in a clean, dry place. An airtight storage container dedicated to baby bottles and other feeding equipment is perfect for holding them until their next use. Just make sure that everything is dry and that there is no moisture in the container before you close it as this can lead to the development of mould.

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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