How to Safely Clean Baby Bottles

Reviewed by Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN
baby drinking bottle - How to Safely Clean Baby Bottles

March is National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating. It is also the time of year when the Academy celebrates expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists as the food and nutrition experts.

From first words to first steps, there are many firsts to come for your baby — but food poisoning shouldn't be one of them. Since young children and infants are at an increased risk for food poisoning, learning the basics of baby bottle safety is important to keeping your infant protected.

Baby Bottle Cleaning

Both breast milk and prepared formula are susceptible to bacterial contamination if not handled properly, which is why sterilizing and cleaning can go a long way.

Before the very first use, sterilizing baby bottles in boiling water for five minutes is recommended, though it's not necessary to do this regularly.

For daily cleaning of bottles and supplies, however, you'll only need soap, hot water and a baby bottle brush.

  • Fill sink with hot water and add dishwashing liquid.
  • Add bottles, nipples, caps, rings, preparation utensils and other supplies.
  • Pour hot, soapy water into bottles, and rotate a baby bottle brush inside until the bottle is clean. Wash away all soapy water under running water.
  • Use a nipple brush to wash nipples and nipple holes. Squeeze the hot, soapy water through the nipple hole to flush out any trapped milk.
  • Thoroughly rinse all utensils under running water to wash away all traces of soapy water.
  • Use sanitized tongs to remove bottles, nipples and other utensils and place them in the dish drainer to dry.

Even if you use disposable plastic bottle liners and ready-to-use formula, you still need to make sure the bottles and nipples are clean. Additionally, washing and drying in a dishwasher is safe, but only with heated water and a hot drying cycle. First check the manufacturer label to make sure items are dishwasher safe.

And, don't forget, before handling baby bottles (or feeding your baby), always wash your hands thoroughly with hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.

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