It can be such a hassle to wash baby bottles by hand – especially if you are exclusively formula feeding your baby, there is so much stuff to clean. That’s why many parents wonder if they can put baby bottles in the dishwasher. The dishwasher is one of those household items that make life so much easier – why not use it to wash baby bottles, too?
The answer is yes – you can definitely wash baby bottles in the dishwasher, even plastic and silicone ones. In fact, if used correctly, the dishwasher is really the best way to clean baby bottles. The high temperatures and steam of the dishwasher will kill more germs that might be lurking in your baby’s bottles. Just make sure that your baby bottles are dishwasher safe and you’re good to go!
In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about washing your baby bottles in the dishwasher to get them sparkling clean with the least effort.
Are Your Baby Bottles Dishwasher Safe?
The first thing you need to do is check if your baby bottles are dishwasher safe. Most baby bottles these days are made of either plastic or silicone, and both materials are generally dishwasher safe.
One of the main concerns that parents have when it comes to washing plastic or silicone baby bottles in the dishwasher is the possible leakage of chemicals and microplastics from the bottle into the milk or water.
However, this is not something you need to worry about – the FDA has actually banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and containers so there is no risk of any harmful chemicals leaching into the milk or water after putting the bottles in the dishwasher. Also, food-grade silicone that is used in baby bottles is non-toxic and heat resistant so it is perfectly safe to wash in the dishwasher, too.
If you’re not sure if your baby bottles are dishwasher safe, here’s a summary of the manufacturer’s instructions regarding dishwasher cleaning for the most common brands of baby bottles:
- Philips Avent: All Philips Avent products are dishwasher safe. If the product contains any small parts, place them on the top rack of the dishwasher.
- Dr. Browns: All Dr. Brown’s bottle parts are dishwasher safe, including the vent system and nipples, but on the top rack only.
- Mam: Bottles are dishwasher safe on the top dishwasher rack (max. 65° C / 149° F) but food colorings may discolor components.
- Comotomo: bottles are perfectly safe in dishwashers. But please place them on the top rack to avoid being too close to the heating coils.
- Tommee Tippee: bottles are dishwasher safe. Pop them on the top shelf though. As with all white and clear plastic things they can get a bit stained and yucky-looking in the dishwasher (blame that bolognese sauce or carrot soup you had last night). If they do get discolored there’s nothing to worry about – they’re perfectly safe, they just don’t look as inviting!
- Life Factory: Although this product is top-rack dishwasher safe, hand washing is recommended to ensure that small parts of the product are thoroughly cleaned.
- Chicco Duo: bottles are dishwasher, bottle warmer, and electric sterilizer safe and have minimal parts so you can easily clean them.
Dishwasher Accessories and Features for Cleaning Baby Bottles
You actually don’t need fancy dishwasher accessories for cleaning your baby bottles. You can use your regular dishwasher, and place the bottles on the top rack and the nipples and any small parts in the silverware basket. That being said, there are some useful dishwasher accessories that make cleaning baby bottles easier and much more effective.
Third Rack for Nipples
Some dishwashers come with extra racks that are designed for cleaning small items like baby bottle nipples, lids, and other long oddly shaped parts that don’t really fit anywhere else inside the dishwasher. This is a great feature to have if you want to make the most of your dishwasher space, you can also use it for any flatware, or measuring cups. The third rack is usually removable and located at the very top of the dishwasher.
Basket for Bottle Parts
If your dishwasher doesn’t come with a third rack, you can get a basket to hold all the nipples and rings. I started using the dishwasher for cleaning baby bottles much more since I got an OXO basket and I wish I knew about it sooner. It fits up to 8 bottle parts and has a lid to prevent it from spilling over. And the best thing is that you can keep using them after your baby outgrows the bottles for all those small things like lids, measuring spoons and pacifiers, and much more.
Dishwasher Bottle Wash Jets
The bottle jets are a feature that some dishwashers come with like the GE Profile. They are ideal for thoroughly cleaning baby bottles and any items with narrow openings. The dishwasher Bottle wash jets are located on the top rack and they shoot water at a 45-degree angle to blast away any residue inside the bottle. You can also use them to clean coffee pots, tea kettles, and much more.
The sanitize cycle is a feature that some dishwashers have and it’s great for reducing germs and killing most bacteria on baby bottles, nipples, and breast pump parts. This cycle uses hot water heated to a minimum of 150°F to clean and sanitize baby bottles. Some dishwashers have an automatic sanitize cycle that you can set and forget, while others have a manual sanitize cycle that you have to start manually.
How to Wash Baby Bottles in The Dishwasher?
Cleaning your baby bottles after each use is important to prevent the growth of bacteria that could compromise the safety of your baby’s milk. There are several ways to clean baby bottles, but the dishwasher is one of the most effective and convenient methods. Here is how to clean baby bottles in the dishwasher step by step with practical tips:
Step #1: Disassemble the Baby Bottles
The first step to cleaning your baby bottles in the dishwasher is to separate all bottle parts. These parts include nipples, rings, caps, and any valves or membranes that come with them. Don’t forget your bottle cleaning brushes as well if you hand wash your baby bottles occasionally.
Step #2: Rinse or Soak the Bottles
Once all the parts are separated, it’s time to give them a quick rinse under running water. This will remove any visible dirt or milk residue before putting them in the dishwasher.
If you have time, you can also soak the bottles in warm water with a bit of mild soap for a few minutes to loosen any stubborn dirt. You can also soak your bottles in equal parts vinegar and water to remove any milk residue and build-up.
Step #3: Load the Dishwasher
After rinsing or soaking the bottles, it’s time to place them in the dishwasher. Most baby bottles manufacturers recommend sticking to the upper rack which is further from the heating elements.
If your dishwasher is equipped with bottle wash jets, place your bottles on them facing downwards and secure them with the provided clips. If your dishwasher doesn’t have bottle wash jets, place the bottles on the upper rack pointing down. You can place your glass baby bottles on the bottom rack where they will be cleaned better.
If your dishwasher has a third rack, this is the ideal place to put all those small parts like nipples, lids, and valves. If not, you can use a mesh bag or a basket designed for baby bottles.
Step #4: Choose the Right Cycle and Detergent
The next step is to choose the right dishwashing cycle. For baby bottles, it’s recommended to use the sanitize cycle if your dishwasher has one. If not, the hot water cycle will do.
As for detergent, it’s best to use a free and clear detergent that will less likely leave a residue on your baby bottles. I noticed that my baby bottles came out much cleaner once I started using Seventh Generation detergent over my regular dishwasher tablets.
Step #5: Dry the Bottles
Make sure you use the heated dry option on your dishwasher, this will help dry the bottles better and prevent any water spots. But even with the heated dry option, bottles can still come out moist, so you still need to counter-dry all the bottle parts. The best way to do this is to place them all on a drying rack and let them air dry completely. For this, I love using my Boon drying grass for drying all nipples, rings, and pacifiers and a bottle drying rack for the bottles.
You can also place your baby bottles on a clean unused dish towel or paper towel. The important thing is to let your cleaned baby bottles air-dry completely before storing them. Just make sure not to pat dry your baby bottles so you don’t transfer any germs or lint to the bottles.
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When Can You Start Using the Dishwasher for Cleaning Baby Bottles?
Some parents wait a few weeks before starting to put their baby bottles in the dishwasher. But you can actually wash your baby bottles using the dishwasher from day 1!
Once you pick a bottle that your baby accepts and you stock up enough bottles to get you through a couple of days of feeding or at least an entire 24 hour period so that you don’t feel like you’re washing bottles all the time, using the dishwasher will become your best friend for cleaning baby bottles.
Ideally, you will need two sets of bottles, so that you can use one set while the other is being washed and dried, but you can also figure out a system that works best for you and your family. For us, it was running the dishwasher before going to bed and emptying it before breakfast. This way we always had clean bottles ready to go.
You can absolutely wash your baby bottles in the dishwasher! Just make sure you follow the steps we outlined above and you’ll have sparkly clean bottles that are safe to use for your baby.
The only downside I can think of with using the dishwasher for washing baby bottles is that in the long run, the bottles won’t last as well as if you were to handwash them. But that goes for anything that you clean using the dishwasher. And honestly, anything to streamline the hectic baby phase is welcome for me, even if it means replacing baby bottles every few years.
Do you have any tips for washing baby bottles or other baby feeding items? Please share in the comments below!