The reason doctors and nurses go a little nuts when talking about cleaning baby bottles is that bottlefeeding combines the ultimate culture medium for germs – milk – and your baby’s vulnerable immune system. Together they create a potential disaster zone! So it’s worth the effort to make sure your baby’s bottles are as clean as they can be.

Experts now acknowledge that outside an operating theatre, true sterilisation is a pipe dream (a study back in 1998 found that commercially available sterilising systems, both chemical and physical, actually left bacteria in the bottles). So whether or not you choose to sterilise bottles and teats is up to you. The most important thing is that your baby is exposed to as few bacteria as possible each time she has a bottle.

So having decided to wash well, what is the best way to do it? Your best friend is the cheap bottle brush available in pharmacies and supermarkets, which will get down into the bottom of the bottle and get rid of any of the globs of milk that will attract nasty germs.

Use detergent to wash the bottle well, rinse thoroughly with clean, hot water and then air dry. Alternatively, you can put the bottles upside down on the top shelf of your dishwasher, with the teats and rings separately, and run them through a normal cycle.

If you’re concerned about your baby’s wellbeing, the environment and your budget, you’d do best to invest in bottles that will last and cheap, basic ingredients where you’re not paying for perfumes, bulking agents or fancy packaging.

Gina Cacho from CleanLife believes there’s a trade-off between rigorous cleaning and breaking down the plastics in bottles. “I’d encourage parents to use glass bottles,” she says. While she wouldn’t allow a toddler to run around with one, they are very hardy, safe for babies and can be washed with the hottest water and the most abrasive cleaners without fear.

Failing that, there are better quality plastic bottles less prone to degradation. If you don’t want to use detergents you can soak rinsed bottles and nipples in 1 litre of water mixed with ½ cup of bicarbonate soda overnight, then rinse in water. The alkaline properties of bicarbonate soda seem to prevent bacterial overgrowth and it’s also fabulous for getting rid of smells (especially when you accidentally leave a used bottle in the car all day and it starts smelling like parmesan cheese).

Another cheap and environmentally friendly cleaning product is vinegar. Clean bottles with a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts warm water and brush vigorously with a bottle brush. Rinse the bottle out well with plain hot water to avoid vinegar-tasting milk for your baby next feed time. It is the acid in the vinegar that seems to ward off bacteria.

Vinegar and bicarbonate soda won’t harm the environment but be aware that while their antiseptic properties are well accepted, they have not been well studied and there is very little evidence in scientific journals to back them up.

No matter what cleaning approach you decide to use, make sure your bottles, teats and rings are in good condition and your method is thorough. And, equally importantly, always prepare and store your baby’s formula strictly according to the packaging instructions.

Follow Us

Our Picks

Latest Galleries