I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit of a germaphobe. This was especially true when I had my babies, and when I needed to learn how to sanitize their bottles and binkies. So today, I’m sharing some tips straight from the CDC on ways to keep baby bottles and accessories clean. Let’s dig in…
In the Dishwasher
Check the packaging of your baby’s bottles and pacifiers to see if they are dishwasher safe. Most items tend to be dishwasher safe only on the top rack, so be aware of that when you’re loading the dishwasher. The CDC recommends that you take all of the components apart and rinse them before loading them into the dishwasher. When you load them into the dishwasher, place smaller items into a basket like this so they don’t end up at the bottom of the dishwasher. And run the dishwasher using hot water and a heated drying cycle. Wash your hands with soap and warm water before unloading the items. If they’re not completely dry, lay them on a clean, dry towel to air dry.
If you’re washing baby bottles by hand, make sure you wash your hands well before beginning. Separate the bottle parts and rinse them individually under running water. Don’t set them down in the sink. Fill a clean container (that you’re using only to clean the bottle parts and accessories) with hot water and soap, and place items directly in the container. Scrub items using a clean brush (that is also only used to clean your baby accessories). Squeeze water through nipple holes to ensure that the holes get clean. Rinse again under running water, and allow parts to air-dry. Then clean the container and the brush by washing them by hand or putting them into the dishwasher.
When in Doubt, Sanitize
Sanitizing feeding items once a day can ensure that items stay super clean. (This is only necessary if you haven’t washed the items in a dishwasher with hot water and the heated dry setting.) Sanitize items after they’ve been washed by one of the above methods, and check with the item’s manufacturer about which of the following methods you should use to further sanitize your accessories:
Place items into a pot and cover with water, and bring water to a boil. Boil for five minutes and remove items with clean tongs.
Place disassembled items in the microwave or a plug-in steam system (like this) and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for sanitizing, cooling and drying the items.
Prepare a bleach solution of one teaspoon of unscented bleach per gallon or water in a clean wash basin. Submerge items completely, checking that the solution covers all parts and there are no air bubbles in the bottles or pacifiers. Squeeze solution through the nipple holes, and soak for at least two minutes. Remove with tongs or washed hands. Do not rinse the items; any remaining bleach will break down as it dries. Allow all items to dry completely before storing.
As mentioned above, let all of your bottle accessories, bottle brushes and washing containers air-dry completely before putting them away. With clean hands, put all components back together. Place all reassembled items in a protected, clean area like a closed kitchen cabinet used to store clean dishes or that has been specifically designated to hold all clean baby bottles and accessories.