Last Updated: November 7, 2021
Babies are largely considered to be the joy of parenthood and some of the most adored individuals in society. Yet, they are one of the most vulnerable and dependent individuals.
Hence, adequate care should be applied in taking care of them. Caring for your baby spans body care, medical health, nutrition, and basic hygiene.
This article explores one of the many aspects of infant care by discussing whether or not baby feeding bottles should be put in a dishwasher for cleaning.
Putting Baby bottles in the dishwasher
Baby bottles can be put inside the dishwasher for cleaning. And this method is typically endorsed by many health authorities including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as it delivers squeaky clean components from bottle cap, sucking teats to rings and the actual bottle itself, especially when the sanitization feature of the dishwasher is used.
How to clean baby bottles in the dishwasher
First off, before any cleaning discussion is brought up, you have to make sure you’ve done the assignment of getting safe and high quality materials for your baby to feed from. And by these, I’m talking about everything that concerns baby feeding which especially includes feeding bottles.
Having feeding bottles of premium quality will ensure that you never have to worry about chemical leaching, discoloration, or structural disintegration of the bottles under heat. Come to think of it, if you don’t spend crazily on your little one who else would you do it for?
Now bringing up the topic of cleaning, you need to make sure you’re using safe detergents and also safe practices inside the dishwasher. It’s one thing to have quality items and it’s another to know how to properly take care of them so your baby stays healthy and happy all the time after feeding from them.
I’ll discuss the two points of consideration below.
The best type of detergents for cleaning baby bottles in the dishwasher
When using dishwashers for baby bottles, the detergent you use is just as important as the quality of bottle being washed.
While detergents are generally helpful and instrumental in all aspects of cleaning, they are also known to sometimes possess certain ingredients that can be harmful.
Considering the delicacy of cleaning baby bottles, the detergents you are using should be thoroughly inspected and reviewed.
Detergents that contain any of the following substances should not be used for baby bottles;
- Chlorine Bleach
These are just some of the substances that contemporary detergents contain. They may have proven to be effective in the general sense of cleaning, but they are not the best for washing baby bottles.
Alternative detergents that can be used for baby bottles in dish waters are those that are naturally formulated and void of the substances listed above. These detergents are usually made with plant-based enzymes that leave no traces or residue of food/milk odour or the detergent being used.
These kinds of detergents are usually specially formulated for baby feeding utensils and are made from hypoallergenic materials that are safe and non-toxic. Any detergent that is short of these qualities (non-toxic and non-residue) can leave traces that may be too harmful to an infant. So it is important to read labels and make further research while acquiring these products.
The safe practice for cleaning baby bottles in the dish washer
Before using a dishwasher for baby bottles, certain things would have to be put in place. A dishwasher basket is essential because it protects the smaller components that baby bottles usually entail.
When washing a baby bottle, it would have to be dismantled before the washing process starts. This is why it is important that a dishwasher basket be used so that the cover, nipple, lids, travel caps, wide base collars, etc., are not lost into the filter or wrongly positioned during the wash. The basket would not only keep all the items intact. It would also hold them in place separately and adequately enough for an efficient wash.
When washing bottles, they should be properly emptied first. Then the bottles can be soaked in warm water for some minutes. This is to rinse out any extra particles or liquids that may be present.
When this is done, the bottles should be placed in the basket, with the nipple bottle parts placed in the sensitive-wash section of the basket. The basket is compartmentalized across two sections based on sensitivity and level of cleaning to be done.
The bottles can be placed inside the basket with the top facing down to reduce the possibility of other substances or particles entering. After the washing process, leave the bottles to be air-dried after shaking the water off them. The use of towels or other cloths may further transfer germs to the bottle in the process of drying.
How Often Can You Wash Your Baby Bottle In The Dishwasher?
How often do you do your dishes? Everyday huh? That’s how frequently you should be washing baby bottles in the dishwasher. At a point, it can become arduous, and in that case, it’s totally fine to soak the dismantled parts in a wash basin filled with hot water and baby bottle friendly soap, and then scrub with a clean brush used only for that specific purpose. Learn how to properly go about the hand washing technique below; (it’s actually far down).
Best Practices for Washing Baby Bottles In A Dishwasher
Dishwashers may serve the purpose of cleaning, but they just as well need to be cleaned on an occasional basis.
One of the ways to do this is to regularly clean the dishwasher with a clean cloth and antiseptic, safe detergent, or hot water. It would be time-consuming to do this before or after every wash.
However, considering the sensitivity of the hygiene that should be the case with babies and that other things such as dishes and pots are most likely used in the same dishwasher, once a week would be appropriate.
The cleaning should be thorough and a clean cloth should be used for drying. Components of the dishwasher such as the basket and other parts should also be cleaned on the same basis. Also, baby bottles should not be simultaneously be washed with other materials.
Removing stubborn smells in the baby bottle
Using a dishwasher for your baby bottles does not always guarantee that residual smell is taken care of. Sometimes, the bottle may be clean but the odour may remain stagnant and require an extra effort to be removed. An appropriate solution is the use of vinegar. Put a tablespoon of vinegar and some hot water in the baby bottle and shake it thoroughly before emptying it. After this, rinse the bottle properly and use the appropriate detergent or washing soap to clean the bottle.
Consider the use of silicone bottles
Silicone bottles are one of the best options for baby bottles for a host of reasons. Primarily, they are a combination of glass and plastic and possess some of the qualities between these two materials.
Silicone bottles are not as sterile or heavy as glass. They are also more cost-friendly than glass with just about the same amount of safety. At the same time, they are not as porous or vulnerable to stains as plastics, providing a sense of balance between the two materials.
Silicone bottles are naturally free of chemicals such as Phthalates, BPA, or PVC. They are also heat resistant, and so can be put in microwaves, boiled in hot water, and washed in a dishwasher.
Air dry your baby bottles
Baby bottles are best air-dried after being washed in a dishwasher. They can be well shaken to remove as much moisture as possible then placed on a clean surface and in a convenient position to be drained.
A primary reason for this approach is that it eliminates the need for using a cloth to clean the bottle, especially the insides. Doing this could expose the bottle to more germs, even if the cloth is regularly washed. Particles from the cloth can also accumulate inside the bottle if this drying method is used.
Alternative for cleaning baby bottles in the dishwasher
It’s not always going to be possible to clean baby bottles using the dishwasher, and in that case, cleaning by hand is a totally decent option. Here are the steps to follow:
- Make sure your hands are properly cleaned.
- Dismantle the baby bottle and rinse every part using cold water.
- Soak in a clean wash basin containing hot water and babybottle safe detergent and scrub using a very clean brush specially used for cleaning baby bottles.
- Rinse properly, making sure to squeeze water out of any holes like that from the nipple — you don’t want you baby sucking out Ecos.
- Now allow to air dry, and only air dry.
Should You Sterilize Your Baby Bottles?
Yes, occasionally and typically for infants that are less than 12 months old and are feeding from the bottle, according to the CDC.
Also, if your baby has an underlying health condition such as a weakened immune system, you may need to sterilize the baby bottles on a more frequent basis, ideally after every use.
Sterilizing is uncomplicated and easy to observe. All it takes is boiling water and a clean bowl or container where the bottles can be dipped into. The container should be covered and the bottles left inside for 10 – 20 minutes.
Check out this article by the CDC to find out how to properly sterilize a baby bottle.
While the dishwasher has been known to pose some disadvantages such as wearing, discoloration, and melting of inappropriate materials, the right amount of moderation and adequate practice can be used to get the best out of dishwashers. So whether or not you decide to use dishwashers or manual means, important considerations to be made are hygiene and adequate practice that is best for the baby.