If you’re a new parent or a busy caregiver, you know how overwhelming it can be to constantly wash and sterilize baby bottles by hand. The never-ending pile of feeding equipment can leave you wishing for an easier way to keep those bottles clean and safe for your little one. Well, wonder no more! The dishwasher might just be your new best friend in the battle against dirty baby bottles.
Using the dishwasher to clean baby bottles is a topic of interest for many parents. After all, dishwashers are designed to efficiently clean and sanitize various items, so why not baby bottles? The good news is that, in most cases, you can indeed wash baby bottles in the dishwasher. It’s a convenient and time-saving method that ensures your baby’s feeding equipment remains sparkling clean and free from harmful germs.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the world of cleaning baby bottles in the dishwasher. From understanding which bottles are dishwasher-safe to mastering the art of proper loading, selecting the right cycle, and more, we’ve got you covered. Let’s explore the ins and outs of this baby bottle cleaning technique so that you can spend less time washing and more time cherishing those precious moments with your little one.
- 1 Are Your Baby Bottles Dishwasher Safe?
- 2 Dishwasher Accessories and Features for Cleaning Baby Bottles
- 3 How to Wash Baby Bottles in The Dishwasher?
Are Your Baby Bottles Dishwasher Safe?
The first step to safely cleaning baby bottles in the dishwasher is to ensure they are dishwasher safe. The majority of baby bottles on the market today are made from either plastic or silicone, both of which are generally safe for dishwasher cleaning. However, some parents may have concerns about chemicals or microplastics leaching from the bottle into the milk or water during the dishwasher cycle.
Fortunately, you can put those worries to rest. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles and containers, eliminating the risk of harmful chemical leaching. Additionally, food-grade silicone, commonly used in baby bottles, is non-toxic and heat-resistant, making it safe for dishwasher cleaning.
To be sure about the dishwasher safety of your specific baby bottle brand, it’s essential to check the manufacturer’s instructions. Below, we’ve summarized the dishwasher cleaning recommendations for some common brands:
- Philips Avent: All Philips Avent products are dishwasher safe. For items with small parts, place them on the top rack of the dishwasher.
- Dr. Brown’s: All Dr. Brown’s bottle parts, including the vent system and nipples, are dishwasher safe but should go on the top rack only.
- Mam: Mam bottles are dishwasher safe on the top dishwasher rack (max. 65°C / 149°F), but be cautious as food colorings may discolor components.
- Comotomo: Comotomo bottles are safe for dishwashers. Place them on the top rack to avoid proximity to the heating coils.
- Tommee Tippee: Tommee Tippee bottles are dishwasher safe, preferably placed on the top shelf to prevent potential staining.
- Life Factory: Although Life Factory products are top-rack dishwasher safe, hand washing is recommended for thorough cleaning of small parts.
- Chicco Duo: Chicco Duo bottles are safe for dishwashers, bottle warmers, and electric sterilizers due to their minimal parts.
By ensuring your baby bottles are indeed dishwasher safe, you can confidently move forward with using the dishwasher as your ally in maintaining clean and hygienic feeding equipment for your little one.
Dishwasher Accessories and Features for Cleaning Baby Bottles
Using a dishwasher to clean baby bottles doesn’t require fancy accessories, but certain features can enhance the effectiveness of the cleaning process. Let’s explore some helpful dishwasher accessories designed for cleaning baby bottles and other small items:
Third Rack for Nipples
Some dishwashers come equipped with extra racks specifically designed for cleaning small items like baby bottle nipples, lids, and other long or oddly shaped parts that might not fit well in other sections of the dishwasher. This feature is a game-changer as it maximizes dishwasher space and efficiency. You can also utilize this rack for flatware, measuring cups, and other small kitchen items. The third rack is typically removable and located at the very top of the dishwasher.
Basket for Bottle Parts
If your dishwasher doesn’t have a third rack, don’t worry! You can purchase a basket specially designed to hold all the nipples and rings securely. Many parents find this accessory incredibly useful for organizing baby bottle parts during the dishwasher cycle. An OXO basket, for instance, can accommodate up to eight bottle parts and features a lid to prevent spills. The versatility of these baskets allows you to continue using them even after your baby outgrows the bottles, serving as storage for lids, measuring spoons, pacifiers, and more.
Dishwasher Bottle Wash Jets
Certain dishwashers boast an innovative feature known as bottle wash jets, as seen in models like the GE Profile. These jets are designed to target and thoroughly clean baby bottles and other items with narrow openings. Situated on the top rack, the bottle wash jets shoot water at a 45-degree angle, effectively blasting away any stubborn residue inside the bottle. Additionally, you can use these jets to clean other items like coffee pots and tea kettles.
A sanitize cycle is a valuable feature found in select dishwashers. It plays a crucial role in reducing germs and killing most bacteria present on baby bottles, nipples, and breast pump parts. This cycle uses hot water heated to a minimum of 150°F (65.6°C) to clean and sanitize baby bottles thoroughly. Some dishwashers come with an automatic sanitize cycle that you can set and forget, while others require manual activation.
By utilizing these dishwasher accessories and features, you can optimize the cleaning process and ensure that your baby bottles and feeding equipment receive the best possible care.
How to Wash Baby Bottles in The Dishwasher?
Cleaning baby bottles in the dishwasher is a simple and effective method that saves time and effort for busy parents. Let’s walk through the step-by-step process of washing baby bottles in the dishwasher, along with some practical tips to make the task even more manageable.
Step #1: Disassemble the Baby Bottles
Before loading the baby bottles into the dishwasher, it’s crucial to disassemble all the parts. These parts typically include the nipples, rings, caps, and any additional valves or membranes that come with the bottles. If you occasionally hand wash your baby bottles, don’t forget to include the bottle cleaning brushes in this disassembly process.
Step #2: Rinse or Soak the Bottles
Once the bottle parts are separated, give them a quick rinse under running water. This preliminary rinse will remove any visible dirt or milk residue, preparing the bottles for the dishwasher cycle. If time permits, consider soaking the bottles in warm water with a small amount of mild soap for a few minutes. This soaking process helps loosen any stubborn dirt and facilitates easier cleaning during the dishwasher cycle. Alternatively, you can soak the bottles in a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water to remove milk residue and build-up.
Step #3: Load the Dishwasher
After rinsing or soaking the bottles, it’s time to load them into the dishwasher. Most baby bottle manufacturers recommend placing the bottles on the upper rack of the dishwasher, which is further from the heating elements. If your dishwasher comes with bottle wash jets, position the bottles on them with the openings facing downwards. Secure the bottles with the provided clips to prevent them from falling over during the cycle. For glass baby bottles, the bottom rack may offer more thorough cleaning.
If your dishwasher features a third rack, it serves as the ideal location for small bottle parts such as nipples, lids, and valves. In the absence of a third rack, you can use a mesh bag or a basket specifically designed for baby bottles. This arrangement prevents the small parts from getting lost or tangled with other items during the dishwasher cycle.
Step #4: Choose the Right Cycle and Detergent
Selecting the appropriate dishwasher cycle is vital to effectively cleaning baby bottles. For this purpose, it’s recommended to use the sanitize cycle if your dishwasher includes this feature. The sanitize cycle uses hot water heated to a minimum of 150°F (65.6°C), ensuring that the bottles are thoroughly sanitized. If your dishwasher lacks a sanitize cycle, opt for the hottest water cycle available.
As for detergent, choose a free and clear option that minimizes the likelihood of leaving residue on your baby bottles. Many parents find that using a detergent like Seventh Generation, formulated without harsh chemicals, produces excellent cleaning results.
Step #5: Dry the Bottles
Using the heated dry option on your dishwasher can aid in drying the bottles effectively and preventing water spots. However, keep in mind that some bottles may still come out slightly moist. To ensure complete drying, place all the cleaned bottle parts on a drying rack and allow them to air-dry thoroughly. For this purpose, a Boon drying grass is a handy accessory for drying nipples, rings, and pacifiers. You can also utilize a bottle drying rack specifically designed for the bottles.
An alternative to using a drying rack is placing the baby bottles on a clean, unused dish towel or paper towel. Regardless of the method chosen, it’s essential to let the cleaned baby bottles air-dry entirely before storing them. Avoid pat drying the bottles, as doing so may transfer germs or lint to the bottles.
By following these steps and implementing the tips provided, you can master the art of washing baby bottles in the dishwasher, ensuring your little one’s feeding equipment remains impeccably clean and safe for every use.
In conclusion, washing baby bottles in the dishwasher is a safe and effective method that offers convenience and peace of mind to busy parents. By adhering to dishwasher safety guidelines and utilizing dishwasher accessories designed for cleaning baby bottles, you can streamline the process and achieve excellent results. Remember to disassemble the baby bottles, rinse or soak them before loading, and select the appropriate dishwasher cycle and detergent for optimal cleaning performance. Always allow the bottles to air-dry completely before storing them, ensuring that your baby’s feeding equipment remains hygienic and ready for use.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Q: Is it safe to wash baby bottles in the dishwasher? A: Yes, it is safe to wash baby bottles in the dishwasher, as long as they are labeled as dishwasher-safe. Dishwashers can effectively clean and sanitize baby bottles, offering a convenient and time-saving option for busy parents.
- Q: Are plastic baby bottles safe to wash in the dishwasher? A: Yes, most plastic baby bottles are dishwasher-safe. Manufacturers have eliminated harmful chemicals like BPA from baby bottles, making them safe for dishwasher cleaning. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions to confirm dishwasher safety.
- Q: What dishwasher cycle should I use for baby bottles? A: If your dishwasher has a sanitize cycle, use it for cleaning baby bottles as it effectively kills germs. Otherwise, opt for the hottest water cycle available in your dishwasher.
- Q: Should I use a special detergent for cleaning baby bottles in the dishwasher? A: It’s best to use a free and clear detergent that is free from harsh chemicals and fragrance. Such detergents are less likely to leave residue on baby bottles.
- Q: Can I put bottle nipples and small parts in the dishwasher? A: Yes, you can put bottle nipples and small parts in the dishwasher. Use a third rack or a designated basket for securing these items during the dishwasher cycle.
- Q: How should I dry the baby bottles after washing them in the dishwasher? A: Use the heated dry option in your dishwasher to aid in drying the bottles. Additionally, place the cleaned bottle parts on a drying rack or a clean, unused dish towel to air-dry completely before storing them.
- Q: Can I start using the dishwasher to clean baby bottles from day one? A: Yes, you can use the dishwasher to clean baby bottles from the beginning, provided the bottles are dishwasher-safe. Using the dishwasher early on can save time and effort in maintaining a steady supply of clean bottles.
- Q: Can washing baby bottles in the dishwasher affect their longevity? A: While washing baby bottles in the dishwasher is safe, frequent dishwasher cleaning may impact the longevity of the bottles compared to handwashing. However, the convenience and hygienic benefits often outweigh any potential impact on longevity.