Baby Bottle Feels Greasy – Top Reasons and How to Clean It

Balint Horvath, PhD

Writer, parent, and veteran of baby feeding battles.


Keeping your baby bottles clean is essential for your baby’s health. Bottles that aren’t cleaned properly can easily become a breeding ground for bacteria. If your baby’s bottles feel greasy it may be time to change the way you clean your bottles. With that in mind, I’ve provided ways on how to clean greasy baby bottles. 

Essentially, there can be a few reasons why baby bottles feel greasy. One of the main reasons is that the fat found in breast milk can leave a greasy residue. Additionally, the bottles may have been washed with other regular dishes that have left an oily residue in the dishwater.

Key takeaways

  • Bottles can become greasy because they’re being washed with other dishes.
  • Breast milk can also create an oily residue.
  • Washing the bottles after every use will eliminate the risk of greasy build-up.

4 reasons your baby’s bottles feel greasy

Nobody wants their baby bottles to feel or look greasy. In many instances, there’s a simple reason to explain why your baby bottles feel greasy. I’ve listed some of the more common. 

1. You washed baby bottles with oily pans or utensils 

Ideally, you want to wash your bottles separately from other dishes, but in a busy household, it’s easy for dishes to get mixed up. Additionally, if someone else is doing your dishes, they may not always remember to wash them separately. 

Washing dishes with other oily dishes can leave a residue on the bottles. This is especially the case if the bottles are washed last or if the pans and utensils have been in the sink long enough for the grease to come off. 

2. Build-up of milk fat or hard water

If you’re adding breastmilk to the bottles rather than formula, you’re more likely to have greasy bottles. This is because the fat in the milk rises and the more fat-based components tend to cling to the sides of the bottle. 

3. Extreme heat

Over time, boiling water in your bottles or continuous washing in high temperatures can lead to the plastic getting too hot. When this happens, the heat disrupts the original arrangement of the plastic molecules in the bottle. This can result in bottles feeling greasy or looking cloudy. 

4. Touching the bottles with greasy hands 

Another common reason for grease on your baby bottles may be a result of touching them with greasy hands. Your hands may be greasy from creams and baby lotions. Or, you are cooking and reaching for a bottle without realizing your hands are oily. 

Tips to prevent baby bottles from becoming greasy

Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to ensure that your baby bottles don’t become greasy. Let’s take a look at the best ways to keep your bottles clean and less likely to become greasy. 

Soak baby bottles in lemon juice and warm water

One of the easiest ways to clean your baby bottles is to wash them with lemon juice and warm water. This is because lemon juice is a natural antibacterial and antiseptic which means it can easily break down any greasy fat particles on the bottles.

Wash and sterilize baby bottles after every use

Baby bottles should be washed after every feeding session. Don’t just rinse them out, as this won’t remove any greasy residue. Always use mild dish soap and you can also sterilize them in boiling water.

Don’t wash baby bottles with other items

Make it a rule in your home that anyone who washes any of the baby’s bottles and feeding accessories shouldn’t do it with other dishes. To make the process simpler, you can get a plastic basin that stands near the sink. Wash all the bottles and accessories in the basin to avoid getting mixed with other dishes or pots. 

Use a bottle brush to remove residue from the bottles

Always wash your bottles with a bottle brush as this will easily remove any milk residue. Use the brush to wash the inside and outside of the bottle.

How to Clean Greasy Baby Bottles

There are a few simple ways to clean greasy baby bottles. Here are a few easy cleaning methods to consider.

Dish soap or baby shampoo and water

Dish soap and water is by far the easiest way to clean baby bottles. For getting the grease off, baby shampoo is a great option, too, especially considering it’s less harsh than regular dishwashing soap. Simply follow these simple steps. 

  • Soak the bottles and accessories in a tub or basin filled with soapy water
  • Use a bottle to scrub the bottle inside and out, to remove greasy residue
  • Rinse the bottles with warm water

Vinegar or lemon juice mixture

A vinegar mixture is also often used to dissolve oil and bacteria residue from the bottles. Here’s how. 

  • Make a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar
  • Use the vinegar mixture and a bottle brush to wash the bottles
  • Rinse well to ensure there’s no vinegar residue in the milk
  • You can also alternate the vinegar with lemon juice 

What to do if grease doesn’t come off baby bottles

Depending on what caused the grease in the first place, it may become rather difficult to get it off. When soaking, sterilizing, and scrubbing doesn’t seem to work, it may be time to replace the bottles. 

In this instance, I would recommend opting for glass bottles because they are easier to clean. Additionally, glass bottles are easier to clean and won’t become cloudy if they’re exposed to continuous heat. The good news is, most of your favorite brands already have glass bottles. That means you’ll still be able to enjoy the quality you’re used to. 

Here’s a short clip to show you how easy it is to keep your bottles clean. 


Prevention is better than cure, as the old saying goes. So, wherever possible, keep your baby bottles and feeding accessories away from your other dishes and pots during washing time. Be sure to sterilize often and keep some lemon juice or vinegar handy to easily clean any grease build-up!

By cleaning it properly you may use a bottle even for multiple feedings during the day.

And if mold comes up, I have a solution also for that case, so on how to prevent mold in baby bottles.

Photo of author


I’m Balint, founder of this site and a father (and dad) to a baby-turned toddler. I found the world of babies so fascinating that I started a blog dedicated only to that topic. By the way, I studied physics, engineering (PhD, MSc), and therefore I do a thorough research when I write about something. Since it’s a blog, of course I also write about my personal experiences.

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