Can I Use Regular (or ANY) Dish Soap for Baby Bottles? FULL Guide

Balint Horvath, PhD

Writer, parent, and veteran of baby feeding battles.


When it comes to washing your baby bottles, feeding accessories and eating utensils, you may be wondering if you can use regular dish soap for baby bottles. Is there a difference between regular dish soap and baby dish soap? Keep reading to find out!

Yes, regular dish soap is safe for cleaning baby bottles if it’s free from harmful ingredients like dyes and phosphates. Explore natural alternatives or use vinegar/baking soda. Also avoid ammonia and chlorine for your baby’s well-being.

Key takeaways

  • You can use regular dish soap to wash bottles provided it doesn’t contain harmful ingredients such as dyes and phosphates. 
  • A wide variety of natural – and equally effective – baby dish soaps make it easy to choose a suitable soap.
  • Alternatives to using dish soap include using the dishwasher or opting for a baking soda and vinegar solution.

Can you use any dish soap to wash baby bottles?

Yes, regular dish soaps can easily clean your baby bottles, as long as it doesn’t contain some harmful ingredients. The concern stems from the ingredients found in regular dish soaps. Ingredients such as fragrances, dyes, hydrotrope, salts, preservatives and surfactants may affect your little one’s skin. 

If you’re going to use your regular dish soap, you may want to avoid the following ingredients:

  • Ammonia: While it’s an excellent cleaning agent, it can be toxic to lungs, skin and even eyes even in small quantities. 
  • Phosphates: For the most part, phosphates cause depletion of oxygen levels in water and create toxicity in humans.
  • Chlorine: This chemical, if in your dish liquid, is easily released into the air when doing dishes and can create skin irritations. 

What’s the difference between regular dish soap and baby dish soap?

Aside from the potentially harmful chemicals found in regular dish soap, these detergents may also leave a soapy residue on the bottles and accessories. Soap residue that hasn’t been washed off can lead to stomach issues.

The feeding bottle comes into contact with your baby’s face and hands during the feeding process and residue may also leach into the new milk. Read how to get soap smells out of your bottles if you’re opting for regular soap.

What are the steps to washing baby bottles with dish soap?

If you’re going to wash your baby bottles using baby bottle dish soap, here’s how:. 

  • Step 1: Fill a basin or sterile container with hot water and a few drops of your chosen baby dish soap. Avoid using the regular kitchen sink as it may contain bacteria that can be transferred. 
  • Step 2: Use your bottle brush to scrub and clean all bottle parts. Squeeze water and soapy solution through the nipples to ensure milk residue is removed. 
  • Step 3: Rinse all components by holding them under running water. 
  • Step 4: Allow air dry by placing bottles and accessories on an unused towel in an area safe from dust and potential contact by anyone else. Or you might want to use a drying rack.

This short clip will show you how easy it is to wash your bottles!

Are there natural dish soaps for baby bottles?

When my partner and I were preparing for our little princess, we made it our mission to look for natural products wherever possible. Fortunately, there were many natural dish soaps to choose from! The Puracy Natural Dish Liquid is an option I use often. With its green tea and lime mix, it’s a wonderful solution.

Will dish soap remove stains from baby bottles?

Regular dish soap will easily remove the stains from bottles but will create a residue, which you will need to vigorously rinse off. You will also need to sanitize the bottle to ensure that all residue is washed off. 

Since baby dish soap doesn’t contain the harsh chemicals known to be effective in regular soap, it’s normal to wonder if this soap is as effective as its stronger counterparts. Baby dish soap has been specially formulated, using plant-based ingredients, to effectively clean stains and odors. 

Infact, the Dapple Baby Bottle and Dish Soap promise to remove up to 50% more milk, film and odors than any of its leading competitors. Its formula is so effective, you can use it for the whole family’s dishes!

Top 3 dish soaps to use to wash baby bottles

In addition to the brands I’ve already mentioned, there are three more that I think are well worth a mention.

1. ATTITUDE Liquid Dish Soap

ATTITUDE Baby Dish Soap and Bottle Cleaner, EWG Verified Dishwashing Liquid, No Added Dyes or Fragrances, Tough on Milk Residue and Grease, Vegan, Unscented, 23.7 Fl Oz

2. Babyganics Foaming Dish and Bottle Soap

Babyganics Foaming Dish & Bottle Soap, Pump Bottle, Fragrance Free, Plant-Derived Cleaning Power, Removes Dried Milk, 16 Fl Oz, (Pack of 3), Packaging May Vary

3. Better Life Natural Dish Soap

Better Life Dish Soap - Liquid Dishwashing Soap with Vitamin E and Aloe for Home & Kitchen Sink - No Gloves Required Kitchen Soap for Sensitive Skin - 22oz (Pack of 2) Unscented

Alternatives to washing with dish soap

If you’re not entirely comfortable with the potential risk dish soap poses, there are a few other ways that you can consider washing your baby bottles. 

1. Using dishwasher

If you have a dishwasher, I absolutely recommend using this method to wash your baby bottles! Not only is it a quick method, but it’s also very effective for removing germs and bacteria. Here are some top dishwashers invented specifically for baby bottles.

Opting for a baby dishwasher soap such as Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent will ensure that there’s no exposure to harmful chemicals. Place the bottle parts on the top shelf of the dishwasher to ensure smaller components don’t get lost or damaged. Read my article on great dishwasher basket types for easy washing in the dishwasher.  

2. Cleaning baby bottles by hand

You can wash your bottles by hand without dish liquid, by boiling them on the stove for about 10 minutes. Rinse well and air dry. 

3. Baking soda and vinegar

Another option to consider is soaking your bottles in a container filled with a solution of baking soda and white vinegar. Here’s how:

  • Fill a container with equal parts hot water and vinegar
  • Add four tablespoons of baking soda and stir
  • Add bottles and soak for at least six hours, or overnight
  • Rinse and dry

Here’s a separate article I wrote about cleaning baby bottles in vinegar / baking soda.

Can you wash baby bottles with hand soap?

Many modern soaps contain antibacterial ingredients. If this is the case with the soap you’re using, you should AVOID using hand soap. Anti-bacterial ingredients contain chemicals such as triclosan which is known for leaving a residue and can be harmful if ingested. 


While you can use regular dish soap to wash your baby bottles, it’s crucial to check the ingredients. To avoid having to stress over harmful ingredients, it’s a good idea to opt for one of the many wonderful, natural, hypoallergenic options! 

Other articles that will help you keep your baby bottles and accessories clean include the best dishwasher detergents for baby bottles and using Dawn dish soap to wash bottles – give them a read!

Last update on 2024-04-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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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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