Are Used Baby Bottles Safe? Extra Precautions to Take

Balint Horvath, PhD

Writer, parent, and veteran of baby feeding battles.


If you’re expecting your second or even third baby, you may have kept several items from your first baby to reuse. That’s an excellent way to save money on larger items such as strollers and cribs. Smaller items such as sealed diapers and used bottles are also items that parents keep for the other babies. So are used baby bottles safe? 

Whether or not used baby bottles are safe to reuse depends largely on the age and condition of the bottles. Bottles must be in good condition, free of stains and cracks. The bottles should also have all the correct components in working order. Plastic bottles should have been manufactured after 2012 to ensure they are BPA-free.

Key takeaways

  • Baby bottles can easily be reused if they are still in good condition. 
  • Plastic bottles should only be used if they were manufactured after 2012 to ensure they are BPA-free.
  • Replace broken or missing components to ensure the bottle works properly. 
  • Check bottles for stains, odors and cracks. 
  • Bottles should be thoroughly strerilized before reuse, especially after months or even years in storage. 

Is it OK to use second-hand baby bottles?

Whether or not to reuse baby bottles for future babies is a common question asked by parents when they’re deciding what baby items to keep or to donate those bottles. Additionally, parents also ask if it’s safe to buy used baby bottles?

The good news is that you can save money on buying bottles if you kept the bottles used by your previous baby. There are, of course, several important factors to keep in mind when you take your baby bottles out of storage. 

Parents need to check the condition of the bottles as well as test for leaks. Bottles should be damage-free, not leaking and have all the components to ensure they function properly. Keep in mind that bottles with components to aid colic and reflux symptoms require all their parts to perform the function they were designed for. Even the absence of the smallest component may cause the bottle to leak. 

Is it OK to reuse baby bottles for a second or third child?

You can easily reuse your own bottles for your second, third or even fourth baby. Keep in mind that the same factors apply no matter who used the bottles previously. 

How to tell if a used baby is safe?

If you’re considering reusing baby bottles, there are a few pointers to check for. I’ve listed the most crucial aspects to check for.

It’s BPA free

The biggest risk with plastic bottles stems from the BPA that was found in bottles manufactured before 2012. While it’s probably unlikely that you’d have bottles dated so far back, it’s important to check any bottles that were donated to you. If you want to reuse your bottles for future babies, opting for glass or silicone options is the best way to ensure they’re BPA-free. 

Don’t have scratches wear and tear 

Bottles shouldn’t have scratches, dents or missing components. After all, you don’t want your baby using a bottle that looks old or damaged. Nicks in the plastic could also hurt your little one’s hands. 

No mold or yellowing of the plastic

If bottles were not completely dried before placing them into storage, they can easily develop mold. Here’s an article I wrote about removing mold in bottles. Used plastic bottles often turn yellow as they age. Be sure to check for this before considering whether or not to use the bottles.

Doesn’t smell like chemicals 

Plastic bottles that were extensively used for the first baby may absorb odors from formula or even the chemicals used to clean them. 

Extra steps to take to make sure used baby bottles are safe

There are a few steps you can take to ensure that the bottles you’re taking out of storage are in good, working condition. Here’s what you need to do. 

Sterilize the baby bottles

Whether you’re taking the bottles out of storage or receiving them as a gift from someone, the first thing you need to do is sterilize them and all the relevant components. This includes the bottles, caps, colic components and any additional parts. 

Replace the nipples 

All nipples should be replaced because no matter how good a condition you think they were in when you placed them in storage, the reality is that they tear and break over time. Replacing nipples is also the best way to avoid exposing your baby to any bacteria.

Replace all parts that are cracked or broken

Most brands sell the components that make up their bottles separately. Test the best bottle to make sure everything works with no leaks. If not, replace the parts that are broken or cracked. 

What to do with baby bottles after use

If you aren’t going to reuse your bottles, here are a few ideas of what you can do with old baby bottles.

  • Recycle them: Some bottle brands such as Dr.Brown partner with recycling companies to recycle their old products. These bottles will have recycling symbols on the bottom. You can also check on the product website to confirm whether or not it can be recycled. 
  • Donate the bottles: Bottles in good condition can be donated to shelters, children’s homes and orphanages. You can check for these in your local community. 
  • Give them to family members who need them: You can also donate bottles to your friends, family or colleagues who may be expecting. Be sure to tell them the bottles are previously used. This is because some people may not want used bottles. 


Baby bottles can be reused if they are in good condition without leaks or damage. Change broken components and buy a new set of teats. Be sure to sterilize the bottles and their components before reuse. Bottles in excellent condition are an excellent way to save money!

As you’re getting bottles ready for your baby, my article on bottles of various ounces is an informative read! Lastly, did you know there are some individuals (for various reasons) who use a baby bottle as adults?

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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