Can You Wash Baby Bottles & Nipples in the Dishwasher (w/ Dishes)?

Balint Horvath, PhD

Writer, parent, and veteran of baby feeding battles.

Updated:

Can you wash baby bottles in the dishwasher if you’re bottle-feeding your baby?

The dishwasher is a lifesaver in our home and I imagine the same for many other households with busy parents! 

Baby bottles and parts can be washed in the dishwasher if they’re dishwasher-safe. Most popular baby bottle brands are dishwasher-safe, making it easier to wash and sanitize them safely. Using the top rack, baskets, and the right dishwasher detergent is important for proper hygiene. 

Key takeaways

  • Baby bottles and parts can be safely washed in the dishwasher if they’re dishwasher-safe and you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Only use the top rack of the dishwashers and accessories such as a dishwasher basket for small parts.
  • Use dishwashers that include features such as a baby care wash cycle.
  • The right dishwasher detergent prevents damage to baby bottles and parts, is hypoallergenic and is formulated to remove stubborn grease and stains. 
  • Baby bottles can be washed with dirty dishes as long as you take some precautions such as removing leftover food from the crockery before placing it in the dishwasher.
  • Silicone baby bottle nipples can be washed in the dishwasher although they do deteriorate faster compared to handwashing. 

Is it safe to wash baby bottles in a dishwasher?

It’s safe to wash baby bottles in a dishwasher as long as the feeding equipment is dishwasher-safe. Glass, plastic, and silicone baby bottles can be washed in the dishwasher as well as all the different parts. 

But, location matters as well as keeping the smaller bottle parts altogether in one place!

When cleaning infant feeding items in the dishwasher be sure to disassemble the bottle parts and rinse them under cold or warm running water before placing them in the appliance. This removes stubborn residue and ensures the feeding items are thoroughly cleaned when washed in the dishwasher. 

How to clean baby bottles in the dishwasher

Make sure the parts are dishwasher-safe

Dishwasher-safe baby bottles and parts are less likely to melt or crack during a hot wash cycle. Knowing whether your favorite brand such as MAM bottles are dishwasher-safe reassures you that you can clean and sanitize them using this method. 

What about popular baby bottle brands? Are Avent or Comotomo bottles dishwasher safe or Dr. Brown’s being safe for use in the dishwasher

The answer is yes to all of these brands – how’s that for convenience!

Use the top rack 

While most of the favorite baby bottle brands are dishwasher-safe, the manufacturers are very clear about one thing – use the top rack only. 

Dishwasher-safe baby bottles and nipples can withstand the hot wash cycle. But, if they’re too close to the heating elements at the bottom of the appliance which has higher temperatures, the bottles and parts could start melting. 

Why are baby bottles typically dishwasher-safe? Because the feeding equipment is made with premium quality glass, plastic, or silicone that can withstand high temperatures BUT only on the top rack.   

Secure the bottles in place

Not only do baby bottle manufacturing guidelines recommend only using the top rack but they emphasize the importance of securing the bottles (and parts) in place. If your dishwasher has bottle wash jets, place the bottles facing downward, securing them in position with the clips. 

If your dishwasher doesn’t have this feature, place the open bottles upside down on the top rack, fitting them close together so they don’t fall over during the wash cycle. You can secure them by placing them snugly with other items such as glasses and mugs on the top rack. 

Place small parts in a special basket

A dishwasher basket is an excellent accessory that should be used to store the bottle’s small parts such as the teats, lids, caps, and venting systems during a wash cycle. This prevents the parts from flying around while being washed and getting lost in the process. 

Look for some excellent dishwasher baskets for baby bottles designed to accommodate the different parts. These special baskets can also be used to keep baby items such as pacifiers and teethers in one place while being sanitized in the dishwasher. 

Use the right dishwasher

Using dishwashers (e.g. countertop) for baby bottles ensures the feeding equipment is washed safely and hygienically. Look out for the following features:

  • Third rack: This rack at the top is the best place to put small parts such as nipples, lids, and caps and saves you from having to use a dishwasher basket. It keeps the smaller parts secure and away from the heating coils at the bottom of the dishwasher. 
  • Adjustable top rack: Being able to adjust the top rack means you can wash different-sized baby bottles as your little one grows older. 
  • Accessible control buttons: The dishwasher should have control buttons at the top for easy access and safe operation while out of reach from small, curious fingers. 
  • Child lock: A safety lock prevents your child from opening the machine while it’s running. A child lock keeps the door shut and prevents young children from getting into the appliance or accessing dishes inside.  
  • Baby care wash cycle: Not only does this wash the bottles gently but it also uses steam to clean them during the sanitization cycle to get rid of germs and bacteria. 
  • Heated drying cycle: Having the option to select a drying cycle ensures the bottles and parts are thoroughly dry and hygienic for the next feed. 

Space-saving portable or countertop dishwashers often include all these features and they’re perfect for the smaller kitchen. 

Use the right dishwasher detergent

The right dishwasher detergent is important for the following reasons:

  • Proper cleaning action that breaks down tough grease and stubborn residue, and removes stains.
  • Eliminates odor such as a milky smell from the bottles.
  • Prevents damaging the bottles or parts that would happen with harsh and abrasive chemicals. 
  • Free of harmful chemicals. 
  • Prevents altering the taste of infant formula or breast milk. 

Dry your bottles 

Selecting the heated drying cycle after a wash ensures your baby bottles are dried before removing them for the next feed or storage. This saves you the hassle of putting them on the drying rack and leaving them to air dry which can be time-consuming. 

With improved drying performance, you can be sure the bottles and parts are hygienic for safe feeding. 

Can you wash baby bottles in the dishwasher with other dishes?

You can wash baby bottles in  the dishwasher with other dishes but here are some tips to keep the feeding equipment in good nick:

  • Rinse dirty dishes: Rinsing dirty dishes under running water before putting them in the dishwashers reduces the risk of baby bottles being stained. This is one of the reasons why baby bottles and nipples turn yellow or orange
  • Use the top rack: Placing bottles on the top rack reduces their exposure to dirty dishes on the other racks below and prevents them from discoloration. The bottles and parts are less likely to be exposed to leftover oils on dirty dishes when on the top rack. Using the top rack reduces contamination as well.
  • Select the hot wash cycle: Higher washing temperatures prevent germs from dirty dishes and other items clinging to baby bottles and parts. Most baby bottles can be safely washed at a temperature of 149℉ to 150℉.
  • Activate the heated drying cycle: Using the drying cycle ensures the bottles and parts are free of any contamination that could have been caused by dirty dishes. 

Can you wash baby bottle nipples in the dishwasher?

You can wash baby bottle nipples in the dishwasher as long as they’re dishwasher-safe. They should be stored in a dishwasher basket or mesh laundry bag before placing them on the top or third rack for a wash cycle. 

Silicone nipples can be cleaned in the dishwasher but latex or rubber teats should be washed by hand to avoid them from deteriorating too quickly. 

The best way to wash baby bottle nipples

Baby bottle nipples need to be properly cleaned to prevent them from getting clogged, smelly, discolored, or full of germs. Using the dishwasher is one of the best ways to wash nipples – the following steps ensure they’re hygienic for the next feed:

  • Step 1: Remove the bottle lid and release the dirty nipple from the ring.
  • Step 2: If there’s an anti-colic valve in the nipple, remove it for cleaning.
  • Step 3: Rinse the nipple under cold or warm running tap water to prevent breast milk or formula from clogging the hole. Make sure water flows freely through the hole. 
  • Step 4: Place the nipples in a basket before placing it on the top rack of the dishwasher. 
  • Step 5: Select the hot wash and heated drying cycles for a hygienic clean.
  • Step 6: If the nipples are slightly moist at the end of the drying cycle, use tongs to place them on paper towels to air-dry. 

While most baby bottle nipples are dishwasher-safe, they do last longer if they’re handwashed. It’s pretty simple although time-consuming – all you need is hot soapy water and a bottle brush. Rinse the nipples under running water before scrubbing with a brush, hot water, and gentle dish soap. 

Do you need to sterilize baby bottles after washing them?

Some childcare experts recommend sterilizing baby bottles until your babies are 12 months old to safeguard them from infections. Other experts say you only need to sterilize bottles for the first three months of your baby’s life. Washing your baby bottles in hot soapy water or in the dishwasher and using them immediately should be sufficient. 

However, if your baby is immunocompromised or you’re battling with germ-phobia, sterilizing bottles after washing them is a good idea. This way, you can have peace of mind that your little one is safe when bottle feeding. 

Watch this video to find out how to wash and sterilize bottles by hand or in the dishwasher.

The best dishwasher detergent for baby bottles

When looking for the best dishwasher detergent for baby bottles, avoid products that include anti-bacterial solutions or dyes as they can cause baby allergies. When looking for the right dishwasher detergent for baby bottles and parts, check out the following:

  • Fragrance-free: To prevent tainting formula or breast milk flavor or leaving a funny smell in the bottle.
  • Hypoallergenic: Prevents allergic reactions in sensitive babies.
  • Enzyme-rich formula: To break down and remove stubborn fats and stains as well as eliminate odors. 
  • No harmful chemicals: Free from toxic agents such as petroleum solvents, bleach, or chlorine.
  • Plant-based ingredients: Better for sensitive babies. 
  • No abrasive cleaning agents: Harsh and abrasive cleaning agents damage plastic or silicone bottles and nipples. 

The best dishwasher detergent rinses easily, leaving no residue in the baby bottles, and works just as well at cleaning dirty dishes. 

Wrap-up

Washing baby bottles in the dishwasher is simple and effective as long as you follow some straightforward steps. Otherwise, you could end up asking why baby bottles go cloudy after being washed and dried in the dishwasher! Avoid harsh detergents, intense heating settings, and overly hot drying cycles if you want to preserve your bottles’ lifespan.

Photo of author

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.

Leave a Comment

Balint and Amelia in the water

Learn to clean baby bottles the RIGHT way! 🍼

Get essential, time-efficient cleaning tips in my FREE 4-day email course for your baby’s health and more quality moments together.

I won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.