Ah, bottle washing. Was there ever a more dreaded yet necessary midnight task? At the end of a long day spent feeding, burping, changing, and putting a newborn down for intermittent naps, the last thing anyone wants to do is get elbow deep in sudsy bottle parts. However, no matter how bleary-eyed, my personal motto is always “Do what your future self will thank you for.”
Whether your bottles deliver pumped milk, formula, or water (both of my babies drank purified water from birth), bottle washing is an inevitable part of parenthood. And while it’s not at the top of everyone’s favorite to-do’s, it doesn’t deserve such a bad rap. We’re here to make it easier with bottle cleaning tips and products designed with functionality and effortlessness in mind. You’re welcome, future self.
First up: sterilization! Fresh out of the package does not mean ready to use, so always sterilize new bottles, nipples, and pump parts prior to first use. A five-minute bath in boiling water or some quality time in one of Munchkin’s bottle sterilizers will do the trick. When I was in the bottle washing phase of my life, I would sterilize bottles, parts, and pacifiers once every few days, for good measure. The rest of the time I would soak and wash. Some babies with compromised immune systems require daily sanitization of feeding items, so always follow your pediatrician’s lead.
There are several bottle sterilizers in Munchkin’s arsenal, so it’s easy to find the one perfect for you. All three clean bottles, pump parts, nipples, small toys and pacifiers naturally and effectively with the power of steam. The Clean™ Electric Sterilizer kills 99.9% of bacteria in just 6 minutes via ceramic heating plate. It sterilizes 9 standard bottles or 6 wide mouth bottles at once. The two-tiered Steam Guard™ Electric Sterilizer also works in 6 minutes, sterilizing up to 9 pieces at once, and shuts itself off automatically when done. Short on counter space? We have you covered with the compact Steam™ Microwave Sterilizer, which sanitizes up to 4 bottles and 2 breast pump shields, and portable LATCH™ Sterilize™ bags, which are reusable and work right in the microwave. No need to sacrifice precious counter space to get those precious parts sanitized.
Clean, Baby, Clean
Once you’ve sterilized to your heart’s content, you’ll need to get down and dirty with soap and water. You’ll need just a few basics to start: a large bowl, gentle soap, the right brush, and a drying rack. (More on those in a bit.)
First, take apart the bottle or pump, piece by piece. Rinse each part in hot water, making sure to remove any visible traces of milk or other liquid. (Confession: my hands developed a strange tolerance to scalding water and became parched in the process; do yourself a favor and get a good pair of gloves). Fill a large bowl with warm water and the dishwashing liquid of your choice. Drop each part into the soapy water and let it soak while you tend to other things.
When ready, take the parts out one by one and start scrubbing each crevice with a bottle brush. Circle the brush inside the bottle several times. Be sure to use the included nipple brushes to get into the hardest to reach places. And finally, don’t forget to clean your cleaning tools! Always rinse brushes thoroughly and run them through the sterilizer or dishwasher at least once every few days.
Given the plethora of information out there, it’s no surprise that the natural cleaning industry has exploded in the last decade or so. Parents, in particular, are known to research products, almost to a fault. Finding a safe-for-baby and safe-for-earth dishwashing liquid seems like a daunting task, but there are plenty on the market that fit the bill and do the job well. With skin sensitivities and allergies in my household, I’m always looking for natural and effective products. If, like me, you want to avoid unnecessary scents and chemicals, head over to EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning and do some research of your own. This site lists safety ratings and toxicity levels for all kinds of products, from cleaning agents to cosmetics and sunscreen. A few family favorites for dish soap brands include Planet, Ecover Zero, Attitudes, and Sun and Earth. Look for the A rating and try multiple dishwashing liquids before narrowing down your family’s perfect fit. Many baby-centric brands have surprising toxicity scores, so do your research before committing to any product. Education is empowerment!
Munchkin’s brushes have earned a permanent spot on many a kitchen counter, and for good reason. Each one is designed to tackle the irritation of bottle cleaning in one fell swoop. Latch™ Pump Brushes are three brushes in one, designed to wash those awkwardly-shaped breast pump parts and valves. The conical main brush cleans pump shields, while the smaller mascara-style wands get every inch of those pump parts clean. Whether you need heavy-duty bristles, a sleek stainless steel bottle brush, a soft sponge-tipped brush, or a soap dispenser and bottle brush in one, our collection has all your cleaning needs covered. Added bonus: most of our bottle brushes stand upright, keeping the heads off counters and away from germs, and have a nipple brush component hidden right inside the handle.
When the finish line is near, there’s nothing like a stylish drying rack to help you throw in the towel! From a simple stainless steel version to two-tier, large capacity drying racks, there’s a match made in drying rack heaven for you. And when you want to take the day off from bottle washing duty completely, Munchkin is there for you, too. Our Dishwasher Basket is the perfect catch-all when you simply can’t bear the thought of washing one more bottle or pump part. You’re welcome, current (and future!) self.