Wash A Milk Bottle In Dishwasher: The Ultimate Guide!

Written by Daisy
Last updated:
Reviewed by Margaret

The article has been reviewed by medical expert Margaret Dogwood, BSN, RN

Wash a milk bottle in dishwasher? Would it be safe for your little ones if you do? You could think that washing your baby’s milk bottle is easy, but there’s actually a lot more that goes into it than that.

Babies are sensitive and fragile, you wouldn’t want them catching a disease, right? Proper milk bottle-washing is one of the ways to avoid it!

In this article, we will give you a complete guide on how to properly wash a milk bottle, according to professionals and experts! This guide will also be checked and approved by the necessary departments to see if all the information is accurate!

Baby Bottle Cleaning Requirements: What You Need!

Before we dive into cleaning process, it’s imperative that you know the different things and items that are needed to clean and properly sterilize baby milk bottles first! Ready and prepare your checklist and make sure to list all these out!

  • Hot Water: When washing baby bottles, it’s preferable to use hot water (about 49 degrees Celsius) to ensure that bacteria and germs won’t be on the bottle.
  • Mild Dish Soap: Personally, I would opt for a baby formula dish soap. They’re available everywhere!
  • Bottle Brush: You’ll need a brush that’s specifically designed for cleaning milk bottles. Most of them come with a nipple cleaner brush, too!
  • Bottle Sterilizer: After washing, you’ll need to sterilize it to seal the deal!
  • Drying Rack: It’s preferably better to have a separate drying rack from the dishes and utensils you have at home. This is so that the bacteria won’t travel and mix into the milk bottles!
  • Distilled Water (Optional): Personally, I use distilled water to clean and wash milk bottles. This is because distilled water is rid of all impurities, minerals, and bacteria!

NOTE: You’d want to make sure that the area where you’ll be washing your baby’s milk bottles is clean and fresh!

Can You Wash a Milk Bottle In a Dishwasher?

The question still remains – would it be safe for your baby if you use your dishwasher to clean their milk bottles? Well, the answer is yes – if it’s done correctly! Now, there are two major ways to get a squeaky clean of a milk bottle: by hand washing and by using a dishwasher.

What are their differences and how are they similar? What are the risks involved in doing so? I know what and how you’re feeling – as a parent, we just want the best for our kids, but in the best and most efficient way we can do so!

Now, let us go through the differences in washing milk bottles by hand and in washing them using a dishwasher!

Washing Milk Bottles By Hand vs. Dishwasher: Pros and Cons

We’ll dive deep right into each of them for you to have a grasp on how to properly clean and sterilize your little munchkin’s milk bottle!

Hand Washing Milk Bottles

Over the years – centuries, perhaps, many parents have relied on hand washing milk bottles. They consider it the safest and the cleanest way to get rid of all unwanted material on a baby bottle. If you have blurs and doubts on how it’s done, this is how it usually works:

  1. Disassemble the bottle completely. You’ll have to wash all components separately. It’ll be great to use some type of basin to keep all bottle parts and components together.  
  2. Pre-rinse everything – from the cap down to the bottle’s base! Make sure that they’re wet so that the soap sticks to it.
  3. Then, gently pour in mild or baby-formulated dish soap on the bottle and components.
  4. After that, scrub it thoroughly using the bottle scrubber (use a nipple brush for the nipple).
  5. Rinse well and thoroughly. Everything must be rinsed completely.
  6. Smell the bottle to see if there are remnants of milk or soap.
  7. Air dry the bottles and then sterilize appropriately.

Pros of Handwashing Milk Bottles

  • Gentle care on the bottle
  • You’ll see everything closer and more keenly
  • Scrubbing is done according to how you want it
  • You’ll be able to inspect right then and there

Cons of Handwashing Milk Bottles

  • A little time-consuming
  • You’ll use energy
  • Difficult water temperature control
  • Missed spots can happen (if not checked properly)

Dishwashing Milk Bottles

In the modern world, more and more parents are actually making use of their dishwasher to help them in this task. While it is safe to do so, it would require more of your attention.

  1. Disassemble the bottle completely. You’ll have to wash all components separately. It’ll be great to use some type of basin to keep all bottle parts and components together.
  2. Make sure that the dishwasher does not contain other utensils.
  3. Prepare hot water for the dishwasher.
  4. Proceed to pre-rinse the bottles. Pre-rinse everything – from the cap down to the bottle’s base! Make sure that they’re wet so that the soap sticks to it.
  5. Load the bottles properly and with all the components of it.
  6. Use mild dish soap or a baby-formulated one.
  7. Use a mild cycle for it and run the dishwasher.
  8. Air dry and sterilize.

Pros of Using Dishwasher in Washing Milk Bottles

  • It can save you a lot of time
  • You don’t need to do manual scrubbing
  • The cleaning is effective; it’s as if you would manually wash it
  • It carries sanitation during the cycle
  • You’ll get consistent results
  • Energy and water efficiency

Cons of Using Dishwasher in Washing Milk Bottles

  • Components may be lost or damaged because of the activity
  • Residue buildup is also possible
  • Space limits and restrictions
  • Distortion is possible

Factors to Consider Before Washing Milk Bottles in a Dishwasher

Hold up! Don’t just go washing baby milk bottles in a dishwasher! There are several factors involved that we, as parents, need to consider! And hey, these factors would all be relevant not just in terms of cleaning the bottles, but with the overall health and wellness of your baby, too!

Bottle Material: Is It Compatible?

Milk bottles are usually made of different materials, particularly glass or plastic. Each material has its own characteristics and considerations when cleaning in the dishwasher.

Glass Material

Glass bottles are known for their overall quality. They are heat-resistant, durable, and they’re

known to retain less odor compared to plastic material.

Most glass bottles are indeed dishwasher-safe and can withstand high temperatures and movement without compromising their overall integrity. However, it’s essential to check the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure compatibility and mitigate potential risks.

Plastic Material

Plastic bottles, on the other hand, are cheaper. Glass bottles are typically more expensive than plastic bottles, and the former are often lighter in weight and more resistant to breaking.

Even though a lot of plastic bottles have the dishwasher safe logo, it’s vital to remember that not all polymers are the same. Under the high dishwasher temperatures, some plastics might be more prone to warping or melting.

NOTE: Keep in mind the instructions from the manufacturer. They are the ones that know whether or not the bottles you have are dishwasher-safe or not. Read the manual, watch reviews and feedback online, ask other people! Be sure of everything first!

Nipple Attachment and Cleaning

Nipples are an integral part of milk bottles. I mean, they wouldn’t be bottles without it! And because bottle nipples are exposed to both the saliva of an infant and the diverse materials from the milk, they can trap residue and present a special cleaning difficulty.

Latex Nipples

To be frank and totally honest, I never knew that they were Latex nipples. I just did it when I was researching it! It’s a totally different material from silicone, and it’s actually the less-popular option for it, too.

These material nipples are softer and a lot more flexible than silicone ones. In addition to that, Latex Nipples are also more prone to deterioration and may not hold up as well to dishwasher cleaning. Hence, proving the recommendation of using mild dish soap or a formulated dish soap for baby bottles.

In addition to that, hand-washing latex nipples is typically advised to increase their lifespan and keep you from buying nipples every month.

Silicone Nipples

Also referred to as rubber nipples, silicone nipples are the more popular option. Other than the fact that it’s been used for more than a century, silicone nipples are also engineered to be a lot more durable than how it used to be.

Thanks to this, as well as their simplicity when it comes to cleaning, they’ve been a more popular option. They may usually be safely cleaned in the dishwasher, but it’s best to put them on the top rack to avoid direct contact with hot water or excessive heat.

Dishwasher Settings and Detergent Selection

And last but most definitely not least of the considerations to think about would be with the dishwasher. Being complex machines, humans still have a hand in deciding how they want to clean their dishes.

To ensure effective and safe cleaning of feeding bottles, it’s rather imperative to think twice about what dishwasher settings and detergent selection are going to be used.

Dishwasher Settings

Choosing the correct dishwasher setting is essential for cleaning bottles. If available, choose a gentle cycle or a cycle specifically designed for baby bottles, as this will provide a thorough cleaning while minimizing the risk of damaging bottle components.

Please refrain from setting it to the highest and fastest setting as most of the components of a baby bottle are fragile. They can get lost or they can be wrecked in the process!

Pay close attention to the temperature setting that’s set in the dishwasher. Doing so will help you avoid excessive temperature, which will absolutely alter the material of the bottle body or cause unwanted deformation.

You don’t want to buy another bottle just because it has been ruined in the dishwasher, do you?

Choice of Cleaning Agent

This is probably the most impactful of all. Choosing the right dishwashing detergent is very important to ensure the best possible clean and bottle safety.

As I keep on repeating above, use mild, baby-safe detergents that are free from harsh chemicals, fragrances, and dyes. And if you can, use a specially-formulated mild soap to clean their bottles! Our usual dish cleaning soaps could be too harsh. Meaning, there could be remnants of it left even after you’ve thoroughly rinsed it!

These are the top factors you’d want to consider before washing your milk or feeding bottles in a dishwasher. What did I tell you? It’s a lot more complicated than that!

How to Sterilize a Feeding Bottle?

Now that we’ve finalized the cleaning, the next step would be to sterilize your bottles! Cleaning baby bottles wouldn’t be complete without sterilization! This is something you don’t want to miss because it can make or break the 100% safety of your baby feeding off those bottles!

Here’s a quick and simple step-by-step guide in sterilizing your feeding bottles!

  1. Gather the newly-washed and dried bottles.
  2. Prepare our sterilizing equipment.
  3. Fill it with distilled water, then, proceed to pre-heat and boil the water.
  4. Submerge the bottles and other components.
  5. Cover the equipment used and let the bottles stay there for at least 8 minutes.
  6. Remove the bottles and then cool.

NOTE: When storing them, make sure that you store them in a clean, covered, and moist-free area!


If you’re still left with questions and you don’t know where to get the answers from, I got you! Here are some of the most-asked questions related to it!

Can You Wash Baby Bottles With Dishwasher Detergent?

Yes, you may use dishwashing detergent to clean baby bottles. However, it’s crucial to choose a gentle dishwasher detergent that is suitable for babies and free of harmful chemicals, scents, and dyes. As much as possible, refrain from using regular dishwashing detergent as it can be too harsh for the bottle!

Are Avent Baby Bottles Dishwasher Safe?

Yes, most, if not all Avent bottles are safe in the dishwasher. Be careful, though, as not all dishwashers are the same! It’ll still be best to check and see whether the dishwasher has a gentle or delicate setting! You don’t want to set it in the strongest and most vigorous setting!

The Bottom Line

So, can you wash a milk bottle in a dishwasher? The simple and straightforward answer is yes, you can – you definitely can! Parents, especially those who are new are often afraid to take risks – well, this piece is  proof that you don’t have to and that you’ll have no problems putting it inside the washer if you need to! 

Photo of author
Daisy Martinez, a Certified Financial Planner and mother of two, blends finance expertise from Ohio State and Anderson School of Management with hands-on parenting insights. Founder of "mamallove.com" and "cashsavvytips.com", she's passionate about guiding parents in financial and parenting realms.

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