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How to Clean Breast Pump Tubing

By Kathryn Hatter ; Updated April 18, 2017

Using a breast pump to express breast milk can enable a mother to increase her milk supply, express milk for a planned absence from baby (such as working) or pump milk to feed an ill baby. An electric or battery-powered pump with suction tubing is an effective pump that many mothers use successfully to express breast milk. As you use a breast pump with plastic tubing, the tubes may develop moisture inside. Clean breast pump tubing to keep it free of bacteria and mildew.

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Remove the tubes from the breast pump motor by pulling them out gently where they connect.

Fill a sink with warm water and add enough dish-washing soap to make the water sudsy.

Place the tubes into the soapy water and wash the tubes well. Fill the oral medicine syringe with soapy water and inject this soapy water into one end of both tubes. Push the soapy water all the way through the tubes by pinching them with your fingers. Rinse the soapy water from the tubing by injecting plain water into the tubes in the same way.

Fill the saucepan with water and boil the water over medium-high heat. Boil the tubes for 10 to 20 minutes to sterilize them. Remove the tubes from the water after the time elapses, shaking out the tubes to remove as much water as possible.

Fill the oral medicine syringe with a small amount of isopropyl alcohol. Inject about 1/2 tsp. of alcohol into each tube to dry out the insides of the tubes and prevent mildew.

Things You Will Need

  • Dishwashing soap
  • Oral medicine syringe
  • 1-quart saucepan
  • Isopropyl alcohol


Clean the tubing only if breast milk enters the tubing. Inject the isopropyl alcohol to dry the insides of the tubing any time you notice moisture developing to prevent mildew. Help prevent moisture inside the tubing by running the breast pump for two to three minutes after disconnecting the milk bottles.

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About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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