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How to Get Rid of Breast Milk Residue on Bottles

By C. Giles ; Updated September 26, 2017
Baby bottles should be sterilized to eliminate all bacteria.

Until the age of 12 months, an infant's immune system isn't strong enough to ward off bacteria, according to bottle manufacturer Philips Avent. Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding your baby, you must make sure all bottles and other feeding equipment are scrupulously clean. Bacteria can grow on even the tiniest lumps of breast milk residue. Fortunately, it can easily be removed. Regular, thorough cleaning of your baby bottles should prevent any residue from forming in the first place.

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Wash your bottles as soon as possible after you've finished feeding your baby to prevent stains from forming. Use a mild detergent and wash them by hand with hot water or in the dishwasher. Use a clean bottle brush if you're washing by hand. Pay close attention to the nipples, where milk residue can form. Rinse the bottles thoroughly. Check that your bottles are suitable for the dishwasher before loading them in. Separate the nipples from the bottles before putting them into the dishwasher.

Create an equal mixture of water and white vinegar. Soak bottles in the mixture for several minutes to remove stubborn milk residue. Rinse the bottles thoroughly with cold water.

Rub latex bottle nipples with salt to remove stubborn milk residue, recommends Milton, a manufacturer of sterilizing equipment and solutions.

Use a breast milk removal soap from a reputable brand, such as the hypoallergenic Medela Quick Clean breast milk removal soap, which removes residue up to 3 days old. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for use.

Sterilize the bottles to make sure all bacteria is removed. Several methods are available, including electric steam sterilizing, microwave sterilizing, boiling and cold water sterilizing.

Things You Will Need

  • Mild detergent
  • Baby bottle brush
  • White vinegar
  • Salt
  • Breast milk removal soap
  • Sterilizing equipment


Wash your hands thoroughly before handling baby bottles.

If you take care of your bottles and keep them in good condition, a little staining from breast milk residue is unlikely to affect their performance, according to baby feeding equipment manufacturer Dr. Brown's.

Fill your bottles with warm water, add a teaspoon of baking powder, shake well and leave them overnight. The solution gets rid of any stale milk odors.

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About the Author

C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."

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