How Often Should You Change Baby Bottle Brush? (5-Min Read)

father holding a baby

Sticking the baby bottle brush into the dishwasher should clean it well enough, shouldn’t it? But how often should you change your baby bottle brush for hygienic reasons? Even if you’re not strictly a germaphobe, you might want to toss it away and change it to another one. 

Baby bottle brush manufacturers recommend changing brushes every 30 to 45 days especially if they’re the sponge type. Silicone brushes last the longest but together with bristle brushes, should be replaced as soon as they show signs of wear and tear such as flaying and shabbiness. 

How often should you replace a baby bottle brush?

Certain factors will determine if you can use a baby bottle brush for longer than the recommended period of four to six weeks. How often a baby bottle brush lasts is influenced by the following:

  • The style of the brush: Sponge baby bottle brushes often need replacing within 30 to 40 days while bristle and silicone brushes can last longer. 
  • Quality: A good-quality brush is likely to last longer than an item made with inferior materials. 
  • How often it’s used: If you’re washing baby bottles more often or have double the amount to clean because of twins in the family, the brush will start to wear down faster. 
  • How it’s used: If you’re using the baby bottle brush to wash the family dishes, pots, and pans as well, it’ll need to be replaced more often. Overzealous use of the brush will also cause it to deteriorate faster.
  • Cleaning methods: Placing the baby bottle brush in the dishwasher when it’s not safe to do so will shorten its lifespan. The same will happen if you’re using harsh cleaning agents.  

The lifespan of the baby bottle brush is determined by the factors mentioned above and if well-cared for, the item can last you longer. However, replacing the brush every four to six weeks is advisable if you want to avoid spreading germs to your baby’s feeding bottle.

Ways to clean a baby bottle brush

Following the manufacturer’s cleaning guidelines will keep your baby bottle brush hygienic and in good nick. Regular cleaning is essential if you want to keep the brush and baby bottle free of germs! 

Here are some of the most common methods used for cleaning this useful baby bottle accessory. 

Sterilize the brush with boiling water

If you’re sterilizing baby bottles in boiling water, you can add the brush at the same time. Place all the items in a pot of water and bring them to a boil. Make sure the baby bottle brush is fully submerged. Leave to boil for five minutes

When done, remove the baby bottle brush from the pot and leave it to air-dry on a paper towel or rack. You can shake the brush to remove excess water before leaving it to dry.

Putting a brush Into the dishwasher

Check if the baby bottle brush is dishwasher-safe before using this cleaning method. Place it in a dishwasher basket made for baby bottles to keep them contained during a wash cycle. If you don’t have a basket, manufacturers such as Dr. Browns recommend placing their baby bottle brushes on the top rack.  

Using one of the best dishwashers for baby bottles with a baby care wash cycle gives you peace of mind the brush will be cleaned, hygienically and safely. 

Handwashing with hot water and soap

Cleaning the baby bottle brush with hot water and soap is your next best solution if you don’t have a dishwasher or the item shouldn’t be placed in this appliance. Follow the same steps as you would take for cleaning baby bottles by hand.:

  • Rinse the brush under cold or warm running water.
  • Place into the sink or clean basin with hot or warm water and soap. You can use Dawn Dish soap to wash baby bottles and brushes. 
  • Clean the brush by gently rubbing it with your hands and swirling it in soapy water.
  • Rinse under clean water to remove soapy residue before placing it on a paper towel or rack to air-dry. 

When cleaning and sanitizing baby items such as brushes, never rub them dry with a dish cloth as this will transfer germs to the cleaning brush. 

How to clean a baby bottle with a narrow mouth

Cleaning a baby bottle with a narrow mouth can put some strain on a cleaning brush, reducing its longevity! If you’re washing narrow-neck baby bottles by hand, look for a cleaning brush that’s designed to fit smaller openings

The other option is to place the baby bottle in the dishwasher or sanitize it using boiling water, a bottle sterilizer, or a microwave.

Other considerations so that your baby bottle brush will last long

Choosing the right baby bottle brand

Choosing the right brand helps when you’re looking for top-quality design. Some brands have been making baby products for years and have the know-how when it comes to producing quality items. 

Philips Avent is one such brand that’s been in the industry for over 30 years and manufactures baby bottle brushes that are durable and dishwasher-safe. Dr. Brown’s baby products have been around since 1996 and you can rest assured their bottle brushes are both functional and top-quality. 

Solid base to keep the brush upright

Features such as dishwasher-safe and durable bristles go a long way to extending the lifespan of a bottle brush. But, brushes that come with a base or stand that allows you to keep the item upright are extremely useful for hygienic and storing purposes.

The Munchkin Sponge Bottle Brush comes with a solid base, so you don’t have to lay the item flat on countertops that could be full of germs. The Oxo bottle brush comes with a separate stand which allows you to place the item in it, keeping it upright when not in use. 

Pick silicone-type bottle brushes

If you’re looking for a long-lasting bottle brush, pick ones made with silicone. This type of material can repel odors and stain buildup, making the brush healthier to use over a longer period. Silicone brushes are also dishwasher-safe and take longer to break down through wear and tear. 

The MAM soft brush for cleaning baby bottles has silicone, BPA-free bristles. It’s gentle enough to not scratch bottles but flexible for reaching all areas for a thorough clean. 

Watch this video demonstrating how to clean a MAM bottle with different cleaning brushes.

When to replace a bottle brush for your baby – signs to look out for 

Looking out for the following signs will give you the heads up as to when it’s time to replace a bottle brush:

  • Flaying bristles
  • Bristles coming loose from the brush
  • Noticeable disintegration of sponge material
  • Flaking or cracked parts on silicone brushes
  • Shabbiness or dirty appearance (often caused by food stains or harsh cleaning agents)
  • Broken handles

When you notice your baby bottles aren’t getting as clean as they should be with milk residue being left behind, it’s time to get a new brush!

How many baby bottle brushes do you need?

You only need one or two bottle brushes at a time. An extra one is handy if you’re bottle-feeding twins or triplets and cleaning bottles often. If you’re bottle feeding for up to 12 months expect to need 10 to 12 bottle brushes over that period if you’re changing every month to six weeks

How to clean a baby bottle without a brush

If you don’t have a brush to clean baby bottles, you can use the following ways to clean and sanitize them:

  • Dishwasher: Disassemble and rinse bottle parts under running water before placing them on the top rack. Select a hot wash and heated drying cycle.
  • Bottle sterilizer: Electric or microwave sterilizers will hygienically clean baby bottles in a flash.
  • Boiling water: Submerge all bottle parts fully under the water and bring them to a boil for five minutes. Remove and air dry on a paper towel or rack.
  • Bleach solution: Rinse disassembled bottle parts under running water before placing them in a bleach solution. Leave to soak for five to 15 minutes before rinsing and leaving to air-dry. 

Always check the manufacturer’s manual before using any of these above-mentioned methods to ensure your baby bottles and parts aren’t damaged. 

Final word

Are your favorite Comotomo, Avent, or other baby bottles dishwasher-safe? If not, then you definitely need one or two baby bottle brushes in the kitchen!

A baby bottle brush is a useful accessory when you’re bottle-feeding your little one but make sure you change it every month or so for hygienic reasons!

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