Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, My Boyfriend Barfed In My Handbag ... And Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha. Her flagship column, “Ask a Clean Person”, debuted in 2011. Here on Lifehacker, we’ve launched a new iteration of it, focusing on parenting and all the messes it brings.
There are a lot of variables to consider when picking the right bottle for your baby but, especially for new parents, ease of cleaning is a factor that can be easily overlooked… until you have a set of bottles that is a huge pain to wash. We’ve rounded up some of the best options for easy-to-clean baby bottles, including ones in different materials and styles for colicky babies.
Before we get to the picks, however, here are some general things to keep in mind when it comes to selecting and caring for the right bottles for your family:
Plastic versus glass bottles: Glass bottles are sturdy, which makes them long-lasting, and the bottles won’t become discoloured over time or retain a sour milk smell the way that plastic bottles can. However, they’re heavy, and can shatter if dropped. Glass bottles also tend to be more costly than plastic or silicone bottles.
Plastic bottles, which are typically made of polypropylene, are lightweight and pose almost no risk of breaking. They will, though, wear out faster than glass bottles.
- How to clean a baby bottle: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends washing baby bottles after every feeding, using soap and hot water. According to WebMD, boiling isn’t necessary to the safe cleaning of bottles, but the AAP notes that bottles should be allowed to dry completely to prevent the growth of bacteria that can thrive if leftover milk or water is allowed to linger in the bottle.
- When to replace a bottle or nipples: If a plastic baby bottle is cracked, is leaking, has become discoloured or is retaining a sour odour, it should be replaced. Glass bottles must be replaced if they've gotten cracked or chipped. Nipples should be replaced when they become discoloured or if they show visible signs of wear or damage. Nipples should also be replaced if milk comes out too fast.
With that, here come the picks:
The Philips Avent bottles, which feature an anti-colic system, only have a few parts, which make them easy to clean, unlike other anti-colic bottles. Plus, the starter pack comes with a bottle brush designed for use on the nipples.
If you use a Medela pump, definitely consider buying the compatible storage containers. They’re designed to let you pump directly into the bottles, which means you can store the milk in them and screw on the nipple when you’re ready to use them as a bottle. And there are no internal parts that need to be cleaned.
The Comotomo bottles only have three pieces — the bottle itself, plus a collar and nipple — plus, the wide-neck design makes cleaning super easy, no bottle brush needed! And, because it’s made of silicone, it can go in the dishwasher or be boiled.
These curved, wide-width bottles have minimal parts, making them easy to wash than narrower styles. Formula feeders also note that the wide mouth makes the bottles easier to fill without making a big mess.
If you’re looking for a glass baby bottle, these Evenflo bottles are an excellent choice. Like all of our other picks, the ease of cleaning comes down to its three-piece design. Like many bottles, they’re dishwasher safe, but unlike plastic bottles there’s no potential risk that putting certain plastics in the dishwasher (or microwave) may be harmful to children.