How to remove smells from baby bottles and sippy cups

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
May 7, 2024
Washing baby bottles

Have you ever scrubbed and cleaned your baby bottle only to discover that no matter how hard you try you simply can not remove the foul odor inside? This is a common problem among plastic sippy cups and baby bottles.

While the bad smell won't have a negative impact on your babies health, it can transfer a foul tasting flavor onto whatever liquid you put into the bottle. Fortunately, you don't have to throw out your expensive baby bottle and buy a new one, simply use the following preventative and removal techniques below to banish funky smells for good.

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How to prevent odors from taking hold

Person feeding baby from feeding bottle

If you use plastic baby bottles or sippy cups then no matter how careful you are, eventually your bottle will start to stink. That being said, there are some precautions you can take to minimize the need to deodorize your baby bottle on a regular basis.

Rinse after feeding: Once your baby has finished his drink of milk or apple juice, quickly rinse the bottle out with cold water. The shorter time that the drink spends in the baby bottle, the less chance it will have to transfer its odor onto the plastic.

Refrigerate: While the preferred method is to rinse the bottle after feeding, you can also place the bottle in the refrigerator. refrigeration is important for drinks such as milk or baby formula as it prevents bacteria from forming. The bacteria that form at room temperature will help contribute to your bottles odor.

Make the switch to glass: One of the huge benefits of glass baby bottles and sippy cups is that they do not absorb odors from liquids that are placed inside. If you are sick and tired of deodorizing your baby bottle then perhaps it is time to make the switch.

Removing milk or formula smells from baby bottles

Baking powder is your best friend when it comes to deodorizing baby bottles from smells that linger.

Simply add a heaped teaspoon of baking soda to your baby bottle and half fill with hot water. Place the lid on the bottle and shake vigorously for two minutes (this is a surprisingly good work out, feel the burn!). Pour the baking soda solution out and rinse the bottle. You should no longer notice any trace of bad smell. A quick sniff will confirm this.

Depending on the type of plastic or age of the baby bottle then you may need to use a heavy duty variation of the above technique, soaking the baby bottle overnight.

Find a tub or bowl that is large enough to accommodate your baby bottle, nipples, and lids. Count out cups of hot water and add them to the bowl until your feeding equipment is covered. For every cup of water add a teaspoon of baking soda. Stir thoroughly. You may need to place a plate or heave object on top to ensure that the bottle pieces stay under the water.

Leave the baby bottle to soak in the baking soda solution overnight. In the morning wash the baby bottle with dish soap and hot water. Leave the bottle to air dry. The smell will have vanished.

Removing juice smells from baby bottles

Sweet juices, particularly apple, can leave an unusual smell in bottles and sippy cups. The best solution for juice odor removal is vinegar.

Simply fill your baby bottle to the brim with vinegar and leave to soak overnight. Place any lids in a bowl full of vinegar and use a heavy object to keep them submerged.

In the morning, wash the bottle with dish soap and hot water before air drying. Like magic, no more juice smell.

Removing soap smells from baby bottles

Have you swapped detergents recently only to discover whatever you wash now smells soapy? If your baby bottle has a soap scent then chances are whatever you place inside are going to taste "lemony fresh".

Soap odors are generally caused by failing to rinse thoroughly. When rinsing, make sure that clean water covers all areas of your baby bottle and sippy cup. Swirl the water around until no trace of soap remains.

If you are using a sink full of water to rinse, be sure to empty and refill often when washing up. If your rinsing water gets too soapy then it is not performing its function properly, that is, removing soap from your dishes.

If you thoroughly rinse and the smell still remains then sterilize your baby bottles in warm water. The soap smell should disappear for good.

Once you have rid your baby bottle or sippy cup from the soap smell, consider switching to a mild dish soap when cleaning plastic baby feeding products.

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