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The Best (and Worst) Dishwasher Detergents For Baby Bottles

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We’re sharing the best dishwasher detergent for baby bottles, plus tips for getting your baby bottles perfectly clean every time!

If you’re a first time mom you may be surprised by the seemingly endless number of baby products on that market that claim to be must-haves.

From clothing items to toys, to travel gear and feeding tools, it’s easy to become overwhelmed.

But, the most important thing for any mom is their child’s health and safety.

Anything that comes in contact with your little one’s body has the potential to either help them or harm them.

And that goes right down to the dishwashing detergent you use for your baby’s bottles.

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises washing baby bottles after each feeding, which means you’ll be doing a lot of bottle washing.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of baby-safe dish cleaners to help you find the best dishwasher detergent or soap for your needs, plus smart tips to help you get perfectly clean baby bottles every time.

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Should you get a special dishwasher detergent for baby bottles?

A woman feeds a newborn baby wearing a bib with a bottle.

Well, that depends!

Before we list the best dishwasher detergent options for baby bottles, here are some of the reasons to use a special detergent and the health risks they may help you avoid.

Regular dishwasher detergent is fine to use on baby bottles as long as it doesn’t contain bleach or other harsh ingredients.

Bleach is a harsh chemical that can be harmful to babies.

Some regular detergent brands like Cascade are gentle enough to use for babies. And you can use any mild dish soap like dawn dish soap that is free of fragrances, dyes, and other harsh chemicals.

However, they may not be the most effective at getting your bottles clean.

Breast milk tends to be greasy and may leave a layer of fat in the bottle that is not easy to clean.

Baby bottle detergents and soaps are specifically designed to break down milk proteins, which can be tough to remove with regular detergent brands or regular dish soaps.

Other cleaners may leave this milk residue or milk film which makes the bottle look cloudy.

Baby bottle detergents may also contain ingredients that help prevent mineral deposits from building up on baby bottles over time.

And they’re also specifically formulated with a baby’s immune system and sensitive skin in mind.

RELATED: How To Get Baby Poop Out Of Clothes

The Best Dishwasher Detergents and Soaps for Baby Bottles

Assortment of baby bottle dishwasher detergents and soaps on a kitchen counter.

Even the best dishwashers won’t clean bottles properly without a good detergent.

So, here are the top dishwasher detergents and soaps specially made for babies!

Each of these products will safely clean your baby’s bottles and maintain the bottle’s quality and utility.

The best choice comes down to personal preference.

Study the ingredients and certifications to make the right decision for you and your family.

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1. Dapple Dishwasher Pods

Dapple baby bottle detergent has a “unique formula that keeps bottles and plastics clear”.

Their formula uses plant-based ingredients and essential oils instead of harsh chemicals.

It’s fragrance-free and free of ethoxylates, artificial fragrances, dyes, parabens, phosphates, phthalates, 1,4-dioxane, chlorine, and formaldehyde

2. Seventh Generation Fragrance-Free Detergent Packs

Seventh Generation products are USDA Certified Biobased and Leaping Bunny Certified.

Their plant-based formula works well to clean baby bottles, but you can use them for regular dishes, too.

3. Puracy Platinum Dishwasher Detergent Pods

Puracy Platinum offers plant-based dishwasher detergent pods containing advanced plant enzymes to break down foods and stains without the need for pre-soaking your baby’s bottles.

This product is free of:

  • Perfumes
  • Synthetic Fragrance
  • Phosphates
  • Sulfates (including sodium lauryl sulfate)
  • Parabens
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Petrochemicals
  • Triclosan
  • Animal by-products
  • Dyes
  • Phthalates
  • Caustics

4. Grab Green Natural Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Powder

This brand is made in the USA and it’s also cruelty-free and fragrance-free.

Their formula uses natural and organic ingredients and has “powerful grease removal” properties.

5. Better Life Natural Dishwasher Gel Detergent

As the name implies, this brand also features natural ingredients.

It’s eco-friendly and 100% non-toxic. And it’s also a great product for regular dishware.

It “powers through stubborn stains and stuck-on food” and doesn’t leave residue.

6. ATTITUDE Dishwasher Tablets

Attitude dishwasher tablets use hypoallergenic, plant and mineral-based ingredients that are safe for families and the environment.

They’re also vegan and come in biodegradable packaging.

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Dish Soaps

A woman washes several baby bottles using soapy water in a green tub.

And here’s a list of the best baby bottle soap options:

When in doubt, you can always ask your pediatrician which brand they recommend.

RELATED: How To Remove Stains From Clothes

Dishwasher Detergents to Avoid

Close up of a pile of green and white dishwasher detergent pods with liquid.

Now that we’ve listed the best dishwasher detergents for baby bottles, here are some options to avoid!

Whether you decide to use a dedicated baby bottle detergent or choose to stick with a general product, always look for one that is phosphate-free and biodegradable.

And avoid products that contain triclosan, an antibacterial agent that has been linked to health problems in animals (and may pose risks to humans as well).

Use products with ingredients like benzalkonium chloride (which are being watched by the FDA) with caution.

The FDA is constantly updating its list of banned and harmful ingredients, but it can take years to collect enough data to officially approve or ban products that are on the bubble.

Baby Bottle Cleaning Tips

A woman sterilizes baby gear in a clear glass bowl using a bottle brush.

Along with using the best dishwasher detergent, here are some other tips to make sure your baby bottles and baby gear get cleaned to perfection.

How to Sterilize Baby Bottles and Baby Gear

To sterilize, simply boil the bottles in a clean pot of water for 5 minutes, remove them from the water with a clean pair of tongs, and lay them out to dry on a clean surface.

You should always sterilize new baby bottles and baby gear before first use.

And if you have a newborn, premature baby, or an infant with a weakened immune system, you may need to sterilize feeding tools every day.

How to Hand Wash Baby Bottles and Baby Gear

If you prefer not to use a dishwasher or are short on time, here’s how to handwash baby bottles using soap:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Fill a small wash basin with hot water and enough soap to make a thick foam.
  3. Separate the bottle parts (e.g. nipples, caps, rings) and rinse them with fresh water.
  4. Submerge them in the soapy water and scrub the insides with a bottle brush until they’re thoroughly clean.
  5. Rinse with fresh water until there is no more soap residue, shake off excess water, and dry the clean bottles upside-down on a baby bottle rack in an area that’s protected from dirt and dust.

Pro Tip: A designated nylon bristle brush should be used to wash bottle nipples. And they’re especially hard to get clean, so it’s often helpful to squeeze water through them.

And here’s how to quickly handwash a single bottle:

  1. Pour a small amount of dishwasher detergent or dish soap into the bottle.
  2. Fill the bottle with hot water and screw on the cap.
  3. Shake the bottle until the detergent is dissolved.
  4. Rinse the bottle out with warm water and allow it to air dry.

NOTE: You can clean sippy cups and breast pump components using the same methods.

Dishwasher Tips

If your baby bottles are made of glass or dishwasher-safe plastic, they can be run through the dishwasher. Use the internal basket to clip the nipples upright, then place all remaining bottle parts on the top rack.

You can also clean dishwasher-safe breast components and sippy cups in the dishwasher.

You should also run your cleaning tools (like brushes) through the dishwasher every few days or after every use if your baby has any health issues.

If you accidentally use dish soap in the dishwasher instead of detergent, you’ll end up with a bubbly mess. Here’s how to fix it:

  • Stop the wash cycle as soon as you notice the problem.
  • Place towels under the dishwasher to protect your floors from water damage.
  • Crack the dishwasher door open just a little to let the dishes cool off before removing the suds.
  • If you have a wet vac, you can use that to suck up the suds and water. Otherwise, you’ll need lots of towels and your hands to scoop out the soapy suds!
  • Remove the dishes and rinse them in your sink.
  • Once you’ve removed as much soap as possible, run the empty dishwasher on a rinse cycle with a few tablespoons of olive oil on the bottom of the dishwasher. (Olive oil is a natural anti-foaming agent).
  • You may need to repeat these steps a couple of times to remove all the suds.

How to Get Rid of Bottle Smells

If you notice your bottles develop a lingering smell, shake hot water and a tablespoon of white vinegar in the bottles before your normal cleaning process.

Cleaning Baby Bottles While Traveling

If you’re traveling with your baby on the road, make sure you pack a clean container, dish soap, and a bottle brush.

And you can follow the same handwashing instructions for cleaning bottles, above.

You can even purchase a collapsible dish tub to make it easier.

RELATED: How To Travel With Frozen Breast Milk

Other Must-Have Baby Items

Best baby products

Now that we’ve covered everything to know about safe dishwasher detergents and cleaning baby bottles, here are some other baby essentials and breastfeeding essentials that are actually worth buying.

You can add them to your baby registry checklist or purchase them as you go.

Must-Haves for Baby:

These are the best baby care items for sleep, illnesses, bath time, and more.

Must-Haves for mom:

Below are the best breastfeeding items and mom gear to make feeding and caring for your baby so much easier.

Must-Haves For the Nursery:

And, here are some items to help furnish and organize your nursery.

RELATED: Which Is Better? Pack and Play vs Crib


Do you need special dishwasher detergent for baby bottles?

That depends.

You can use regular dishwasher detergents as long as they are free of bleach and other harsh chemicals.

However, they may not do the best job at cleaning baby bottles.

Baby bottle detergents are specifically made to break down milk solids and residue and they’re made with a baby’s sensitive skin and vulnerable immune system in mind.

If you find that your regular dishwasher detergent isn’t getting the job done, consider a specialized baby bottle detergent or dish soap.

Is Finish dishwasher detergent safe for baby bottles?

Finish dishwasher detergents don’t contain bleach, but they may have fragrance allergens, so check the label before you buy.

And if you notice any adverse reactions in your baby, stop using and consider an alternative.

Is Cascade dishwasher detergent safe for baby bottles?

Yes. Cascade detergent is gentle enough to use on baby bottles and feeding tools.

The Bottom Line

Baby boy drinking a bottle of breast milk while lying under a tan blanket.

Here’s the bottom line on the best dishwasher detergent for baby bottles:

  • Some dish detergents contain harmful chemicals and allergens that aren’t safe for a baby’s sensitive skin or immune system.
  • Before choosing a detergent, make sure it’s free of bleach, phosphates, triclosan, and controversial ingredients like benzalkonium chloride.
  • If you notice that your regular detergent doesn’t get your baby bottles completely clean, or they irritate your baby, you may need to switch to a detergent specifically made for baby bottles.
  • Here are the top safe dishwasher detergent options to try:
    • Dapple Dishwasher Pods
    • Seventh Generation Fragrance-Free Detergent Packs
    • Puracy Platinum Dishwasher Detergent Pods
    • Grab Green Natural Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Powder
    • Better Life Natural Dishwasher Gel Detergent
    • ATTITUDE Dishwasher Tablets
  • And you can also handwash baby bottles with these baby-safe dish soaps:
    • Babyganics Foaming Dish & Bottle Soap
    • ATTITUDE Baby Dish Soap
    • Aleva Naturals Baby Bottle and Dish Liquid with water Lily, Aloe Vera, and Coconut Oil
    • Better Life Natural Dish Soap
    • Dapple Baby Bottle and Dish Soap
    • Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap
    • Ecos Earth Friendly Products Baby Bottle & Dish Wash
    • Grab Green Natural Baby Bottle & Dish Soap
    • mamaforest Natural Soap Dish Bar
    • Med​​​​ela Quick Clean Soap
    • Molly’s Suds Natural Dish Soap
    • Mongdies Baby Bottle Dish Soap
    • Seventh Generation Dish Liquid Soap
    • SimpliGrown Natural Dish Soap
    • Sky Organics Dish Soap
    • Elysium Premium Baby Bottle Liquid Soap
    • Puracy Natural Dish Soap
    • Frosch Baby Cleaning Liquid
    • Rebel Green Super Deluxe Dish Soap
  • Sterilize baby bottles and baby items before first use by boiling them in water for 5 minutes.
  • Sanitize cleaning gear like bottle brushes at least once a week, or more if your baby has health issues or was born prematurely.
  • You should clean bottles and breast pump components after each use.
  • You can quickly handwash bottles and gear in a small basin with baby-safe dish soap. Or, you can clean an individual bottle by filling it with hot water, a dash of soap or detergent, and giving it a good shake. Then, thoroughly rinse the bottle and let it dry.
  • You can also was dishwasher-safe bottles, sippy cups, and breast pump components in the dishwasher. Use the clips to secure bottle nipples in the main basket, and place all other items on the top rack.
  • For lingering bottle smells, add hot water and a tablespoon of white vinegar to the bottle, secure the cap, and give it a shake. Then wash the bottle as you normally would.
  • You can also easily clean baby bottles and gear on the road if you’re traveling using the handwashing methods, above. Make sure you pack a large container, dish soap, and a bottle brush.

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Your Turn

Did we answer all your questions about the best dishwasher detergent for baby bottles? Let us know if we missed anything in the comments!

Pinterest graphic with text and collage of dishwasher detergent, and a baby drinking a bottle.