How to Get Smell Out of Baby Bottles: The Best Tips and Tricks

  • By: Jess Winters
  • Date: April 2, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Babies need to drink milk and other liquids from bottles. But what if the bottles start to smell bad? How can you get rid of the smell and make sure your baby’s drinking water is clean and fresh?

If your baby’s bottle or sippy cup has a soapy smell or a sour smell, then it is probably because of bacteria. Bacteria can grow very quickly in warm environments, and milk or juice creates a perfect environment for bacteria to grow.

Why Do My Babies’ Bottles Smell?

As your baby bottle is used, it can soak up and absorb odors or any other bad smell in its surroundings. Plastic baby bottles are permeable, they can and do retain smells. Glass baby bottles are not prone to retaining smells like plastic bottles.

Cleaning and washing baby bottles properly, keeping bottles in excellent condition, and using fragrance-free dish soap may all help keep clean baby bottles. 

Milk formula, old milk, or food spilled inside the bottle can also leave behind a bad odor that can get absorbed into the baby bottle, especially plastic baby bottles. This can also be an issue if you have excess lipase in your pumped milk.

The second cause of the bad bottle smell is milk proteins that have reacted with the air.

Finally, a build-up of detergent from soap residue can also make your bottles smell sour.

Whichever the reason may be, it is important to know how to get the baby bottles to smell out so that your baby or child can continue to drink from them without any unpleasantness.

How Do You Clean a Smelly Bottle?

To get rid of the smell from baby bottles, try one or more of the following tips:

Soak the bottle in a vinegar and water solution.

If the smell persists, try rubbing some vinegar on the inside of the bottle before rinsing it off after a few hours. This will help remove any detergent residue or leftover formula which may be lurking on the bottle.

Vinegar is a natural chemical that has been used as an antiseptic since ancient times. It remains one of the most effective ways to remove mold, mildew, and bacteria from anything.

Soak the disassembled bottle parts of bottles in 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to 1 cup of water for up 12 hours before washing them off with clean water; then enjoy fresh-smelling gear once again.

Baking Soda Soak

Baking soap is great for removing a soap smell and funky smells on baby’s bottles or sippy cups. Baking soda will work in cold temperatures or with boiling water.

Put 1 teaspoon of baking soda in the bottle, fill the bottle with water and shake vigorously and this natural deodorizer will start to remove the off-putting smell. You can also use it as a paste to scrub the bottle to remove any stubborn odors.

Baking soda is great for absorbing odors and is totally safe for baby’s health.

Boil water and pour it over the bottle.

Pour boiling water over the bottle and let it sit for a few minutes. This will help to kill any bacteria that may be causing the smell. Rinse out and repeat if needed. This will also help reduce soap residue which may be causing the smell.

Freeze it!

After you have washed your bottle, put it in the freezer overnight and this will help remove any lingering smell. Freeze your baby’s bottle in the freezer to get rid of any smells and bugs.

If you can’t get the smell out of your baby bottle no matter what you do, try freezing it. The cold will kill any bacteria that may be causing the smell and when you thaw it out, the smell should be gone.

Rinse with bleach solution.

If all of the above methods have failed, mix one quart of warm water with one tablespoon of chlorine bleach. Dip your bottle brush into the mixture and scrub the inside of the bottle. Be sure to rinse with clean water afterwards.

Be careful though! Only use the tiniest amount of bleach as you can end up with bottles smelling of bleach! Immediately rinse this liquid out.

Rinse Immediately After Use

It’s important when you have finished feeding to rinse the bottles out straight away to ensure all the milk is rinsed out. If you have dish soap you can use it now, but just a quick initial rinse is ideal.

Doing this quickly will help to stop bacteria from developing and stop that sour milk smell.

Replace the Bottles

If the smell persists after trying these tips, it may be time to replace the bottle. Bottles that are scratched or cloudy can be difficult to clean and may retain smells more easily.

It is also important to make sure that all of the parts of the bottle are properly cleaned and rinsed, as food particles can cause bacteria to grow and create a smell.

Bottles Smell Like Soap

If your bottles smell like soap, it’s probably soap residue causing your smell. Dish soaps need to be thoroughly rinsed out.

First, you need to hand wash the bottle with soap and water. Make sure to rinse off all the soap suds before putting them away.

You can also try using vinegar solution to get rid of any residual soap smells. If that still doesn’t work, put 1/4 cup of baking soda in the bottom of your dishwasher before running a cycle.

Baby Bottles Smell Like Bleach

If after cleaning baby bottles they smell like bleach then your baby’s bottles should be cleaned and left to soak overnight in cold water.

Soak your bottles and parts in a tub or large glasses filled with cold tap water for as long as you can. The cold water soak will help you to kill any bacteria that could be on your bottles and parts.

All your baby bottles or glass bottles should be cleaned in either hot, soapy, warm water or a dishwasher if they are dishwasher safe.

Removing Sour Milk From Baby Bottles

It’s a fact of life that sooner or later, every baby bottle will end up with sour milk in it (breastmilk or baby formula milk).

The easiest way to get rid of milk residue is by using baking soda. After washing your bottles put two tablespoons in each bottle with hot water – shake then soak overnight before rinsing in hot soapy water again the next morning. Makre sure the washed bottle is fully rinsed out.

Alternatively you can cut through the fats in formula and breast milk with a simple vinegar soak. This is also good for getting rid of a bottle that smells soapy or has an apple juice residue.

How to Prevent Odors From Taking Hold?

It always best to prevent the odors initially and here are some tips for preventing odors:

  • Clean your bottles on a regular basis to ensure that any smells or deposits leftover are removed.
  • Rinse the bottles with hot water after each use, as soon as possible. We know its not always easy for breastfeeding moms to rinse out bottles instantly but it really does help.
  • If they are dishwasher safe put them on the top rack and ensure your dishwasher is regularly cleaned.

Do You Need Special Soap for Baby Bottles?

When it comes to washing baby bottles, you’re likely to find dish detergents for baby bottles of all kinds on supermarket shelves. Included in this wide array of options are many soaps that claim to be safe and hypoallergenic.

The answer to the question above is no. However, make sure that the dish detergents or bottle of soap you are using contains zero fragrance and possibly even be organic. Also, made sure that the soap contains natural ingredients that are gentle on your little one’s skin and still powerful enough to remove gunk.

Can You Clean Baby Bottles With Just Hot Water?

No, you can’t clean baby bottles with just hot water. You need to use a dish soap or detergent to break down the oils and residue that are causing the smell Any lingering fats will be prone to develop bacteria in which causes the smells.

Is It Safe to Wash Baby Bottles With Bleach?

Yes, you can do this without endangering your child. It’s safe to wash baby bottles with bleach as long as you follow the proper instructions. By following the instructions, you can ensure that both you and your child are safe from any harmful chemicals.

Only use the tiniest amount in a very watered down solution for either your bottle to sippy cup.

It’s important to not soak them in a bleach solution, just put the bottle brush into the solution and use it to clean. Then after washing it all out, ensure you leave it to air dry.

Take Away on How to Get Rid of Rotten Milk Smell From Bottle

There are many ways you can go about getting the milk out of your baby bottles, but some of them may be more effective than others. But there are other ways to disinfect baby bottles at home, including washing them with boiling water or bleach.

One thing to bear in mind is that some methods require you to assemble and disassemble parts before cleaning them, whereas others will require only that you put the dirty items in the sink or dishwasher. The most important concept from this article was to know when it’s time to throw bottles away and to practice good hygiene.