How to clean bottles & nipples

Published On: April 6, 2021

Newborn puppies and kittens have very naïve immune systems. Severe infections can be introduced and spread when feeding, by bacterial contamination of nipples and bottles. Cleaning ALL feeding utensils and equipment after feeding is critical to the maintenance of good health in newborns. If the equipment and feeding utensils are not clean enough to feed a human baby, then they should not be used on newborn animals either.

Sterilization – Before first use, new nipples and bottles should be sterilized. A quick and easy method of sterilization is to immerse feeding equipment into boiling water for 5 minutes. After sterilization it is not necessary to sterilize the bottles before every feeding, however, bottles must be cleaned thoroughly after every feeding with detergent (see below) or run through the dish washer.

Step 1: Rinse – Take apart and rinse all bottles, nipples, and mixing utensils with lukewarm water. It is important to use lukewarm water as hot water will coagulate remaining milk protein and cause adherence to the equipment surface providing a place for bacterial colonization.

Step 2: Detergent – Following the lukewarm water rinse, wash utensils with a detergent/sanitization soap and hot water (50°C; 120°F), use a bottle brush if necessary. Make sure the water remains hot throughout this rinse. If you do not have a thermometer, hot water should be too hot for bare hands but okay if wearing rubber gloves.

Step 3: Clean Rinse – Rinse detergent from utensils with clean water or, ideally, a 10% bleach solution.

Step 4: Dry – Allow for air drying (making sure not to place openings face down on any surfaces where water can pool and allow for bacterial growth) or pat dry with a clean towel.