How to Get the Stink Out of Baby Bottles

We absolutely adore our Dr. Brown’s bottles. Seriously, they are crazy great. And I swear that we wash them regularly, but occasionally one of us will get lazy and forget to clean the bottles for an extended period of time and… eventually the bottles start to smell a bit.

I think it happens to everyone. If you do any bottle-feeding at all, you have likely encountered a smelly baby bottle. It's just part of bottle-feeding unfortunately.

But that doesn’t mean I want to put up with the smell! And surely my baby doesn’t either. I can’t help but think that the milk tastes different when the stinky bottles are used. (To be clear, I have not been brave enough to test this; it’s just a gut feeling.) Smelly bottles are just not something I want.

Washing Out Bottle Stench

Start with a good wash. Scrub the bottles, nipples, and vents (if applicable) with a quality bottle brush and some dish soap. Rinse each bottle part thoroughly.

Once the bottles are rinsed off, sterilize them. If you don’t already sterilize your bottles, you should seriously think about starting! Sterilizing bottles is so easy to do, and it can literally save your baby’s life.

Let the bottles air dry once they have been thoroughly washed, rinsed, and sterilized.

Now, check to see if the smell is gone. If so, great! But if not, that’s okay. There’s still another step you can take.

The Home Remedy for Bottle Stink

The key to eliminating your bottle odor is baking soda. Bottle odor is most often caused by spoiled milk (either breast milk or formula). And baking soda is a fantastic deodorizer.

Just fill up each stinky bottle half way with hot water. Then add a single teaspoon of baking soda to each bottle. Now, shake the bottles (with a cap on to contain the hot water) and rinse out the baking soda with regular tap water.

That’s enough for most bottles. But if you have some really stinky plastic bottles, you might want to let the bottles sit in the baking soda water over night. You can use a big mixing bowl to contain all the bottles and parts. Then just rinse and sterilize in the morning.

Important Clarification: I am talking here about an odor caused by bad milk. If you are dealing with an odor caused by leaving juice in the bottle, you should let the bottles soak in vinegar overnight instead!

Preventing Foul Bottle Odors

To keep the smells from taking hold in the first place, remember to rinse your baby bottles out immediately after using them. Remember that the smell is caused by milk going bad. So if you rinse the milk out, you eliminate the cause of the stench.

Alternatively, you can refrigerate a bottle if your little one doesn’t finish. Just be sure to use the bottle again quickly to keep the milk from going bad.