How to Disinfecting Dishware Outside the Dish Washer?

Updated on January 31, 2009
J.W. asks from North Charleston, SC
9 answers

Hi Moms,

Would you share how I can safely disinfect plastic dish ware outside the dishwasher? I found a sippy cup filled with milk that sat for I would guess about 4 was absolutely disgusting to clean out!!! I want to avoid the dishwasher to disinfect it because my experience with the dishwasher is the extreme heat has caused leaking in the sippy cups. My guess is to soak it in a sink full of water and a couple cap fulls of bleach.

What can I do next?

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answers from Anchorage on

Hi Jennifer,
I have this problem all the time my sons are leaving there cups places I cant find until they stink. I tried it all and what has worked best for me is to fill the cup with hot water and put a teaspoon of baking soda in it let sit over night or longer and then wash it with soap. It works to let it sit with just soap but that takes one - two days. Good luck with finding something that works for you.

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answers from Seattle on

Hi Jennifer, That's easy. First however, If you want a healthy and safe home for your family do NOT use Bleach. Bleach is a known Carcinogen. If you were to read the MSDS put out by the manufacturers you would freak out. If you would like to find how to use healthy safe products without the harsh chemicals I invite you to respond back.
N. B

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answers from Portland on

Please don't bleach. Chlorine bleach is becoming one of the greatest environmental hazards, because when it goes into wastewater and reacts with organic wastes such as paper (or other lignin-containing materials), it creates dioxins, which are among the most dangerous and durable of poisons (and traces are already found in every human body, and in breast milk).

Baking soda works wonders cleaning just about anything. Soak overnight.

And there is a Seventh-Generation non-chlorine oxygen-based bleach (using hydrogen peroxide) that will do a completely safe soak, and you'll only need a splash in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes to disinfect the sippy parts. It doesn't always get rid of stains, but the parts will be germ-free, if that's your concern.

But really, just a hot soap and water scrub and a baking soda soak should take care of the problem. More germs exist in our minds and in the imaginations of advertisers who want us to buy their products than exist on actual kitchen surfaces.

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answers from Seattle on

I've never heard of a metal sippy cup...sounds intriguing...I'm guessing it's like a metal thermal travel coffee mug?

I just found out recently that you're not "supposed" to put ANY of those through the wash (i live under a rock, apparently, I've been putting them in the dishwasher in pieces for YEARS, without any noticeable difference unless a lid flipped out of it's cage and onto the heating element counts). The change in heat from the air chamber to the outside ends up breaking the seal between the metal and plastic for many people & they end up getting water or worse in that chamber. Same for that matter, the insulated plastic ones. Since we could never manage to hang onto the insulated plastic ones for more then a month or two...we never actually noticed in those either. Makes sense though. In fact my husband just bought one where the plastic liner comes out and the bottom unscrews so the whole thing can go in and not have that problem. Huh. That's me. Living under a rock.

If I'm right about the type...then I wouldn't boil them either...same problem. My sons hypoglycemic, so we always had a milk sippy or 3 around...and I invariably would find them under the seat in the car/behind the crib/wedged into a shoe/etc. I'm not talking about fresh ones. Eeeew eeeew eeeeeeeeeew. We had quite a bit of success of washing them, filling them with soap & water and letting them sit for a few days, and washing again. Hadn't thought of the bleach. Here's what I would do with the addition of the no brainier of "duh! Bleach!", obviously if it passed the sniff test, stop:

- wash
- soak in 10% bleach
- wash until the bleach smell is gone
- sniff
- fill with soapy water
- let sit a day or two
- wash
- sniff
- dishwasher (at this point what do you have to lose?)
- garbage

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Richland on

Get the crud cleaned, clean w/hot soapy water, rinse with clear water, rinse(dunk/submerge/let it sit there a few minutes) in bleach water(1 cap full to a gallon), & rinse again with clear water, & then air dry. Germs be gone! No worries of dishwasher anything!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

To disinfect, you can boil it in a pot with water for about 10 minutes. If it is a rolling boil it probably won't touch the bottom - but you can put it in a steamer insert if in doubt, just make sure its totally submerged.



answers from Seattle on

This is clearly my opinion...but I don't think that the diswasher, even with the heated dryer, is that big of a deal. The whole BPA thing (if that is what you are worried about) is controversial - nothing has been decided conclusively, and one time isnt going to affect one piece of plastic all that much!



answers from Seattle on

Don't forget that soda (Arm and Hammer) rubbed on plastic removes a great deal of bad odors. I think I would (after washing very well with Dawn) rub soda all over the sippy cup while it's still damp and leave it at least over nite. Hope that helps.



answers from Corvallis on

I'm lucky enough not to have a dishwasher (I've never liked them). I wash all of my daughters sippy cups in the sink, they're the first thing that gets washed at the end of the day. I get the water as hot as I can stand it and use the Dawn with the disinfectant in it. If you don't want to wash by hand then I'd recommend using bleach like you said (it'll clean the sink at the same time too :-).

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