Safe Soap

Updated on May 15, 2011
M.F. asks from Larkspur, CO
13 answers

What is a good safe soap to use on baby bottles and breast pump parts. We don't have a dishwasher.

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answers from Portland on

Shane's right about possibly hazardous chemicals being releases from plastic when it's heated.

But most plastic are also absorbent, so using an anti-bacterial soap on them isn't a good idea. The active ingredient, triclosan, can taken up by the plastic and later leach into milk or other liquids. It has also been found to disrupt hormone regulation in animal studies, and contribute to making bacteria more antibiotic resistant. I'd also be careful to avoid any chlorine bleach and scented products for similar reasons; many of the scents used in modern cleaning products are actually toxic synthetics (see more on this at

You should get excellent results from any of the unscented, biodegradable dish detergents available in most grocery stores (you may have to look in the "health food" aisles. If you want a little extra germ-killing power, you could do a rinse with a bit of hydrogen peroxide, which breaks down into oxygen and water, not residual toxins.

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answers from Eugene on

Seventh Generation makes a dishsoap that is clear and unscented.

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answers from Provo on

I used dawn the original. Nothing with scents or lotions.

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answers from Atlanta on

HI M.,

We use LemonBrite from Melaleuca. It's nontoxic and completely safe for little ones. (It's also cheaper than the other brands as well) Dawn and detergents like that have chlorine bleach in them and can not be rinsed enough to remove the residues.

That goes for dishwashers as well. Have you ever cleaned with Clorox and had some get on your hands. No matter how hard you scrub you still have that yucky feel on your fingers. That's the residue. It sticks to dishes as well. If you put anything on it, it will come off a little at a tiime. You wouldnt let your little one suck on your fingers after you cleaned the bathtub even if you had washed your hands real good, would you...You don't want your little one sucking on anything that has chlorine bleach in it.

My two cents!


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answers from Denver on

Any basic hand washing dish soap is just fine (Dawn, etc.). Just rinse well.



answers from Redding on

Dishwashers aren't really great for plastic things. Convenient yes, but heating the plastic during the drying process isn't good. It breaks down the plastic for one thing and then I've read that it causes bad things in the plastic to be released.
Sorry...that was so not scientific in any way.
I would think that any antibacterial dish soap in hot water would be fine for washing these things. Make sure you rinse them well to get soap residue off regardless.
I always felt better handwashing things.

Best wishes.


answers from Hartford on

Just use dish soap like Dawn and hot water. No need to sterilize because the instant nipples and bottles hit open air they're no longer sterile anyway. :-)



answers from Denver on

Our bottle directions said to NOT use dish soap that is antibacterial. Not sure why. I don't use any antibacterial soaps at all. It can mess with your metabolism and of course makes germs resistant to the soap.


answers from Biloxi on

Hi M.,

I did not have a dish washer when my son was little and nursing.

Although 14 years ago, and admittedly the "dark ages", I washed his bottle parts, my pump parts, everything in the kitchen with regular dish soap and hot water. Heck, that is still how I wash all my dishes.

Moms have been washing bottle parts in the sink with dish soap for decades and their babies have been fine.

I get that new studies show this and show that and that everything is toxic, but I am always leery of these studies as they usually subject the poor lab animals to doses larger than what a person would be exposed to over a life time.



answers from Fargo on

This is going to sound weird, but I never used soap on bottles and especially not breast pump parts. I used plain water, but sometimes added either vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. Both much safer than soap with absolutely no residue.
Medela has microwave bags that you can sterilize both bottles and pump parts. I am not a fan of heating plastics, but it is an option!


answers from Lafayette on

when i was in the NICU they gave me it was either ivory or dawn, it was a small white bottle. i figure if they give it to me, it must be safe for all babies, since my baby was a tiny tiny one when they gave it to me.



answers from Dallas on

I was just at the store yesterday and saw that there is now a dish soap made specifically for baby stuff- bottles, pump parts, etc...I can't remember who makes it- my kids are past all that now.

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