How to Clean a Bottle Warmer

by Véronique Raymond
bottle placed on the table

If you are a breastfeeding mom and use a bottle warmer, you know that there can be build-up on the bottle from time to time. Whether you have plastic or glass bottles, bottle feeding your child from a dirty warmer can be gross. There are different ways to descale and clean bottle warmers.

Some have a dishwasher-safe basket, so long as the basket is placed in the top rack. The rest of the bottle warmer can be cleaned using soapy water and a cloth or sponge.

There’s a variety of options to choose from – Dr. Brown Bottle Warmer, Baby Brezza, Tommee Tippee. The question is how do you know what the best bottle warmer is? Find out here.

This article will shed some light on how to clean a bottle warmer and ensure it heats milk safely before feeding your child breast milk. Let’s begin!

How to Clean a Bottle Warmer: Routine Cleaning

Let It Cool and Follow Safety Precautions

The first step would be to unplug the appliance from its power source to allow it to cool down from its previous warming cycle before you begin cleaning. You mustn’t clean the bottle warmer or even remove the reservoir while it heats bottles or while it’s connected.

Also, if the bottle warmer was recently used, you should wait for about half an hour before you unplug it. Doing so allows the hot water to cool completely to the point where you can safely handle it.

Typically, the water in the bottle warmer will be extremely hot just after using it, so you need to let it completely cool before handling it. Just as with other electrical appliances in your home, you must follow every safety precaution.

Remove the Water Reservoir and Fill it with Soapy Water

Once the bottle warmer has cooled down, you can add soapy tap water to the water reservoir. For most bottle warmers, the water reservoir is located on the side.

You can pull gently on it to remove it. This enables you to pour out the water left inside. You can then add warm, soapy water to it. Make sure to fill the reservoir to the brim and let it soak for about seven minutes.

After this, place the reservoir on your sink or put a towel down to prevent the water inside from spilling. Given its use case, you should use only mild soap to clean your bottle warmer. Using harsh solvents on the bottle warmer can lead to damages.

For added convenience, you can wipe down the bottle warmer and clean any other parts while the reservoir is soaking. This way, the other parts can start drying while you are cleaning and rinsing the reservoir.

Cleaning the Bottle Warmer

This step requires you to clean the bottle warmer by tilting it to its side. Doing this empties the warming chamber.

Hold the bottle warmer over a sink so you can open the cover and tilt it sideways. In this position, the reservoir of the bottle warmer will face up, and any hard water remaining in the warming chamber will drain into the sink.

Washing the Basket

If you are washing the basket using a dishwasher, you should place the basket at the top of the rack. If you don’t have a dishwasher or if you are not using one, you can wash the basket by hand.

Most bottle warmer baskets usually have a plastic piece that keeps the bottle or food container steady. Simply use warm, soapy water if you are washing the basket by hand. Remember to use mild soap or white vinegar if you don’t have soap.

If you are cleaning the basket in a dishwasher, you should avoid putting it at the bottom rack as the force coming from the sprayer could dislodge the basket. Worse still, the basket can get damaged. To be safer, just put it in a warm water bath, which should wash away any unwanted baby food.

Once washed, you place the basket on a towel and allow it to air dry.

Sponge running under water

Source: Pexels

Wiping Down the Bottle Warmer

Wiping the Bottle Warmer

This process involves using a sponge or cloth and soapy water to wipe down the baby bottle warmer.

First, dip a non-abrasive sponge or soft cleaning cloth in warm water with a bit of mild soap. Squeeze out any excess water. Gently wipe the exterior parts of the bottle warmer, making sure to cover the entire surface.

Next, wipe the inside heating element. Keep in mind that you should not put the bottle warmer underwater.

Emptying the Reservoir

Empty the reservoir after it has soaked for about seven minutes or thereabout.

Next, add a very small amount of water and uncooked rice. Here’s a general guideline for the measurements. Use about 2 tablespoons of uncooked rice and 15 ml of cold water.

You don’t have to be exact with the quantity of water and rice mixture, but for better results, it will be a good idea to get as close to the suggested measurements as you can.

The reservoir fill hole is small, so it might be necessary to use a funnel. Also, you should not use cooked rice in this process, as it could get mushy and get stuck in the reservoir. This can lead to mould and bacteria.

Using Rice and Water to Clean the Bottle Warmer

Once you have put the uncooked rice and water mixture inside the reservoir, cover the fill hole and shake the container vigorously.

Tilt the reservoir in different ways to make sure the rice comes into contact with every part of the interior.

Agitating the rice and water mixture can help break up any soap residue and remove it from inside the reservoir. While the water in the reservoir doesn’t affect the bottle, the steam could cause soapy residue to appear on the nipple of the bottle if the reservoir is not completely clean.

Cleaning the Reservoir

The next step is to pour out the water and rice mixture. After this, completely flush out the container using running water. Repeat this step a couple of times. You can even choose to fill the reservoir with water and shake it around to ensure every bit of rice is dislodged.

If you discover that the reservoir still has suds, you can add more water and rice then shake to dislodge any leftover suds. There is no limit to the number of times you can shake the container.

Air Out and Reassemble the Bottle Warmer

Place the clean reservoir alongside the basket on a towel to dry. Leave them to dry for about an hour or thereabout.

The interior of the reservoir does not have to completely dry since more water will be added to it. But the exterior needs to be completely dry before you reassemble the appliance.

Place the reservoir back in the right slot to reattach it to the bottle warmer. The basket can be left out till you need to use it if you don’t want to put it back into place.

Remember to clean your bottle warmer at least once a week with rigorous use. You should also clean it if you begin to notice an odour coming from the reservoir.


Now that you’ve seen how to clean a bottle warmer, you’ll be able to feed your child warm milk safely and be prepared for when they wake up in the middle of the night. For your family’s health, your bottle warmer and bottle must both be clean and it’s best to keep it somewhere at room temperature. To take things a step further, you can also use a bottle sterilizer. Find out the best options here.

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