What To Do If Your Baby Bottles Smell Like Soap

What to Do If Your Baby Bottles Smell Like Soap?

Baby bottles are certainly the most popular alternative to breast milk. Every mother knows how hard it is to clean baby bottles. And sometimes even if you get all the food residue out the washing can leave behind a concerning soapy smell. So, what to do if your baby bottles smell like soap?

If your baby bottles are smelling there must be something wrong with how you are cleaning them like using too much soap or normal hand wash. It could also be due to defects in the bottle itself.  By following proper cleaning methods along with some precautions, you can easily avoid the soapy smell coming from your baby bottles. 

In this article, I have discussed in detail the various proper methods of washing that will leave your bottles squeaky clean without leaving a soapy smell. Normally, any one of them should work fine. But you can try them out one by one until you receive your desired result. So, let’s take a look at all the things you can do to remove the horrid soapy smell.

Why Does Baby Bottles Smell Like Soap?

Though there are various brands of baby bottles, most of them are plastic made. This is where the main problem arises. Plastic being very porous can absorb things well whether it’s milk or soap. And so, if you’re not taking enough precautions, it’s most likely the bottle is absorbing harmful soap residue.

If your baby bottles smell soapy or bad in general, it’s usually because the bottles have been damaged. However, if your bottles are new and made of plastic, chances are the plastic has been absorbing soap residues.

Due to the soap residue, the bottles smell soapy no matter how many times you clean them. The soap residues are most likely harmful and are not safe for babies. In this case, it’s time to change your cleaning method and find a new one.

How to Clean Baby Bottles

How to Clean Baby Bottles Properly?

As mentioned earlier, the prime reason your baby bottles smell soapy is due to the use of normal soap or excess soap while washing the bottles. Or maybe you are not just following the cleaning procedures correctly. Maybe you’re rushing with the cleaning or using way too much detergent or the cleaning method is not suitable for the baby bottle.

Here, I’ve discussed the proper methods of cleaning baby bottles. So, without further ado, let’s jump into how you can get rid of the soapy smell and clean the baby bottles properly.

Using a Dishwasher

If your baby bottles are plastic, chances are it’s dishwasher safe. In fact, most bottles are safe for use with dishwashers. However, don’t just pop the bottles in the dishwasher, that’s a common mistake parents tend to do.

You need to take off every part of the bottle apart. Even the nipple along with the ring must be separated. Actually, these two parts contain most of the bacteria and germs. After taking the whole bottle apart, it’s time to clean them through the dishwasher. Dishwashers usually have a full cycle of washing then rinsing, and sanitizing. Let the bottles complete this full cycle.

Let them air dry if the dishwasher you have does not support automatic drying. Air drying is the safest way to dry the bottles. It’s highly recommended to not wipe the wet bottles.

Hand Washing

Hand Washing baby bottles is quicker than other methods. However, it’s not recommended to hand wash a baby bottle. Partly because of the sink. Sinks are houses of bacteria and germs. If you really want to clean the bottles in this method, use a different basin along with a separate scrubber.

For hand washing, what you need to do is, at first give the baby bottles a pre-wash before putting them on the basin. The basin should be filled with warm water. Rinse the bottles thoroughly and scrub them. Let the bottles air dry after and you’re done with the job!

Boiling the Bottles

Boiling the bottles is the perfect way to sanitize them. Even if you boil the bottle for just 5 min, it’s enough to clean the bottles and remove any soap residue and bacteria. 

The soapy smell will be gone too. Simple, isn’t it? This method does not require any type of additional substance. It’s easy, cheap, and effective. This can also be used as an extra step to your regular cleaning routine as getting any excess residue off before boiling is always a good idea.


Another natural neutralizer is vinegar. I am talking about natural kinds of vinegar here. Vinegar is a natural stabilizer. Take a small pan or pot just as big as the bottle you’re cleaning. Mix water and vinegar and let the bottle soak in the mixture for about 30 minutes or so. Don’t forget to take the baby bottle parts apart and let them soak individually.

Let the bottles have a vinegar bath once a week and see the result! Your bottles will be free from all kinds of soap residue and smell in no time.

Using Specialty Dish Soap

Fancy a nice smelling dish soap? They may smell nice but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s appropriate or suitable for your baby. Then it’s time to change the dish soap you are using. Here come these specialty dish soaps to your rescue.

These are just designed to eradicate some components and add some other ones. Specialty dish soaps are best if the baby has any kind of allergy or dietary restrictions. Babyganics Dish Dazzler or Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile soap are great for cleaning baby bottles.  

How to Prevent Baby Bottle from Smelling Soapy?

Prevention is better than cure, right? If you know how to prevent this stinky phenomenon from occurring again then there’s no need to worry. Let’s take a look at how you can prevent your baby bottles from smelling soapy.

  • Rinse the baby bottle as soon as the baby is done drinking: Rinse the bottle with warm water immediately after the baby finishes drinking. This will clear out any milk residue along with the smell.
  • Take the whole bottle apart: Don’t try to rush the cleaning by bulking the whole bottle together. Clean each part individually and with time.

 Since there are a lot of parts of the baby bottle, it means that not only soap and milk but also moisture can get condensed from the environment and warmth of the baby. That’s why it’s important to clean every bottle part individually. 

  • Don’t wipe the wet bottles: It’s natural to want to wipe the bottles after washing but you need to resist this urge. Instead of wiping the baby bottles, let them air dry.
  • Sterilize the bottles after washing: The easiest and cheapest way of sterilizing baby bottles is simply boiling them. Just take a small pot or pan and then fill the pan with water. Submerge the bottles and boil them. Boil at least for 5 minutes and then you’re done!

By simply following these, you can make sure your baby bottles will not smell soapy anymore.


I hope that by reading so far you got a clear idea of what to do if your baby bottles smell like soap. Depending on why your bottle is smelling you can get rid of the problem. But the mentioned five cleaning methods along with the precautions will ensure your baby bottles will stop smelling soapy.

Staying extra cautious while cleaning, you can easily make sure the baby bottles stay sterilized and free from any bad smell.

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