After washing the bottles and associated parts in warm soapy water, we leave them on a drying rack to dry. Sometimes my wife will use the bottle even when there are a few drops of water remaining in the bottle.

Is this safe? Do we have to worry about bacteria being on the drops of water?

  • 1
    You could always put the bottle in the microwave oven to quickly dry it and kill bacteria.
    – Eldelshell
    Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 14:12
  • we were told by our do in india - wash with soap, boil in water, should be in boiling water for8-10 minutes first 6 months. after 5 minutes. i use a timer. dry - some germs can form again, so we put it under a fan though the microwave idea sounds okay too. unless its not good for the plastic? need to google or ask that
    – tgkprog
    Commented Apr 20, 2013 at 19:45
  • 2
    @tgkprog, plastic is safe to microwave because it has no water content. Using a fan might blow more bacteria onto the bottles than if they were just left to dry by themselves. Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 20:15
  • ty torben-gundtofte-bruun how many minutes in the microwave?
    – tgkprog
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 23:19

4 Answers 4


I would say it's completely safe so long as the bottles have been adequately rinsed to remove any detergent residue.

There will always be trace bacteria kicking around in many places, even if the bottle was clear, by the time you have assembled the cup and lid and teat etc together, and handled the formula container which last week was sat on a supermarket shelf etc etc, you will have transferred some more to it from your hands. Kids need to be subjected to normal levels of stuff like this too build up their immune system, having everything sterilised is not necessarily a great idea so don't worry about it. They will have access to much worse levels of bacteria every day through just normal handling by parents.

If you are worried about it, maybe you drip dry and it can take a few hours to go totally dry etc, then consider something like microwave sterilisation instead, then as least the drips should be sterilised too.

  • 4
    +1 for there is no need to overdo defense from bacteria, they are part of normal life. In fact, some of them are necessary for us to survive. Children's immune system needs to be exposed to them in order to develop normally. As they say in our country, "a healthy baby eats about 2 kilograms [4 pounds] of dirt per year". Our elder daughter did literally eat sand and soil, without any adverse effect. Commented Feb 12, 2012 at 13:43
  • 1
    my pediatrician said it best: "mom's nipples aren't sterile, are they?"
    – Ken Liu
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 1:10

It depends on the age of your child:

  • For infants, washing is not enough because they don't have adequate immune defense. Consider properly sterilizing the bottles instead.

  • Older children have built up enough of an immune system to cope with unsterilized bottles, and I would not worry at all about the bottles being any degree of wet, as long as they're just wet with clean water and not soapy residue -- rinse the bottles in clean water after washing to ensure that.


We plan to sterilize bottles until he is 12 mo. Sippy cups we just wash because they have no milk in them. We have devoted one veggie crisper drawer in the frig to store the sterilized bottles.

To answer your question I would think the droplets of water are fine, especially if you are on city water. If on well water you might want to have it checked.

There is one thing I would recommend which many may think is overkill. I use a separate container to wash the only the baby's bottles. That way you don't have to worry as much about bacteria from greasy dirty dishes, glasses, and flatware.

If you don't have a sterilizer or time for the hassle, Walmart carries a 5 pack of microwave sterilizer bags, each bag is good for 20 uses. About $5.00.


You are safe to use the bottles as long as they have been properly sterilised. After washing your bottles you should either use a sterilising device of which there are many brands available. You can instead use the boiling technique where you must boil the bottles for at least 5 minutes.

If you are formula feeding your baby you may at this point mix up the formula right away which can be stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours, you may optionally prefer to only store the sterilised water into the bottles which do not need to be stored in the refrigerator and can be mixed when required.

If you are breast feeding your baby you may store the bottles in the refrigerator after sterilising while empty, however there shouldn't be an excess of water residue within the bottles.

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