We all know how hard it is to clean sippy cups (and even baby bottles) because of their intricate designs and tiny groves in their nozzles and valves. Well, it really should not be that hard and there is no reason you should ever have to throw out a sippy cup because you can no longer get it clean. Here is my simple way to clean those sippy cups.
First, if at all possible you should take apart each piece of the sippy cup and rinse it off after each use, even if you do not have time to wash it immediately. Now, I know with on the go and busy families this is not always the case. Plus, there are those times that you forget about a sippy cup or your exploring child leaves it somewhere that you cannot seem to find at all. Far too many times I have found a sippy cup full of spoiled milk in the car, under the bed or even in my son’s toy box. But there is a solution to this as well.
For everyday, normal cleaning (You know, those days that the cup does not have 5 day old milk in it), I try to rinse out the cup and take apart all the pieces after my son is done with it. I place the cup in the dishes to wash pile, but the valve and the spout go somewhere else. I have a large closed lid jar that holds a mixture of 75% water and 25% hydrogen peroxide. I place the spout and the valve in there to soak for the day. What the hydrogen peroxide mixture actually does is to take away any bacteria or build up that has formed on the pieces. After your pieces soak for awhile, you will actually see little specks of dirt or milk deposits floating in the water. When I do the dishes, I simply take the spouts and valves out of the mixture and wash with warm, soapy water – no scrubbing required. Plus, depending on how much use it sees, your hydrogen peroxide mixture can last up to a whole week. When it starts to get murky, that is your indicator to make a new one.
Now, let’s talk about those week old, spoiled milk containing sippy cups. Here’s what you will do, rinse out the cup portion as well as possible. Then you will fill it with 50% water and 50% vinegar and let it sit for a day (for really bad cases, you may need to let it soak for more than a day). The vinegar will eventually absorb the rancid smell and will leave you with a perfectly good smelling sippy cup again. You just need to make sure you wash the cup well with warm water and soap before giving it back to your child. Now, you can try to put the valve and the spout in your hydrogen peroxide mixture, or you can create a new vinegar mixture to put those pieces in. If they smell especially bad, you should just go ahead and try the vinegar first. After a day or so, these should also come out smelling normal. Again, be sure to rinse well with soap and water.
That’s it! That’s all you have to do. No pipe cleaners to use. No scrubbing. With this cleaning method, there is no worry that your spouts or valves will deteriorate, as both hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are safe. I tend to avoid the dishwasher when it comes to sippy cups. Even though most packaging claims the cups are dishwasher safe, my cups always start to become additionally leaky anyway from the heat causing the shape of the plastic pieces to change.
Plus, both hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are natural disinfecting products. You can be sure that you are not harming your child by using harsh chemicals and cleaners. In fact, I suggest using a plant-based detergent, such as Seventh Generation, to rinse your sippy cups.