The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Breast Pump at Home: A Step-by-Step Guide for Busy Moms

"Maintaining and cleaning a breast pump is a crucial yet often overlooked aspect of using this device. Many new mothers are unsure about the proper cleaning techniques and may struggle to find reliable information. We aim to bridge this gap by offering a comprehensive guide on breast pump cleaning and maintenance, ensuring a safe and hassle-free experience for all."


1 Clean Your Breast Pump Before First Use

When you first purchase a breast pump, it’s important to thoroughly clean and sterilize it to remove any dirt or bacteria that may have accumulated during the manufacturing and retail process. This ensures that your pump is safe and hygienic for your baby’s use.

Image of a breast pump being cleaned

The BioHealth IE Basic double electric breast pump is designed with a compact and easy-to-disassemble structure for convenient cleaning.

2 Manual Breast Pump Cleaning Guide

To maintain your baby’s health and safety, follow these steps to properly clean your manual breast pump:

  • Step 1: Disassemble all parts of the manual breast pump.
  • Step 2: Use appropriate cleaning tools and specialized bottle cleaning solutions to thoroughly scrub all parts of the pump.
  • Step 3: Rinse the parts with clean water.
  • Step 4: Sterilize the pump parts using a bottle sterilizer, microwave, or by boiling them.
  • Step 5: Prepare a clean cloth and place the parts upside down on it to air dry.
Image of manual breast pump parts being cleaned

The BioHealth EE Classic manual breast pump features easily detachable parts for convenient cleaning.

3 Electric Breast Pump Cleaning Guide

For electric breast pumps, it’s crucial to keep the silicone tubing and motor completely dry. Follow these steps to clean your electric pump:

  • For the motor: Some pumps have an enclosed motor that cannot be disassembled. In this case, use a dry cloth to wipe away any dust or dirt from the surface of the pump and its outer bag or casing.
  • For the silicone tubing: Thread a thin, flexible wire (longer than the tubing) that’s wrapped in cotton and soaked in alcohol through the tubing. Repeat this process, then use dry cotton for a final pass.

For other parts of the electric pump, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Gently disassemble all parts, being careful not to tear any thin components like the white and yellow valves.
  • Step 2: Use specialized cleaning tools and solutions to scrub and clean the parts.
  • Step 3: Rinse the parts thoroughly with clean water.
  • Step 4: Sterilize the cleaned parts.
  • Step 5: Place the parts upside down on a clean cloth in a well-ventilated area to air dry.
Image of electric breast pump parts being cleaned

The Philips Avent Eureka SCF393.11 double electric breast pump comes with easy-to-clean accessories.

4 Important Notes on Breast Pump Cleaning

  • Avoid using harsh chemical cleaners.
  • Do not reassemble and use the pump until all parts are completely dry.
  • Always store the pump parts in a dry place.
  • Clean the pump immediately after use, as leaving it out can cause milk fat to build up and harden, making cleaning more difficult. If immediate cleaning is not possible, soak the parts in warm water, especially those that come into direct contact with milk.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before cleaning the pump to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Be careful when handling and cleaning the white and yellow valves, as they are delicate and can easily tear.
  • If milk gets into the pump, take it to a service center for inspection and cleaning.
Image of a cleaned breast pump bottle

Always clean your breast pump bottles and parts immediately after use to maintain hygiene and prevent milk buildup.

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Frequently asked questions

Breast pumps can become contaminated with harmful bacteria if not cleaned properly, which can lead to infections in both the mother and the baby. Regular and thorough cleaning is essential to ensure the health and safety of both.

It is recommended to clean your breast pump after each use. This includes washing all the parts that come into contact with breast milk, as well as sterilizing the pump itself periodically.

The step-by-step process for cleaning a breast pump at home is as follows:
1. Disassemble the breast pump according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
2. Rinse all parts that come into contact with breast milk with cool water.
3. Use a mild soap and a soft brush to clean the parts, paying extra attention to areas where milk can collect.
4. Rinse again with cool water to remove any soap residue.
5. Allow the parts to air dry completely on a clean towel.
6. Reassemble the breast pump and sterilize it by boiling it in water for 20 minutes or using a steam sterilizer.
7. Store the breast pump in a clean, dry place until next use.

You will need a mild soap, a soft brush, and a large pot for boiling water or a steam sterilizer. It is also recommended to have clean towels or paper towels on hand for drying the parts.

If you don’t have a steam sterilizer, you can sterilize your breast pump by boiling it in water for 20 minutes. Make sure that the water is at a rolling boil and that all parts of the pump are submerged. Use tongs or a heat-safe utensil to remove the parts from the water, and allow them to air dry completely before reassembling.

It is not recommended to put breast pump parts in the dishwasher as it may not effectively remove all milk residue and bacteria. Hand washing with mild soap and warm water is the best method to ensure thorough cleaning.

To prevent mold growth, it is important to ensure that all parts of the breast pump are completely dry before storing them. You can also store the parts in a sterile container or bag to keep them clean and dry until your next use.

If you notice any signs of mold or discoloration, it is important to act immediately. Disassemble the breast pump and clean all parts with a mild bleach solution (1 teaspoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water). Rinse thoroughly with cool water and allow to air dry completely. If the problem persists, you may need to replace the affected parts.

In addition to regular cleaning, it is important to periodically check all parts of the breast pump for any signs of wear and tear. Replace any parts that become damaged or worn out. It is also a good practice to keep a spare set of parts on hand in case of emergencies.