Every parent will appreciate having a baby bottle brush in their life. Out of more than 30 contenders, we tested the top 7 brushes for 2020. We looked at features such as durability, eco-friendliness, and, most importantly, how well they clean your bottles. We used the option in vessels of various shapes and sizes to see how each one would measure up to the rest of the pack. In the end, we selected our favorites, brushes that we would purchase for our own homes, to recommend to you.
Best Baby Bottle Brush
Of all the bottle brushes we've had the pleasure of using, the OXO Tot Brush is easily our favorite. The bristles on the brush are the perfect mix between soft and stiff that allows you to get a good scrub going, but also won't fling water all over the place in the process. The rubber-coated handle is slightly longer than average, which enables the brush to reach the bottom of taller bottles with ease. To keep the brush sanitary, you can throw it in the dishwasher for a thorough cleaning. One of the best features of the OXO Tot is the nipple brush. It is one of the few included nipple brushes made of nylon bristles, and we feel it does a much better job of cleaning than a rubber one. It screws into the neck of the larger brush for storage and snaps into place, so there is no chance of losing it. We also love that the brush comes with a sturdy base to set up in when not in use.
While there is not much to complain about with the OXO Tot Brush, it is made entirely of plastic, something that we prefer to avoid due to its health and environmental impacts. Another common complaint is that it can be somewhat tricky to remove the nipple brush. It requires a combination of pressing a button and twisting apart the neck and handle of the brush. We did not mind this, but it does require two hands and is not as convenient as some of the other options we tested. In the end, we found that the functionality of the brush easily outweighed these small drawbacks. The OXO Tot is our top choice for a bottle brush and one we highly recommend.
Dr. Brown's Bottle Brush is a tried and true bottle brush that many people come back to again and again. The combination bristle and sponge brush head ensure that you can thoroughly clean any bottle. We especially appreciate the fact that the bristles are soft enough that they do not cause overspray, but the sponge is sufficiently substantial to scrub off dried milk rings from the bottom of the bottle. Many people also note that the sponge is much less abrasive than bristles, and they use it on more delicate items such as wine glasses. The flexible neck allows you to reach awkward spaces and tight angles more easily. This brush has a textured plastic nipple cleaner on the bottom of the handle, and a suction cup stand to keep it upright when not in use. If it ever gets too gross for comfort, it is top-rack dishwasher safe.
One of our biggest complaints about this brush is the lack of durability. While we feel that the sponge does a great job of cleaning bottles, it gets torn up easily when repeatedly forced through the small opening of a narrow neck bottle. The soft bristles get bent out of shape quickly, and you will likely end up wanting to replace your bottle brush every 3-4 weeks, depending on how much you use it. The included brush stand is a good idea, but we felt that it was a bit dinky, especially compared to the much more substantial base of the OXO Tot Brush. Despite these durability issues, Dr. Brown's Bottle Brush is one of the most affordable in our review, making it much more reasonable to replace it every month. We feel that given its fantastic cleaning ability, the trade-off is worth it.
In our homes, we consider Dr. Brown's Straw Brush a must-have. These long and narrow brushes work perfectly with Dr. Brown's bottle system, but we find them to be useful for everything from nipples, to straws, to water bottle lids and more. At a mere 5" long and 1/4" wide, these brushes fit in every crevice. The flexible wire stem allows them to reach awkward angles and clean items that may not be straight. Since they come in a pack of 4, many people customize one or two by bending them into different shapes to better clean specific bottles/lids in your home.
The downside to super tiny, flexible brushes is that they are much easier to lose or damage. We find that if we choose a dedicated brush space on our counter, or keep them in a small cup, we have much less trouble with this. The handles on these brushes (if you could call it that) are almost nonexistent and may be more difficult for large-fingered persons to maneuver. It is merely an extension of the wire with a small loop at the end. For us, these flaws were not deal-breakers. We appreciate these tiny brushes for their unique application and consider them an essential kitchen tool in any home.
The Redecker Beechwood Brush is a more eco-friendly alternative to your traditional bottle brush. The handle is untreated beechwood, and the bristles are horsehair. Our favorite part of this brush is that there is absolutely no plastic. This feature makes it an ideal option for those who are trying to limit the use of plastic in their homes for health or environmental reasons. In terms of cleaning ability, this brush performs on par with other top brushes, only lacking in extra features such as a stand, or nipple brush. The bristles are semi-stiff, and work up a good lather, but are soft enough to mold around the curves and crevices of a bottle. We also did not experience much back spray when pulling the brush head out of narrow-necked bottles.
As mentioned above, this brush is the bare-bones product and does not come with any fancy accessories or features. Redecker recommends that you hang the brush to dry, but you must devise a system of your own to do this, as it does not come with a hook or stand of any sort. If you choose to purchase this brush, you will likely have to invest in an additional brush for nipples and smaller items. The Redecker is also one of the more expensive brushes in our review; however, it is highly durable and built to last. Many users choose to repurpose the brush for household cleaning after it is no longer useable for dishes. We appreciate the Redecker Beechwood Brush for its eco-health priorities and think it is an excellent choice for environmentally conscious families.
If you are looking for a long-lasting, durable brush that is free of plastic, then the Kitchiny Silicone Brush may be the one for you. This extra long-handled scrubber has a silicone-coated steel rod base, with a squishy handle on one end and a silicone bristle tip on the other. We like the idea of having a silicone brush for a few different reasons. It is a more healthy and eco-friendly material for those who are conscious of having plastic in their homes. It is also highly durable, so it will last longer than the average plastic bristled brush. Unlike many plastic brushes, this food-grade silicone is safe for sanitization, so you won't have to worry about replacing the brush periodically due to bacteria growth.
Most of the complaints our testers had about the Kitchiny centered around the size of the brush head. It is much smaller than most other brushes, and the bristles are very short. We think this is because a more substantial sized brush head would not fit in many narrow-necked bottles, but it takes a bit longer to clean bottles with such a small surface area. Another thing that may throw you off is the fact that it does not create as much of a lather as a regular bristle or sponge would. Lack of lather has nothing to do with the cleanliness of the bottle, but you may find yourself using more soap than necessary, simply because it is hard to know how much is in there already. While there are a few flaws, if eco-health and cleanliness in your kitchen are priorities for you, then the Kitchiny Silicone Brush may be your perfect solution.
Sometimes you just don't have time to clean your bottles immediately after use, whether you are rushing out the door, or just want to go back to sleep. Unfortunately, you then end up with tough, dried-on milk or juice residue. Enter the Munchkin Bristle Brush. It is a stiff-bristled, plastic brush with a rubber nipple brush that unscrews from the base for use. The nature of the stiffer bristles means that this brush can handle tough, dried-on messes and get your bottles clean in no time. In our testing, we found that this brush was the most efficient at tackling day old milk residue. The nipple brush fits into the small openings of nipples more precisely than any other brush we tested and is easy to remove from the base of the handle when needed.
As for the drawbacks of this brush? We have three words: So. Much. Backspray. This brush had us turning our heads and closing our eyes in anticipation of the gigantic spit storm that was coming. This issue is due to the same stiff bristles that make it such an efficient scrubber; however, it was an unpleasant experience every time. We frequently chose to use other brushes precisely because of this issue. A much less regularly noted complaint is that the size of the brush head and the stiffness of the bristles prevent it from fitting in very narrow-necked bottles. We feel that this brush is much more durable than many others we have used, but the Munchkin recommends replacing it every 30-45 days regardless, so it may not last much longer than the others anyways. We recommend the Munchkin Bristle Brush for those extra stuck-on messes but think you may enjoy using a slightly softer brush overall.
The Redecker Baby Bottle Brush is one of two products in our review made entirely from natural materials, and we appreciate their efforts at creating plastic-free options for parents. This brush has a twisted steel neck, pig hair bristles, and an untreated beechwood handle. The bristles are some of the softest in our review and are perfect for delicate surfaces, but they are still very durable and hold their shape well. The brush head is very narrow, and will easily slide into any sized neck opening and produce minimum back spray when removing it. Thanks to this, we like using this brush for more than just baby bottles, branching out into narrow-necked vases or wine bottles.
The unique combination of a bend in the neck and a free-spinning handle is supposed to make it easy to swivel the brush around a bottle and expedite the cleaning process. In reality, we found that this made it more challenging to maneuver, and we struggled to reach some corners. Perhaps our biggest gripe is that the bristles on this brush are not stiff enough to do any real scrubbing. This brush is great if you are cleaning your bottles immediately after using them, or want something that will be gentle on easily scratched surfaces, but we don't think that it is the ideal bottle brush for most people.
Why You Should Trust Us
After years of baby bottles, sippy cups, and water bottles, we consider ourselves bottle washing experts. Leading this bottle brush review is Senior Review Editor Abriah Wofford, who has had lots of hands-on use with a variety of brushes while providing in-home child care for over five years. During testing, we replicate a worst-case dirty bottle situation, leaving a layer of milk in bottles to dry overnight before testing each brush. We also evaluated the durability and eco and baby health attributes.
Analysis and Test Results
We bought, tested, and compared a variety of bottle brushes to find out which ones are the best. While using each brush, we paid special attention to a few features and compared them to one another.
Hands down, the number one most important factor in a baby bottle brush is how well it cleans bottles. While all of the brushes we tested will do a satisfactory job, there were a few that quickened the process and made the dreaded task of bottle washing more bearable. We tend to favor brushes with medium-stiff bristles and a larger size that can clean a larger surface area. We also appreciate brushes with a nipple brush included or built-in. The OXO Tot Brush fit the bill and had almost all of these features, earning it our Editors' Choice award.
With any bristle brush, you will have some amount of spray when you pull the brush out of a narrow-necked bottle. However, there were a few brushes, most notably the Munchkin Bristle Brush, that had bristles so stiff that the overspray was ridiculous. We found that at the end of each use, we would be splattered from the waist up with dirty water and soap bubbles, along with the walls, the countertop, and anything else in the near vicinity. This issue does not lessen over time, and we were forever scrunching up our noses and turning our heads away to avoid the spray.
A few of the brushes we tested, like the Munchkin Bristle Brush, have flexible necks. This feature dramatically improves ease of use by allowing the head of the brush to reach different angles, but careful not to get too confident in the flex. When pushed too far, the necks of the bottles will break.
Durability directly affects the value of your baby bottle brush, and indirectly affects the cleaning ability. While most parents expect to replace their bottle brushes periodically, some qualities make some brushes last longer than others. For example, stiffer bristles found on the Munchkin Bristle Brush will hold their shape for longer than softer ones. Silicone brushes will hold up to hot water and sanitization much better than plastic. Some of the handles are made entirely of plastic, resulting in a flexible, but somewhat less durable form. The brushes with steel or wood handles felt much sturdier than the plastic versions. Sponge scrubbers are some of the least durable. We encountered this problem when using Dr. Brown's Bottle Brush; being repeatedly forced through a small opening takes a toll on the soft sponge.
Finding an eco-friendly baby bottle brush can be tricky, as the most popular ones are made almost entirely from plastic. For this reason, we chose to include a few natural options like the Redecker Beechwood Brush and the Redecker Baby Bottle Brush in our testing. These two are the most eco-friendly, and both are completely plastic-free. The other option is to go with a long-lasting plastic brush, so at the very least, you will have to purchase fewer brushes throughout your bottle washing years, therefore producing less waste.
A baby bottle brush is a small addition to your kitchen but will make a world of difference when trying to clean the odd shapes of some bottles. Many people begin purchasing bottle brushes strictly for use with bottles but like them so much that they continue to keep one around well past the bottle feeding years. They come handy for items such as adult water bottles or vases, and we think that once you find the right one, this simple tool is likely to become one of your favorite accessories.
— Abriah Wofford