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A trusty baby bottle brush can be a game-changer. After researching over 30 prospects, we purchased the 12 best bottle brushes available today to test and compare side-by-side. We focused on each brush's eco-friendliness, durability, and cleaning ability to reach all those nooks and crannies of baby bottles and breast pump parts. After hours of scrubbing and cleaning various items, we discovered that each brush has its strengths and weaknesses depending on the task, and we determined our favorite contenders that we would use in our homes. Whether your child is bottle feeding or in the sippy cup stage, a good bottle brush is essential. Read on for the inside scoop.
Of all the bottle brushes we've had the pleasure of using, the OXO Tot Brush is our favorite. The plastic wiggle bristles find the ideal balance between soft and stiff, allowing you to get a good scrub that doesn't fling water everywhere. The long, rubber-coated handle helps you reach the bottom of taller bottles, and you can throw it in the dishwasher for a thorough cleaning. One of our favorite features of the OXO Tot is the nylon bristles of nipple cleaner, which do a superior job of getting things clean. When not in use, it screws into the handle of the larger brush and snaps securely into place, so there is no chance of losing it. We also love the sturdy base that provides a place to set up the brush when all the bottles a squeaky clean.
The OXO Tot Brush is plastic, which we try to avoid due to its health and environmental concerns. The nipple brush is also tricky to remove as it requires you to press a button and twist the neck simultaneously, and we struggled to do it with one hand. We don't consider this a deal-breaker, but it is not as convenient as other tested options. The superior functionality of this brush easily outweighed these minor flaws, and the OXO Tot is our top choice for a bottle brush.
The Philips Avent Baby Bottle Brush has a simplistic yet highly functional design. The brush only has bristles on one side, more like a traditional dish scrubber. However, the tip's curved shape splays out the nylon bristles and allows you to easily reach the bottom of narrow bottles. The single-sided design lets you direct the overspray towards the sink, not all over the kitchen. It has a very comfortable handle angled for ergonomic scrubbing, but the most attractive feature of this brush is that you can use it for more than just cleaning bottles. The bristles cover enough surface area that we like using this as a general dishwashing tool.
The Avent Baby brush is plastic with nylon bristles. While these materials offer durability and longevity, we aren't huge plastic fans. The rear tip of the handle narrows into a textured nipple scrubber. However, it is elementary, and we recommend purchasing an additional small brush to clean nipples and straws. Overall, the Philips Avent baby bottle brush is a simplistic yet highly appreciated workhorse, and we think it would be a great addition to your bottle cleaning arsenal.
The Mama Bear Bottle Brush is a handy bottle cleaning tool with a sponge tip and soft nylon bristles twisted in a steel neck. The handle is plastic with a slip-resistant coating and is relatively comfortable to hold. We like the sponge and bristle combo as it seems to provide a good scrub but is also gentle on delicate surfaces. The stem of the brush is thin and easily fits into tiny openings, and the sponge can reach the corners of oddly-shaped bottles for a complete clean. The bristles are soft, so there isn't much back spray, even when removing the brush from a narrow opening. The opposite side has a lightly textured plastic nipple cleaner. The entire brush is top-rack dishwasher safe for sterilization. These brushes typically come in a 3-pack, making them very affordable.
The neck and handle of this brush are a bit short for cleaning taller 8-9 oz bottles. Also, the Mama Bear brush doesn't feel very durable. When frequently forced through a small opening, the sponge tip rips, and with regular use, you will likely need to replace it every 30-60 days. Such a short usage span means that more waste is created long-term if you're concerned about your environmental impact. Despite these hiccups, the Mama Bear Bottle Brush is an affordable and effective bottle cleaner that most parents will like.
The Dr. Brown's Straw Brush is a staple in our homes. These long and narrow brushes work perfectly with Dr. Brown's bottle system, but we find them useful for everything from nipples, straws, water bottle lids, and more. At a mere 5" long and 1/4" wide, these brushes fit in every crevice. The flexible wire stem reaches awkward angles and cleans items that are less than straight. Since they come in a pack of 4, you can 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. Choosing a dedicated brush space on your counter or keeping them in a small cup helps limit this potential. 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. We appreciate these tiny brushes for their unique application and consider them an essential kitchen tool in any home.
The Redecker Beechwood Brush is an 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 no plastic. This feature is a big draw for those who prefer to limit plastic for health or environmental reasons. This brush performs on par with other top products for cleaning ability. The bristles are semi-stiff and work up a good lather but are soft enough to mold around curves and crevices. We also did not experience much back spray when pulling the brush head out of narrow-necked bottles, which reduces overall messes and cleanup.
This brush is a bare-bones product and does not come with fancy accessories or features like a nipple brush or stand. Redecker recommends that you hang the brush to dry, but you must devise your own system to do this. If you choose to purchase this product, you will likely need to invest in an additional brush for nipples and other small items. The Redecker is also one of the more expensive items in our review; however, it is highly durable and built to last. Some users choose to repurpose the brush for household cleaning after it is no longer suitable for dishes. We appreciate the Redecker Beechwood for its eco-health priorities and think it is an excellent choice for environmentally conscious families.
Why You Should Trust Us
We consider ourselves bottle-washing experts after years of testing and using baby bottles, sippy cups, and water bottles for kids. Leading product selection and testing for our bottle brush review is Senior Review Editor Abriah Wofford. Abriah has gotten her hands on various brushes over the years. Thanks to her nanny experience, she has a good grasp of what to look for in the perfect bottle brush. We replicate a worst-case dirty bottle situation during testing for this review, leaving a layer of milk in bottles to dry overnight before testing each brush. We evaluate other attributes to rate and rank each brush: durability, eco-health, and baby health.
Analysis and Test Results
We bought, tested, and compared various bottle brushes to determine the most effective way to clean dirty bottles and other nursing and feeding items. While using each product, we focused on the overall cleaning ability of each contender, took note of any unique features, and compared the bottle brushes side-by-side.
None of the bottle brushes are outlandishly expensive, but we can see why one wouldn't want to pay more than they have to to get a device that cleans other things. However, after much testing, we can tell you that buying something with durability that costs a little extra might save you money over time because you won't need to replace it as frequently. Unfortunately, all bottle brushes have a shelf life, and you will eventually need to replace a brush to avoid transferring gunk, viruses, and bacteria from one surface to another. But some will last longer than others and retain their cleanability longer. The Philips Avent Baby Bottle Brush is durable compared to the competition and cleaned well during testing, with impressive scores in each metric. This budget brush is one of the least expensive in the group, and we think it will work for most needs and families. Alternatively, the OXO Tot Brush is only a couple of dollars more and earned the top scores for durability and cleanability. Its handle is longer, making it suitable for bottles of different sizes. It also earned a slightly higher score for eco-health, making it a good addition for most families regardless of their cleaning goals.
Bottle brushes should excel at quickly scrubbing away breastmilk, formula, or anything else you put in the container. While all tested products worked well enough, a few options have more effective designs that made the bottle-washing process significantly easier. To try each brush, we place used bottles on the counter and let them sit overnight, allowing any leftover milk to dry. We then use each bottle brush, in turn, to see which ones scrub away the dried milk with ease and which ones took some extra elbow grease.
We favor brushes with medium-stiff bristles and a larger brush head to clean a greater surface area. We also appreciate products with a nipple brush included or built-in to the handle. The OXO Tot fits the bill on both accounts and has even more ease-of-use features to boot. The Philips Avent Baby Bottle Brush is a simpler brush but is still an excellent scrubber that we like to use on lots of items in addition to bottles.
A Note on Overspray
Any brush with a head full of bristles will create some spray when you pull it out from a narrow-necked bottle. However, the Munchkin Bristle Brush had bristles so stiff that the overspray was ridiculous. We were splattered from the waist up with water and soapy bubbles, along with the walls, the countertop, and everything else in the vicinity. This issue did not lessen over time; we were forever scrunching up our noses and turning our heads to avoid the mess.
A few of the brushes we tested have flexible necks, like the Munchkin Bristle Brush. This feature dramatically improves ease of use by allowing the brush head to reach different angles within the bottle. Be careful not to get too confident in the flex; the necks of the bottles will break if you push too much.
Durability directly affects the value of your baby bottle brush and indirectly affects its cleaning ability. While it is best to replace your bottle brushes periodically to maintain good hygiene, certain qualities can potentially improve performance within this period.
For example, stiffer bristles like those found on the Munchkin Bristle Brush hold their shape longer than softer ones. Silicone brushes, like the Kitchiny Silicone Brush, hold up to hot water and sanitization much better than plastic and don't require frequent replacement. The OXO Tot Brush has a somewhat flexible plastic handle, but it also feels less durable during testing. Brushes with steel or wood handles are much sturdier than plastic versions that sometimes snap under pressure. The sponge scrubbers on the Dr. Brown's Soft Touch and Mama Bear are some of the least durable, and they start to tear off in chunks if repeatedly punched through small openings.
It can be a tricky task to find an eco-friendly baby bottle brush. The most popular options are almost entirely plastic; however, we included a few natural options like the Redecker Beechwood Brush in our testing as potential alternatives for those looking to limit their use of plastic. These two are the most eco-friendly and use all-natural materials. We like the system of the Boon Trip as its included drying rack eliminates the need to use paper towels when washing on the go.
Another option is to choose a long-lasting plastic brush, so you can potentially purchase fewer brushes throughout your bottle-washing years, producing less waste. If this sounds more appealing to you, we recommend the Munchkin Bristle Brush or the Philips Avent Baby Bottle Brush, which earned 8 out of 10 for durability.
A baby bottle brush is a simple tool that quickly becomes indispensable in the kitchen. It can make a world of difference when cleaning the odd shapes of bottles, sippy cups, and breast pump parts. Many people purchase their first bottle brushes for use with baby-related items but find them so handy that they continue to use them well past the bottle-feeding stage. In addition to cleaning bottles, bottle brushes are great for adult water bottles, travel mugs, vases, and more. We think that once you find the right brush, it is likely to become one of your most heavily used kitchen tools.
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BabyGearLab was founded by a Pediatrician Mom with a mission to provide a reliable, independent, source of information to new parents. Our experts have tested thousands of baby and kids products to share key performance, health, and safety findings. We spend tens of thousands of dollars crash testing car seats to inform our ratings. And, we combine our review work with gobs of expert parenting advice. To assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing by people who care.