Medical Devices

Cleaning a Breast Pump

This page provides general information about cleaning a breast pump. For specific information about cleaning your breast pump, check the pump’s instruction manual for the manufacturer-recommended method of cleaning.

Cleaning Breast Pump Parts

All breast pump parts that come in contact with breast milk, such as bottles, valves and breast shields, should be cleaned after each use. It is not possible to completely sterilize breast pump parts at home, even if you boil them. However, sterilization is not necessary to keep these parts safe and sanitary. You can do that by thoroughly washing away germs and bacteria with liquid dishwashing soap and warm water.

Some breast pumps parts can be put in the top rack of a dishwasher. Consult your instruction manual to make sure pieces are dishwasher safe before you put them in the dishwasher.

It is not necessary to clean breast pump tubing unless it comes in contact with breast milk. If you wash your tubing, make sure you hang it to air dry before attaching it to your breast pump. If small water drops (condensation) appear in the tubing after you have pumped, turn the pump on for a few minutes until the tubing is dry.

Microwave sterilizers are available for breast pump parts, but these sterilizers do not meet the FDA definition of sterilization. However, they will sanitize the parts, which is sufficient for processing between uses for a single user.

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Cleaning the Electrical Unit for a Powered Breast Pump

Electrical units, which hold the motor and batteries, should be wiped down with a clean paper towel or soft cloth after each use.

The electrical unit should never be put into water or other liquids for cleaning. It should also never be cleaned using a microwave sterilizer.

Some breast pump manufacturers make wipes just for cleaning breast pumps, which can make cleaning more convenient when you are away from home. Even if these wipes are used, breast pump parts that come into contact with breast milk should still be cleaned using liquid dishwashing soap and warm water before pumping.

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Basic Cleaning Method

  • Consult the instruction manual to determine which parts should be washed and the best method for removing parts that must be cleaned.
  • Rinse each piece that comes into contact with breast milk in cool water as soon as possible after pumping.
  • Wash each piece separately using liquid dishwashing soap and plenty of warm water.
  • Rinse each piece thoroughly with hot water for 10-15 seconds.
  • Place the pieces neatly on a clean paper towel or in a clean drying rack and allow them to air dry.
  • Avoid using cloth towels to dry your pump parts because they can carry germs and bacteria that are harmful to your breast milk and your baby.
  • Once the pump parts are dry, assemble the pump before you store it or use it.
  • Try not to touch the inside of any parts that will come in contact with your breast milk.

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Page Last Updated: 09/04/2013
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