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Cleaning expressing equipment

How to clean your pump parts and breastmilk containers

Cleaning pump parts

If you are expressing for a healthy, term baby, you don't need to disinfect or sterilise your own expressing equipment.   

The information on this page is for healthy, term babies and well mums only. If your baby is sick or premature, or if you have any type of infection on either of your breasts or nipples, follow the advice of your doctor or child health nurse about cleaning your equipment. 


What to clean and when

If you are expressing frequently, you will need to clean your equipment thoroughly at least once every 24 hours.

If you're only expressing once a day or less, clean your equipment after each use. 

Expressing equipment includes:  

  • the milk collection parts of your hand pump, electric pump or milk catcher

  • all containers used to collect or store your breastmilk. 

There’s no need to clean sterile single-use expressed breastmilk bags or new plastic bags.

If you’re using an electric breast pump, check the manufacturers guidelines for advice on cleaning the tubing. Many manufacturers only suggest cleaning the tubing if it is damp or soiled. 

Steps for cleaning

  1. Wash your hands well with soap and water. Dry them on something clean — a new paper towel or a clean, unused cloth towel. 

  1. Take apart all containers and the breast pump so that every part can be cleaned well. 

  1. First, rinse everything in cold water to remove milk from all the parts. If you live in an area where you have different water supplies for drinking and washing, use drinking water to rinse and wash pump equipment. 

  1. Wash all parts with a small amount of dishwashing liquid and hot water. Take care to remove all traces of grease, milk and dirt. Use a brush kept just for this purpose. 

  1. Rinse at least twice in hot water. 

  1. Drain bottles and containers upside-down on clean paper towel or a clean cloth towel. Cover while they air dry. Before putting away, ensure no water droplets remain in the containers or on any parts. If any water remains, dry carefully. 

  1. Store the dry kit in a clean, covered container or wrapped in a new plastic bag, plastic wrap or more paper towel until next use. 


Need to save time?

Cleaning expressing equipment takes time. If you are expressing several times a day, here are a few time-saving tips: 

  • There is no need to wash your equipment after every use if your baby is healthy and full term. Instead, you can store unrinsed expressing equipment in the fridge in a clean, closed container or plastic bag until next use.

No fridge?

  • Rinse your expressing equipment well in cold water after each use to remove most of the breastmilk. Then store it in a clean, closed container.
  • Have extra pump parts and containers on hand so you aren't always rinsing and washing between expressing sessions.

© Australian Breastfeeding Association March 2024

Read more about expressing and storing

Evidence-led info and practical tips from our Breastfeeding Information Series

Breastfeeding: expressing and storing breastmilk

expressing booklet