5 Things You Should Know About Your Child’s Sippy Cup

How to clean it, when to toss it out, and what to look for when buying one.

Photo by Sam Diephuis/Getty Images

Sippy cups are a staple in any young family’s house, but with recent reports of mold found in Tommee Tippee cups, most parents are probably worried about how dangerous these everyday items are. A few months ago, a parent from Montreal was wondering why his son was sick all the time and discovered that the anti-leak attachment to his child’s Tommee Tippee sippy cup contained mold inside, which was found only after he broke open the piece. According to Buzzfeed, after his friend shared the findings on her Facebook page, many parents reported the same issue, and all noted the cups were thoroughly washed by hand or in the dishwasher. The company originally offered free see-through valves or a new, different style cup as a replacement.

Now, the CPSC has recalled 3.1 million sippy cups from Tommee Tippee: the First Sips Transition cup, Trainer Sippee cup, Sippe cup (including Cute Quips), Sportee bottle, and Insulated Swiggle/Sippee tumblers. If you have own these types of cups, immediately stop using them and contact Mayborn USA, the parent company, to receive a replacement cup. For more information, go to cpsc.gov.

Even if you don’t have these particular sippy cups, you might be second-guessing how you clean yours. We asked Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson, Angela Lemond, RDN, CSP, LD, for her advice on the best way to clean and care for sippy cups—here are her best tips:

  1. Use a Brush to Clean
    Drop the sponge and designate a bottle brush for all cleanings. “I recommend using a clean, bottle brush just like you would use with baby bottles,” Lemond says. “Avoid using a random brush you use for all dishes.”
  2. Wash Them by Hand
    And yes, you’ll need to wash after each use. “Hand washing in hot, soapy water with a bottle brush allows better access to the nooks and crannies of a zippy cup top, so that is typically the best way,” she says. “Every so often, depending on the frequency of use, sanitize the tops in boiling water for two minutes.” But if you’re using the dishwasher, Lemond suggests using the sanitize cycle and heat drying option, which will help eliminate lurking bacteria from all plastic and glass containers.
  3. Separate and Clean
    If your sippy cup has a lot of parts, don’t try to save time by cleaning just the top and the bottom without taking out the attachments. “It’s important to separate all parts of the zippy cup because bacteria can grow in even the smallest area when the liquid dries there,” she says.
  4. Be Aware of These Types of Cups
    If you’re using disposable sippy cups, you shouldn’t reuse them as they’re not made for repeated use. “I would avoid zippy cups with plastic straws,” Lemond says. “Straws are very hard to clean and they are a common breeding ground for bacteria.”
  5. Replace Regularly
    Toss out any cups that have deep scratches, since bacteria can grow within the grooves. “It depends on how often they are used, but daily sippy cups should be replaced every month or two max,” she says. “Kids are typically pretty hard on them and to avoid deep scratches in that amount of time is nothing short of a miracle.”