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Mold in nasal aspirator

Mold in nasal aspirator

You think that you are helping your baby when you clear out his/her stuffy little nose… but think again!

Last week when our baby was sick, I got out our nasal aspirator and when I squeezed it, I noticed a odor. I decided to see what was going on, and sure enough- our nasal aspirator was filled with mold! The worst part is that I had always cleaned them after each “sickness”. I would fill a bowl with HOT soapy water and suck the water into it and squeeze it back out. I thought this was helping, but I guess it wasn’t. When I checked another one that I had (that I hadn’t cleaned), it was the same way- filled with mold. Since you can’t dry the inside, it just becomes a mold breeding ground!

Our kids are already at risk for breathing problems. Each of our kids have use nebulizers on regular basis’ in their first few years and it is scary to think that I was just adding another ‘risk’ by using a mold-filled aspirator!

I read online that a good alternative is the NoseFrida nasal aspirator (also known as the snot sucker).

Do you have any other suggestions?  Add them to the comment below!


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Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Oh, my!!!! I hope hospitals don’t still use this, especially beyond 48 hours (which is how long the EPA says it takes mold to grow). I don’t have any suggestions, but I sure hope that people can find out about this. Thank you for the information!

  2. I was concerned about this too recently, after hearing about this through friends. When I told my husband about it, he pointed out that you suck IN with the bulb syringe, and you never blow into the baby’s nose with this device, so there’s no need to be concerned about blowing mold into the baby’s nose. And if we throw this out, we may as well throw out the rubber duckies too!

    1. I think throwing out anything with mold is a good idea. (Did you see my comment on plugging up your bath toys with a dab of hot glue to prevent water from getting into them?
      The air does, in fact, go into the baby’s airways because to suction you have to build up the negative pressure (outside of the baby’s nose), which, in turn, releases positive pressure when suctioning.
      (Check with your pediatrician for more info… we did. ) 🙂
      I hope this helped!

      1. I’m replying to “your modern family’s” last post about having to build up the negative pressure in order for the syringe to work correctly. While you are correct about that, I can’t help but assume you’re “building up the negative pressure” inside the babushka nose bc of your reply to “gabrielle’s” comment about never pushing air into the babys nose with the bulb.. I just wanted to correct you… you should NEVER ” build up the negative pressure inside the babushka nose! This should ALWAYS be done before the bulb ever even comes in contact w/ baby. In other words… you must first sanitize bulb, then squeeze out all air inside bulb, hold, and
        then insert into babys nostrils..which would greatly eliminate any danger of pushing anything from inside the bulb into babys air ways. Although I’m not sure after finding black mold inside, I would ever use again! They make bulbs you can take apart and clean! Good luck!:)

        1. Oh my – absolutely never inside of the baby’s nose!! 🙂 I will add that in there to be sure that everyone knows this! Thanks.

        2. Sounds far too complicated. Throw away the aspirators and just use saline drops or spray. It’s just a time wasting useless gimmick!

  3. Summer Infant makes an aspirator that you can take apart to clean – our son is at a high risk for asthma and has used a nebulizer like your children, so this article has made me NEVER want to use the regular ones again. I’m planning to order a Summer Infant one! Thank you – what a blessing to know this now, and the tip for bath toys was great, too!!

    1. Our 3 year old has asthma, too.
      I’m glad this helped- its shocking, isn’t it?

  4. I found that if I shine a flashlight on the bulb and look in the opening, I can see clearly inside of mine. My baby is 8 months old and it looks fine, but I use very hot (nearly boiling) water to clean it and I live in a very dry climate (25% humidity would be high around these parts.) I guess I’ve just been lucky!

  5. Just had to post regarding the moldy bulb aspirator. I gotta say that bc of that post, I was extremely worried about mine but didn’t want to tear it apart to check thereby rendering it useless especially bc the hospital grade ones work best. I’ve found an easy method is to place a flashlight on the fat end of the bulb syringe with the stream of light facing toward it and look inside from the hole in. The inside of the bulb syringe will be illuminated and you can see everything, the ribbing inside, even a small number 16, etc. Got the idea from when I used to place a flashlight on the outside of my cheek and see it illimunate the inside my mouth. Same concept. I’ve had bulb aspirator for 5 years and haven’t had a problem. You must cleanse with hot water to break down the mucous that gets inside bc they can be very viscous and slimy. Also make sure completely suck water inside, close the hole end and shake it to get a thorough cleaning. For me I never use soap, just hot water. I would think soap would be hard to rinse out and another agent for bacteria/mold to cling to if not properly cleaned out and suggest not using it. Our tap water is very hot, almost boiling bc we set our water heater above normal range. After thoroughly cleaning the bulb syringe, pump out all the water until you are pumping dry air. I even shake the syringe a few times after until I don’t feel any water droplets. Then allow to air dry. I’ve never had a problem as is testament by my flashlight test. The hospital ones are made to last, would hate for anyone to have to rip theirs open as they are nonreplaceble. I’ve bought others and they truly don’t have the same pumping action. Some like the nosefrida. I have been using a nosefrida also but I find it doesn’t get deep enough and I am very sick now possibly due to viral or bacterial transfer. They say the spongy filter blocks it but I don’t think it will prevent the airborne ones especially viruses. Snot is truly disgusting. Happy nose sucking.

  6. Do not wait to clean the aspirator. Do not let it sit. Clean immediately after use. If mucous dries inside, it is very hard to clean out especially once hardened. Clean and dry thoroughly and this won’t happen. Love the bulb. Baby hates it but it works. My hospital gives one for free when you have a baby. They are truly the best.

  7. The Nose – Frida is AAAAAAAMAZING!! a MUST HAVE for parents of little ones!!!

  8. You really shouldn’t need to use an aspirator anyway. The whole concept is ridiculous. I wish they were banned! Not only for the reasons you cited ie mould (a shocker for asthmatics kids too) but also all you’re doing is squirting saline up their nose and then drawing it out (unnaturally). Aspirators are dangerous too as some parents have damaged the lining of their kids noses. You can get saline drops or sprays Without the aspirator and all you have to do is simply wipe their nose after! Much gentler and more effective without the risks! Good luck and good that you’re letting other parents know.

  9. Improper cleaning of a nasal aspirators can become a real health risk. I have raisied 4 kids and am now deeply involved with my grandchildren. In my opinion, the safest bet is a cleanable baby nasal aspirator which comes apart. Personally I like the It’s eco-friendly, medical grade and cleans easily.

  10. Wow thankyou so much for this. I just noticed an odor last night when I used this on my 3 month old. That is scary and gross!!! I was going to do the same sock in hot soapy water. Our son has been doing breathing treatments the past week due to Bronchiolitis. He is at risk for asthma since my husband has asthma. I hope this isn’t what was making him sick too with other things he’s been going through since starting daycare.

  11. After seeing a post like this a few years ago I freaked out and cut mine open to see, I had been using the same one for a year (saved my infant son’s life when he began chocking and I used this to suction out his throat) here was ZERO mold in it.

  12. If you clean them mold and bacteria can’t grow. Pasteurization point is 165 degrees. 165 degree heat will kill any fungus, virus, or bacteria. Mold grows because of neglect because people are lazy. Hot soapy water, shake, rinse with hot water… Sterilize with bleach/chlorine… Rinse again with hot water. Store with nozzle side down in a cup to dry.

  13. To keep mold from growing it needs to be stored properly. Needs to be tip down in a cup so anything wet can drain out. If you clean it (or even in between when it hasn’t been cleaned) you can’t store it on it’s side or upside down. If you notice in the hospital, they always prop it up with the tip facing down to drain.