It's nearly impossible to answer with any accuracy because it totally depends on the user and many factors such as automatic dishwashers, lubricants, frequent sterilization, storing in the refrigerator between cleanings, and frequency of actual use. The hard plastic flanges are less susceptible to these factors and generally last a bit longer, but again it's really up to the individual user.
The best advice we can give to increase the longevity of our PumpinPal flanges is to thoroughly clean the flanges using warm water and good liquid dish soap, like Dawn Ultra (original with yellow ducks on the label). Just wipe them dry in between uses, until you are able to thoroughly clean them (human milk is highly resistant to bacterial growth). Please know that simply wiping down the flanges after is usage is not the ideal method. This is recommended for those who do not have access to a sink or the ability to safely clean the flanges appropriately. Though it is ideal to clean the flanges after each usage and this is the recommendation of the CDC, we understand that may not be always possible based on the environment in which you are pumping and many other factors.
The flanges (both hard plastic and silicone) should be crystal clear prior to each use. The silicone flanges should have a “tacky” feel when dry. If the flange feels slick, there is still a film on the surface, which can come from detergents that have an anti-spotting ingredient that bonds to silicone. That may not be an issue if you're NOT using the silicone flanges to control elasticity and you're using lubrication during pumping. But if you're using silicone flanges to control elasticity, it's especially important to use a soap that doesn't leave this film. See here for a full list of known soaps to avoid.
Reviewed by Jenn Foster, MS, IBCLC, CD
February 8, 2022