How to Sterilize Bottles

Whether you are expressing milk to feed your baby or you have chosen to bottle feed with formula milk, hygiene is an essential part of the feeding routine. To prevent illness in your baby it is vital that bottles, teats, breast pumps, dummies and any other feeding equipment are thoroughly washed and then sterilized. Parents have a number of different options when it comes to sterilizing bottles. Here is an overview of some of the different sterilizing products you can choose and how to sterilize bottles and feeding equipment in them.

Cold water sterilizers

These are generally the cheapest option. This type of sterilizer must be filled with cold water and you then add either sterilizing fluid or a sterilizing tablet to the water. All bottles must be thoroughly washed before you put them in the sterilizer and then fully immersed in the water so that the bottles are completely covered and there are no air bubbles resting inside the bottles. Bottles should be left in the sterilizing unit for 30 minutes before they are ready to use and then rinsed in cooled, boiled water to remove the unpleasant taste of the sterilizing fluid or tablets. You can use the same water for up to 24 hours as many times as is necessary.

Microwave sterilizing units

These require no sterilizing fluids or tablets. Bacteria is killed by the steam produced when in the microwave. Units vary but usually require three to eight minutes in the microwave to sterilize the bottles. Generally, there is a marker within the unit that will guide you as to the amount of water you need to use although individual models vary. If the lid of the unit is kept closed then bottles will remain sterile for 24 hours. Some microwave sterilizers can also be used as a cold water sterilizer. It is important to remember that you cannot sterilize any metal items in a microwave. These will require separate sterilization

Electric steam sterilizers

Like a microwave sterilizer, these require no sterilizing fluids or tablets and work by producing steam that kills the bacteria. Different models require different amounts of water, but full instructions should come with the unit. Bottles must be washed prior to them being put in the sterilizing unit and then you simply plug the sterilizer into a wall socket for the duration of the sterilization process. The time this takes varies, but is usually between six and 15 minutes. 

Regardless of the type of sterilizer you choose to use it will be necessary to wash the bottles thoroughly before adding them to the sterilizing unit. Only a cold water sterilizer requires a tablet or sterilizing fluid as electric and microwave options use steam to kill bacteria. Each type of unit has their pros and cons and which you prefer is an individual preference. Sterilizers are simple to use and the best way to ensure that all your bottles and feeding equipment are thoroughly cleaned and are safe and hygienic for your baby.