Until your baby is a year old, he or she is very susceptible to infections. In the first few months of your baby’s life, it is important to sterilize anything that will be going into your baby’s mouth. This includes bottles, nipples, pacifiers, and even teething toys. Using items that aren’t sterile can expose your baby to yeast infections, bacteria, viruses, and parasites. This is a common cause of baby’s coming down with episodes of diarrhea and vomiting. While you can’t make the world your baby lives in completely free from germs, you can greatly reduce the risk of illness. This article will help you understand how to sterilize bottles and keep things clean.

How to Sterilize Baby Bottles


Before you sterilize your baby’s bottles, keep these few important points in mind:

  • Make sure you are using “BPA Free” bottles. BPA can turn toxic when hot and can go into the formula your baby is drinking. Only buy glass or BPA free plastic when choosing baby bottles.

  • Sterilize new baby bottles before using the first time. When you buy new baby bottles, sterilize them before you use them to feed your baby.

Here are the instructions on how to sterilize bottles:


Boiling method

Gather your supplies including pot and lid, bottles, nipples, and any other baby equipment that will touch baby’s mouth.

1. Wash all items with hot soapy water and rinse.

2. Arrange items on the bottom of the pot and cover with water.

3. Make sure everything is immersed in the water.

4. Turn on the stove and boil for 5 minutes and then allow to cool.

5. Remove from pan and drain on a towel or drying rack.


Cold water method

Find a good quality sterilizing solution intended for eating utensils. Then it is safe to use plain tap water and the solution.

1. Wash the bottles with hot soapy water and rinse.

2. Place them in a deep bowl or pot and fill with water.

3. Put the sterilizing solution in with the bottles according to the product instructions.

4. Allow them to soak in the solution for the specified amount of time.

5. Rinse and drain on a towel or drying rack.


UV light method

Ultraviolet light has been used to purify water for a long time and can kill off germs. It’s also effective in sterilizing baby bottles. There are products that are made to sanitize nipples and pacifiers and other items that go in your baby’s mouth.

1. Wash and rinse baby items in hot soapy water and rinse.

2. Place in sterilizer.

3. Set to manufacturer’s instructions.

4. Allow to dry before putting away.


Electric steam method

Sterilizing with electric steam is a fast way when it comes to how to sterilize bottles. Using specially designed electric bottle sterilizer, it only takes around 8 to 12 minutes of your time. You can load up to 6 bottles, all your nipples, and pacifiers.

1. Wash your items with hot soapy water and rinse well.

2. Place all items in the sterilizer downward to sterilize the entire inside.

3. Turn the unit on and sterilize according to manufacturer’s directions.

4. When finished, you can leave items in the unit as long as the lid is on.


Microwave method

Sterilizing items in the microwave is very easy and fast. Only 90 seconds of your time. Just make sure you place all of your bottles inside the microwave opened up so they don’t burst. Microwaving to sterilize means there will be no funny taste or smell when your bottles are done. If you keep the lid on the unit, you can keep the bottles inside for up to 3 hours.

1. Clean all the bottles, nipples, and rings with hot soapy water and rinse.

2. Place all items open in the microwave and snap the lid on.

3. Place in microwave and run for 1 minute and 30 seconds.

4. Use hot pads when removing from microwave and allow to cool before opening lid to prevent burns.

What to Do After Sterilization

Now that you know how to sterilize bottles, here are some tips on what to do after sterilization. If you keep your sterilizer closed, you can keep your bottles inside until you are ready to feed your baby that day. Here are some tips to keep your bottles sterile until you’re ready to use them:

Clean your kitchen area

Before you open your sterilizer, clean all the kitchen surfaces where you will be preparing bottles. Wash your hands before you open the sterilizer.


Use tongs

To prevent germs getting on your bottles and avoid burns, use a pair of sterile tongs to grab the items from the sterilizer. Lay the items on a clean towel while you prepare your formula.


Find a clean area to store sterile bottles

If you don’t use all of your sterile items that same day, have a clean place to store the sterilized bottles to use the next day. You can make a clean place in a cabinet where nothing else goes and make sure you place a clean towel on the shelf where you put the items.


After the first sterilization, dishwashers are fine

You can sterilize your baby bottles, nipples and rings before the first use. After that, if you have a dishwasher, you can just place the bottles in the dishwasher. If you washer has hot sanitizing rinse cycles, it will be enough to kill off germs. Just make sure to pre-rinse any formula out of your bottles before loading into the dishwasher. If you use heated drying, put your bottles on the top rack to prevent melting. You can pick up a basket for nipples and rings at stores that sell baby items. Repeat the sterilization practice once a week if you baby is sick or that you notice a visible build-up of germs.


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