How to Sterilize Baby Bottles

How to Clean Baby Bottles

Since most American families have clean and abundant water supplies available to them, many experts believe that it is unnecessary to sterilize baby bottles. Many parents will sterilize a bottle prior to the first use and then simply wash with soap and water for every subsequent feeding.

In other other cases, parents and experts will say that it is important to sterilize baby bottles because it takes so little time and is an extra safeguard for your little one. Their argument is that anything extra you can do to protect a baby from germs and potential diseases, you should do it. If there is the potential to protect your child from the threat of disease and germs with a simple and quick process that cannot hurt your child’s health, then it seems like a no-brainer. It definitely seems worth the time and worth the effort if it will protect your child.

In this article, we will assume that you want to learn more about sterilizing and that you agree that an extra step to protecting your baby is worthwhile. We will discuss the different methods used and how to make it happen even on a busy schedule. It only takes a few minutes to sterilize baby bottles, so why not make it a part of your routine.

How to Sterilize

The sterilizing process is fairly simple. The idea is that you heat water to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, or the boiling temperature of water, and then you let the heat kill germs and micro organisms in the bottle in a way that simply scrubbing it with soap cannot. In fact, many people simply boil water on the stove, put the bottle and all of its parts in, let it sit for 3-5 minutes and then remove it. It really is that simple to sterilize baby bottles, and it is extremely effective in killing germs.

While that is the process of sterilizing bottles with boiling water, there are other ways that sterilization can be reached. Many dishwashers have a “sterilizing” function, there are bottle sterilizers on the market that you can purchase at any retail store, and you can also use the microwave if all else fails. In each instance, the process is simple and the only thing that really takes time is allowing the bottle to dry after it has been sterilized.

Boiling Water

This is the most common and the simplest sterilizing option. The previous section describes the process for sterilizing a bottle using boiling water, so this section will underscore how simple it really is. If you have a pot and a stove, you can make sure that your baby’s bottle is sterile and germ free. Even if you live in a place where clean water is scarce, the boiling process actually cleans your water prior to sterilizing your bottle, so you really get the best of both worlds.

Bottle Sterilizers

There are many bottle sterilizers on the market today, and any of them will achieve your desired results. Some sterilizers simply give you a mechanism to use your microwave while others are self-contained sterilizing machines. These machines make it even easier to sterilize baby bottles. In fact, there are a few sterilizers on the market that also have a drying function so that in about an hour you can have sterile and dry bottles that are ready to be used again. If you are going to spend money on a bottle sterilizer, buying one that can dry would be a smart investment.

The Microwave

In today’s world, you can use a microwave for almost anything. Popcorn, baked potatoes, hot tea, heating up a meal, and now to sterilize baby bottles. You do not just stick a bottle in the microwave and push start, it is slightly more complicated than that. There are some bottles on the market that are designed to be sterilized in the microwave and when you take them apart you can arrange them in such a way that you can fill the bottom up with water and sterilize the rest of the bottle on top of that.

For most other microwave sterilizing processes, you need to purchase microwave bags or a sterilizer built for the microwave. A microwave can heat water up enough to sterilize baby bottles in about 2 minutes, and usually 3 minutes in the microwave will produce a sterile bottle.

The Dishwasher

Most dishwashers today have a “high heat” wash function and some even have a “sterilizing” temperature. The high heat on most dishwashers will raise the temperature of the water to about 160 degrees while the sanitizing function will take it even higher. Because of the length of the wash cycle and temperature of the water, a dishwasher can be the perfect place to clean and sanitize your baby’s bottle. Just check the buttons on your dishwasher to make sure those options are available at your home.

How Often Should I Sterilize?

If you are going to sterilize your bottles, you should do it after each feeding. Many people will say just sterilize it before the first use and then again if you ever feed your baby in a less clean environment, but periodic sterilizing does not do much.

With today’s technology and numerous options of baby bottles, if you have electricity and clean water, you can sterilize baby bottles. Even if you are visiting another country, camping, or spending time in a hotel, just plug a sterilizer in and you are ready to go. It is so easy to sterilize your bottles now that you should attempt to do so every day.

Your Environment

The frequency with which you sterilize baby bottles also is affected by your environment. If you are in a less clean, outdoor, or medical environment, more consistent sterilizing is even more important. Especially if you find yourself in a third world country, cruise ship, or a city experiencing water sanitation issues, these sterilizing tips will come in handy.

Your Schedule

For some people, consistent sterilizing will be easier than for others. If you and your baby have a steady routine where you know when and where they will eat almost every night, then consistent sterilizing should not be a problem. If you have a job with crazy hours, older children, or your life is just a little crazier in general, you will have to work on making time to sterilize baby bottles. Whatever the case may be, if you believe that this is an important aspect of your baby’s overall health, then you will find the time to sterilize baby bottles.

Conclusion

Is it overkill to sterilize baby bottles? Some people say yes. After all, almost everyone has access to clean water, can feed their baby in a sterile and clean environment, and will take the time to scrub the bottle with soap after each use. On the other hand, it just does not take that much time to sterilize baby bottles. With today’s technology in microwaves, dishwashers, stove tops, and even stand alone bottle sterilizers, it is easy to make this a part of your routine. The question you have to ask yourself is, “is it worth it?”