Whether you’re a parent or a babysitter, your first instinct will be to protect a newborn baby – especially when it comes to potentially harmful germs and bacteria. A baby’s immune system develops gradually over its first year of life, so it’s important to minimise any risk posed by ingested germs. This means keeping baby’s eating and drinking equipment as clean as possible, as well as dummies, breast-pumps, and medical items.
It’s a good idea to check out how to sterilise bottles and other baby equipment before your little one arrives, so you can make an informed choice about which method you’ll use and what supplies you may need to buy. We’ve put together a helpful guide to the techniques below, so that you’re prepared for sterilising baby bottles as early as you decide to use them.
Before sterilising bottles and other baby equipment, be sure to:
- Check the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Wash the items in hot soapy water and then rinse them with cold water.
- Clean the items before any residue has had time to dry.
- Use a bottle brush with gentle bristles to clean difficult-to-reach areas.
Most bottle sterilising machines use steam to kill germs. There are many different types of microwaveable baby bottle sterilisers too. Both types of steamer are incredibly easy to use and will sterilise multiple bottles at one time. According to the manufacturer’s instructions, simply:
- Fill the water reservoir with the suggested amount of water.
- Place the bottles in the rack, as instructed, and close the lid, making sure it is completely closed so that no steam escapes.
- Plug in the machine, or put it into the microwave for the required amount of time.
- Allow the bottles to cool, before removing for use (they will stay sterile for up to 6 hours if you do not open the steamer lid).
This is a more traditional method for sterilising baby equipment. It requires nothing more than a hob and a deep saucepan full of water:
- Place the item into the pan, making sure all parts are underwater and air-free.
- Place a plate on top of the pan to make sure the item doesn’t bob to the surface of the water.
- Boil the water for 10 minutes.
- Allow the items to cool (they stay sterile for up to 6 hours if you do not remove the plate from the pan).
With this method, you get to cut out the washing step, though you might find debris remains in some of the hard-to-reach areas – you may then need to wash the items a second time.
- Check the items are dishwasher-safe.
- Consider buying a bottle rack to keep small part from flipping over in the wash.
- Place the items on the top shelf of the dishwasher.
- Choose a temperature wash of over 80 degrees.
- Once the wash has finished, check cleanliness and repeat process if necessary.
Cold-water & Sterilising Solution
This method is the most portable, and therefore ideal if you’re travelling for any reason. The sterilising solution can be reused for up to 24 hours – remember to follow the instructions carefully!
- Fill a clean container with cold water.
- Add a sterilising tablet or powder (available from your local supermarket or baby store).
- Entirely submerge the items in the water for 30 minutes.
- Remove and treat as sterile.