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How to sterilise: The basics

From caring for a baby’s immune system to protecting against germs and viruses; use our go-to guide for how to sterilise most used items around your home.

Updated

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From seasonal flu and colds to more serious virus outbreaks and pandemics there are a number of reasons why you may want to know how to disinfect and sterilise important items in and around your home. With our comprehensive go-to guide we will explain the basic answers to questions such as, how do you sterilise a thermometer? As well as looking at baby bottles and other regularly used items in your home.

How to sterilise everyday items around your home: A comprehensive guide

There are so many items around your home you probably want to be able to clean, disinfect and sterilise, so read on for our top tips, advice and step-by-step guides for how to sterilise some most used items.

How to sterilise without a steriliser: Sterilising other everyday household items

If you’re wondering how to sterilise a needle at home or other smaller items, such as scissors and tweezers, we’ve got you covered.

How to sterilise tweezers, scissors and more: What you’ll need

  • A small saucepan

  • Fresh, clean water

  • Soap

How to sterilise scissors, tweezers and other small household items

  1. Wash your hands.

  2. Wash your items using soap and water. We recommend doing this with the plug in, to prevent any small items such as needles, being dropped down the drain.

  3. Follow these steps to sterilise your items now that they’re clean:

  • Fill a small pan with clean water. You only need to have it around half full.

  • Place your small items such as scissors or tweezers into the water in the saucepan.

  • Bring the pan of water to a boil.

  • Leave to boil for 15 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat. Ensure you place it safely on a heatproof countertop or board and turn off your hob. Keep the saucepan out of the reach of children and allow it to cool.

  • Once cool, remove your items.

Other small items in your home, such as jewellery, may also be on your mind. For this, we have created a guide to help you clean and sterilise earrings!

How to clean a thermometer: A step-by-step guide

Knowing how to disinfect a thermometer is important, especially if you have an oral one. The last thing you need is for bacteria to be passed around your family as you check their temperature. Read on for our guide on how to clean a thermometer after use to ensure it is safe for the next user.

How to sterilise a thermometer: What you’ll need

  • Anti-bacterial wipes

  • Cotton buds

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Soft cloth

How do you clean a thermometer?

  1. If you want to know how to clean a digital thermometer, the easiest way is to use an anti-bacterial wipe.

  2. Alternatively, you could use a soft cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol.

  3. Use a cotton bud soaked in rubbing alcohol to clean and sanitise any hard to reach areas such as small crevices.

  4. The most important step in understanding how to clean oral thermometer is to ensure that it’s rinsed off after.

  5. Avoid getting any digital displays saturated as this could cause them not to work properly. If you wish to clean them, wipe them down with a soft, damp cloth.

  6. Allow it to fully air-dry before putting it away.

Now you know how to sanitise a thermometer why not check out our guide to flu prevention, to help you keep those temperatures at bay.

How to sterilise plastic containers

There are a few easy steps to ensure that you have clean, sterilised plastic containers ready to store leftovers and more.

Sterilising plastic: What you’ll need

  • A bucket or large washing-up bowl

  • Washing-up liquid

  • Hot water

  • Bleach

How to sterilise your plastic containers

  1. Wash your hands before you begin.

  2. Wash out the container using washing-up liquid and hot water. This stage will help to remove most surface bacteria.

  3. Heat is another great way to sterilise your container. You can use a hot dishwasher rinse or pop it inside a microwave on high for 2 minutes.

  4. For deeper sterilisation, we recommend soaking your plastic container.

  • Mix a solution of 9-parts warm water and 1-part bleach.

  • Leave the container to soak for 5-10 minutes.

  • Rinse off thoroughly.

Plastic containers aren’t the only ones you may wish to clean and sterilise. For more advice, check out our guide for how to sterilise glass bottles for home brewing.

You don’t need a steriliser to reap the benefits of sterilisation. Simply bring a pan of water to the boil and use the hot water for its sterilising effects.

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How to sterilise baby bottles

There are some important things you need to think about when sterilising baby bottles:

  1. There are a number of ways you can sterilise baby bottles, but the most common options are:

    Use a microwave steriliser, an electric steriliser or sterilise through boiling.

  2. If you have a specialist product, it will come with instructions for how to use the steriliser.

    Be sure to read them and follow the instructions accordingly.

  3. Have we now got you wondering how long to boil to sterilise?

    Placing a bottle in boiling water for 10 minutes should be enough.

  4. Looking for more detailed step-by-step information?

    Check out our guide for how to sterilise baby bottles.

How to clean your bottle steriliser

Don’t forget, knowing how to use a bottle steriliser is only half the job. You also need to know how to clean your bottle steriliser. Here is our step-by-step guide:

  1. Get together these items:

    Sponge, clean, clean water, white vinegar.

  2. Start by emptying out your steriliser.

    Using a damp sponge, wipe out the interior of your steriliser.

  3. To descale your steriliser, we recommend using white vinegar.

    Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into your steriliser and leave to sit for between half an hour and 24 hours. The longer you leave it, the better the effect, so if the limescale is particularly bad make sure you leave it as long as possible. Once left for the required time, pour the excess liquid away.

  4. For an electric steriliser:

    Use a clean, damp cloth to ‘rinse’ off the vinegar by wiping it down. Now you can plug it back in and add water. Run a standard cycle to ensure all vinegar traces are rinsed off.

  5. For a microwave steriliser:

    Simply run it under the cold tap to rinse off the vinegar. After this is done you may want to give it a once over, using water and washing-up liquid to ensure all traces of vinegar are fully removed.

Has your cleaning regime changed during the Covid-19 lockdown?

With this comprehensive guide, you've now all the information you need to ensure you understand how to properly clean a thermometer, baby bottle, or another household item.

Originally published