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How To Sterilize Baby Bottles (Glass & Plastic): 7 Top Methods

how to sterilize baby bottles

Today I want to teach you something important—how to sterilize baby bottles.

I’ve seen many moms asking this question on various forums out there and getting not so helpful advice. I’ve also come across many posts that don’t explain how to do it the right way.

So, I’ve done in-depth research on how to sterilize baby’s bottles.

And together with my personal experience with sterling baby bottles, I was able to compile for you the 7 most effective baby bottles sterilization techniques.

Below, we’ll dig into more details on how exactly you should sterilize your baby bottles.


Is It Really Necessary To Sterilize Baby Bottles?

Yes! Tt’s important to understand that sterilizing your baby feeding bottles is a necessary ritual for ALL parents.


The Answer:

Simply put, not cleaning the bottles can lead to germs, bacteria accumulation on them. And given that your baby’s immune system is still developing (or isn’t yet strong enough to fight these germs), feeding them with unsterilized bottles will result in illness or worse. (Source)

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve plastic, silicone, or glass bottles, keeping them clean and free from germs should be your top priority.

As you’ll discover below, the sterilization process is as easy as ABC and won’t even take much of your time.

Let’s look at the step by step process of sterilizing your baby bottles (plus the 7 Best methods on how to sterilize baby bottles)…


How To Sterilize Baby Bottles (The 7 Top Methods):

First things first…

Before you can even think of sterilizing your baby bottles, make sure they’re thoroughly cleaned. Personally, I wash my baby bottles after every use.

If you don’t clean them, they’ll promote a favorable breeding environment for bacteria, fungi, parasites,etc., which will then attack your baby’s underdeveloped immune system.

Here’s my personal method for washing my baby bottles before sterilizing them:

  • Separate all the parts of the bottle (teats, rings, valves, leads) and rinse them in hot running water so as to remove any remaining milk particles. Avoid putting them in the sink afterward.
  • Then fill a clean basin (I’ve got a container set aside for cleaning baby bottles to avoid cross-contamination) with hot water and soap
  • Thoroughly scrub all the bottles parts using a bottle brush (again, you should have a special brush set aside for the baby bottles), including the area around the bottleneck and inside the nipples.
  • Rinse the bottle parts with running water
  • Finally, air dry them by placing them on a clean dishcloth.


You can also clean them using a dishwasher (ONLY if the manufacturer states that your bottles are dishwasher safe).

Follow these steps to clean your bottles in a dishwasher:

  • Assuming you’ve separated all your baby bottle parts, rinse them under clean running water to remove remaining milk particles
  • Put all the bottle parts into a dishwasher-safe basket. This will ensure they don’t fall at the bottom of your dishwasher
  • If possible, set your dishwasher to the hottest water setting & heated cycle for effective cleaning/sterilization of your baby bottles. You can also select the sanitize setting.
  • When done, remove all the parts from the dishwasher

Having thoroughly cleaned your baby bottles and air dried them, we can now go ahead and start sterilizing them as explained below…


1. Sterilizing baby bottles in microwave:

How To Sterilize Baby BottlesYes, you heard that well. Your microwave steaming power can be a great way for killing the germs and bacteria harboring on your baby pots.

Using a microwave to sanitize baby bottles is also quite easy as outlined below:

  1.  make sure your microwave is totally clean
  2. fill all your bottles with water, up to half level
  3. microwave them on High setting for 1-2 minutes
  4. put on your oven mitts and get out the bottles, drain the remaining water and leave them to air dry
  • You can also use the microwave baby bottle sterilizer for the task. This is a large container specially designed to fit your baby bottles for easier and more effective ‘cleansing’ in your microwave

To use the microwave sterilizer:

  • add water to the container with the bottles and parts inside
  • toss the container in your microwave and put it on
  • the microwave will then beep at you to collect your 100% cleansed bottles.


2. Sterilizing baby bottles with electric steamer:

An electric steamer uses the same steaming approach as the microwave to sanitize baby bottles.

The reason I strongly recommend steam sterilization to all parents is that it achieves way higher temperatures compared to boiling water, thereby killing more germs and bacteria.

Now, using electric streamer is also quite fast and straightforward.

You just need to plug in the appliance and let it do the rest of the job.

The manufacturer will include full operation instruction on your steamer which you can follow to sterilize all your baby bottles.

Note that you can also use this method to sanitizer other baby items such as toys, teething rings, to name but a few.


3. Sterilizing baby bottles with UV sterilizer:

Sterilizing baby bottles with UV sterilizerAs you can easily guess, this method involves using the power of ultraviolet (UV) light to eliminate all the bacteria, germs, mold, and viruses on your baby bottles.

Using a UV sterilizer is as simple as placing your separate bottle parts into it and pressing the start button.

Follow the user instructions on how to correctly operate the specific sterilizer you’ve invested in.

One more thing about UV sterilizers…most of these devices come with a lightweight, portable design and do their job in under 3 minutes. For this reason, they also make one of the best options for sterilizes when far from home.


4. Sterilizing baby bottles in a dishwasher:

Sterilizing baby bottles in a dishwasherWe’ve already explained how to sterilize baby bottles your baby bottles with a dishwasher in Step One.

if you prefer learning by visuals, you can also watch the quick video below explaining how to clean and sterilize baby bottles with your dishwasher.


5. Sterilizing baby bottles using boiling water:

Sterilizing baby bottles using boiling waterHere, you just need water a large, clean pot to sanitize your bottles. Follow the directions below:

  • Fill the pot with water to a level that will cover all your bottles and their parts
  • Submerge the bottles cleaned in step one into the pot. Consider placing them upside down and ensure no air bubbles get trapped at the bottom
  • Boil the water
  • Boil your bottles for up to 5 minutes. You might also want to check the manufacturer specifications for the correct boiling duration
  • Turn off the heat and use a pair of tongs to get the bottles and parts outside the pot
  • Place them on a clean dishcloth or drying rack and let them air dry.

NOTE: This method works for plastic bottles as well. Remember to keep checking the nipples during the boiling process to ensure they don’t get damaged in the process.


6. Sterilizing baby bottles by bleaching:

Sterilizing baby bottles by bleachingUsing bleach to sanitize baby bottles? Yes, it also works wonders. This method will be convenient for moms who don’t have access to a dishwasher, microwave, electric steamer, or boiling water.

This is how the method works:

  • mix a teaspoon of bleach (100% unscented) with up to 16 cups of hot water to make a solution
  • submerge all your bottle, including the separate parts, and ensure no air bubbles get trapped at the bottom part of the bottles
  • let them remain soaked for up to 5 minutes
  • remove them using clean tongs
  • finally, place the bottles on a clean dish towel and allow them to air dry

7. Sterilize baby bottles using sterilizing tablets:

How To Sterilize Baby Bottles I came across a question where a mom was asking “how to sterilize baby bottles in hotel.”

Then it came to my attention that sometimes you might want to sterilize your bottles, but you’re far from home and don’t have access to any of the above methods we’ve mentioned above.

Have you ever found yourself in such a tricky situation?

If yes, using sterilizing tablets would be the best option for you. You can easily find these tablets at the online stores (go for the food-grade, chlorine-based tablets) as they have a reputation for thoroughly destroying all the microbes present on your baby bottles.

Here’s how to use sterilizing tablets:

  • Place your bottles in a clean container with cold tap water. Make sure you fully submerge them, and no air bubbles are trapped
  • Add your sanitizing solutions (the package come with instructions on how to do this)

Important: use a food-grade container as other containers might easily contaminate the sterilizing solution and make the whole process unsafe


How Often To Sterilize Baby Bottles?

Sterilizing baby bottles isn’t something you need to do every morning you wake up or after every use.

Just cleaning them with soapy water and air drying them after every use is enough.

You can set a day every week to do the sterilizations process.

However, there are some instances in which you shouldn’t wait for one week to sterilize the bottles. For instance, if your baby falls sick, you should consider cleansing the bottles with every use.

Also, if you’re using a brand new bottle for the first time or you can see a buildup of grime around the bottle, immediate sterilization is necessary.

All in all, I believe that how often to sterilize baby bottles is a decision that should be based on your personal preferences as well as you baby feeding patterns.


When To Stop Sterilizing Baby Bottles

If you’re wondering when to stop sterilizing baby bottles, this is your part.

Generally, most people would advise you to stop when your body’s immune system becomes strong. That should be around 3-4 months of age.

However, I think that it’s best to continue sterilizing your little one’s bottles until they’re one.

See, most babies are highly vulnerable to diseases during the first year. More so, you can’t just assume that your baby’s immune can tolerate germs and bacteria at age 3-4 months. This is based on the fact that the immune system strength can vary from baby to baby.

Don’t take any risks; continue sterilizing your baby bottles as long as you feel it’s necessary!


When To Replace Baby Bottles and Nipples

Baby bottles don’t last forever, even if you the best baby bottles on the market today. After serving you for a certain period of time, the bottle itself (or its parts) might get damaged or break down.

If you notice any signs of damages in your baby bottles, then I suggest that you replace them ASAP! Some of the common signs include cracking, breaking, and chipping. Splitting, strong odors and warping in plastic bottles mean it’s time to replace them with new ones.

As for the nipples, you should replace them immediately you notice the following—sticky texture, discoloration, cracking/tears, thinning, swelling, and the milk rushing out.


How To Store Sterilized Baby Bottles

After sterilization, allow you baby bottles to air dry thoroughly to prevent bacteria and germs from growing.

When the bottles have dried out, you can then reassemble them and store them in Clean, and Protected area where they can’t get easily contaminated.  A closed kitchen where you keep your clean dished can be an ideal place to store the bottles. (Source)

WARNING: You should wash your hands thoroughly using soap and water before reassembling and storing them to avoid contaminating them.


Extra tips for sterilizing your baby bottles:

  • ALL brand new baby bottles should be thoroughly sterilized before the first use.
  • How to sterilize glass bottles: unlike what most moms tend to believe, sterilizing baby glass bottles isn’t different from the plastic ones, so you can use any of the 7 methods we’ve discussed in this post.
  • If a cold or flu has recently attacked your baby had, you should also make a point of disinfecting your baby bottles to kill all the bacteria and microbes hiding inside and outside them.


How To Sterilize Baby Bottles- The Bottom Line

That’s all you need on how to sterilize baby bottles. As you can see from our discussion above, the cleaning and sanitization process is quite simple and straightforward—even for first-time moms.

Remember that the primary purpose of cleaning and sanitizing your baby bottles is to help kill all the bacteria and germs that tend to reside on and inside the bottles. If left sanitized, these bacteria can easily attack the highly vulnerable, undeveloped immune system of your baby.

Just make a habit of sanitizing your baby bottles using the methods I’ve recommended to you above, and your baby will be safe.

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Olivia Lauren

Hey there, My name is Olivia Lauren, a mother of 2 daughters. When not parenting, you’ll find me here sharing mommy Tips, Tricks, and Hacks.

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