How to Sterilize Baby Bottles

How to Sterilize Baby Bottles

July 12, 2019

Feeding is a big part of caring for your little one — and whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding, it’s likely that bottles are playing some role in nourishing your baby. If you’ve ever opened the packaging of a new bottle, you’ve likely found a booklet of instructions wedged inside with lots of information. And then baby screams and you forget to read through it. Have no fear: we’ve consolidated all you need to know about sterilizing your bottle right here.

How To Sterilize Baby Bottles

While there are several different ways to sterilize baby bottles, we recommend going with the old-fashioned method of boiling them in a pot of water on the stove.

1. Place your bottles in a clean pot and cover them completely with water. (Be sure there are no air bubbles inside the bottles.)
2. Bring the water to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.
3. Use tongs to remove bottles from the water.
4. Place bottles on a clean, dry dish towel to air dry.

This method is the easiest and most affordable option as it requires no extraneous equipment. It can be used for glass, plastic, or silicon bottles.

It’s also possible to sterilize bottles using a baby bottle sterilizer. These are specific appliances you can purchase that offer another easy sanitizing option. However, they do require an extra investment as well as space on your kitchen counter.

Steam bags are another sterilizing option and are compact, affordable, and easy to use. Just place the bottle parts and water in the bag, pop it in the microwave, and you’re good to go.

How Often To Sterilize Baby Bottles

Up until the age of 3 months, babies’ immune systems are pretty sensitive so you’ll want to sterilize bottles in some capacity at least that long. Just how often you sterilize is up to you. We always recommend sterilization before using a bottle part for the first time. After that, consider the quality of water you have in your home. If your water is good quality, municipal water, you don’t actually need to sterilize bottle parts very often.

The Center for Disease Control says that if you use hot water with a heated dry cycle on your dishwasher, that will usually be enough to sterilize the bottle parts. Otherwise, you can sterilize at least once a day for babies under 3 months of age. This may also apply for older babies with a weakened immune system or who were born prematurely. Do you need to sterilize baby bottles after that? Probably not — but again, it depends on your situation and what you feel is best for your little one.

How to Clean Baby Bottles

Whether you choose to sterilize your baby’s bottle parts or not, it’s very important to thoroughly clean each one. You can simply use hot water and soap to wash baby bottles (ideally organic soap). As for how to wash baby bottles, either by hand or in the dishwasher is fine. If you’re handwashing your bottle parts, use a separate dish brush from what you use to wash everything else. And if you use a dishwasher, rinse all parts by hand first to remove any milk particles. Regardless of which option you choose, be sure to take apart each piece of the bottle to get it as clean as possible.


There may be moments you feel like you can’t wash one more bottle as you stand at your kitchen sink washing your eighth bottle of the day. But hopefully your baby’s smile is worth it all. And just remind yourself, they won’t be drinking from bottles forever! Feel free to share any bottle sterilizing tips in the comments below.

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