How to Sterilize Baby Bottles

Whether you’re using breast milk or formula to feed your baby, knowing how to sterilize baby bottles is an important skill to keep your baby safe from harmful germs. Let’s run through the facts on sterilizing baby bottles, and how to do it right every time.

Do I need to clean and sterilize baby bottles?


You definitely need to clean every part of a baby bottle with hot, soapy water after every use to prevent the growth of harmful germs. You can do this by hand, or use a dishwashing machine if you have one. Each part of a new baby bottle needs to be sterilized before the first use. You should also be sure to sterilize the bottle whenever Baby’s been sick.

In the past, it was recommended that baby bottles be sterilized after each cleaning. This is still the most effective way to get rid of the germs and nasties that could make your baby sick. Many experts recommend that you sterilize all bottles until the baby is at least 6 months to 1 year old.

More recently, though, some experts suggest that sterilizing bottles and nipples isn’t always necessary before each use – though they still need to be cleaned thoroughly with soapy water.

However, there are exceptions: such as if your baby is sickly, or there are concerns about the tap water quality in your area. Ask your baby’s pediatrician how often you will need to re-sterilize baby bottles in their own particular case – but don’t be afraid to err on the side of caution.

Before sterilizing baby bottles

wash clean baby bottle

Before sterilizing baby bottles, you need to clean them well first.

  • Step 1
    Wash your hands clean with soap.

  • Step 2
    Separate the bottle, the nipple and any other parts, and wash them well with warm, dish-soapy water.

  • Step 3
    Use a bottle brush that you only use to clean Baby’s feeding equipment to scrub out any leftover milk or formula.

  • Step 4
    Rinse all the feeding equipment.

With that out of the way, you’re ready to go!

How to sterilize baby bottles by boiling

boiled water hot

Many baby bottles can be sterilized by boiling, preferably in a large metal pot. Check that the bottles you use are suitable for boiling.

  • Step 1
    Separate out all the bottles, nipples and any other pieces in a large pot. Cover them with tap water and put it on the stove.

  • Step 2
    Check to make sure there are no bubbles trapped inside the bottles.

  • Step 3
    Put a lid on the pot and bring the water to a boil.

  • Step 4
    Let it boil for 5 minutes, checking to make sure that it doesn’t spill over or dry, and that none of the pieces are melting from the heat.

  • Step 5
    Take off the boil and let the water cool. Once you can, air dry the pieces.

  • Step 6
    Put all the sterilized pieces in a clean covered container in the fridge

How to sterilize baby bottles with water solution

  • Step 1
    Mix up the chemical solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions in a large, clean plastic container. Different brands use different ratios of water, so follow the directions on the packet carefully.

  • Step 2
    Separate the bottles, the nipple and any other parts, and place them in the solution, checking there are no air bubbles or blockages.

  • Step 3
    To keep the bottle parts from floating to the top, cover them with a floating lid or plate to make sure they stay submerged.

  • Step 4
    Leave the bottle pieces in the solution for at least 30 minutes.

  • Step 5
    Change the cleaning solution after 24 hours.

How to sterilize baby bottles in a steam cleaner

baby bottles steam cleaner sterilizer
There are many different kinds of steam cleaners for disinfecting baby bottles, ranging from purpose-built electronics to plastic contraptions that you put in the microwave oven.

These can cut down on a lot of time for busy parents. However, the many different makes and models available mean you’ll need to pay careful attention to the manufacturer’s instructions to keep your baby safe from germs.

Knowing how to sterilize baby bottles helps keep Baby safe

baby mother mom smile
Sterilizing baby bottles reduces your baby’s exposure to the harmful bacteria that can make them sick. All bottles need to be sterilized before the first use, but how frequently you will need to re-sterilize after that depends on factors like your local water supply, and your baby’s health and age.

Ask your pediatrician what you will need to do to keep Baby safe. Either way, knowing how to clean and sterilize a baby bottle is an important skill for any parent and caregiver.