There are many ways to sterilise bottles at home or when away, from traditional cold water sterilising to innovative UV sterilisers there is a choice to suit each need and occasion - but which is the best for you?
Here's a quick run through overview of option for sterilising baby bottles and our product recommendations for whether you are home or away.
Always ensure you have thoroughly washed bottles, teats and dummy with hot soapy water before beginning any sterilising process. And whichever method you choose, follow the manufacturers instructions.
Methods of Sterilising
Cold Water Sterilising
This method requires using sterilising tablets or fluid with cold water. You will need a container with a lid, however purpose made units are available to buy. Cold water sterilising can take as little as 15 minutes and bottles are ready to use straight form the steriliser.
This makes a good option for holidays providing you can take the unit or a container with lid away with you.
Microwave Steam Sterilising
You can sterilise baby bottles a few ways using the microwave.
A purpose made microwave sterilising unit follows similar steps to the electric steam version but using the microwave as the heat source. Great for when storage on your kitchen bench is limited as it can be kept inside the microwave, out of sight.
A microwave zip pouch is also a microwave option . Baby bottle parts (and dummies) can be placed inside with a small amount of water, steam is builds within the pouch and creates the sterilisation. This is not so good for using at home as the pouches can only fit 1-2 bottles and has a limited number of usages but ideal for holidays and travelling if you have access to a microwave.
Self sterilising bottles. Cleverly made by twisting the bottle apart and stacking in a way to trap the steam within. These take just 3 minutes to sterilise these bottles in the microwave. This makes a popular option for travelling, or for people that are combi feeding and only using a bottle or two a day at home.
The newest method to the market. UV sterilisation works by using UV light to kill the bacteria within just 10 minutes. Units often also have a drying and storage setting which makes the process super hygienic and you get dry rather than damp bottles. They can take up space in your kitchen but there are also travel versions available which are lightweight and great to take on holiday or for using on trips away.
Electric Steam Sterilising
This method is the most common at home. The sterilising unit is plugged into mains electric and by adding a small amount of water to the base, the unit creates steam. Simply arange your baby bottles and teats, add with the water, pop the lid on. Run the cycle and you bottles will be sterlised and ready to assemble. Note they won't be fully dry but can be used immediately.
Sterilising by boiling
A more traditional option for sterilising baby bottle is to use a pan large enough to submerge all items into boiling water, boil for at least 10 minutes. Not all bottles and teats can withstand this type of heat sterilisation, so check manufacturer instructions first. Even with items safe to boil, these will wear quicker using this method and will need replacing sooner than sterilising by other methods.
How to choose the sterilising option best for you?
What's right for you may depend on a few factors as well as personal preference. You may also need more that one option depending on when and where you need to sterilise your baby bottles. As bottles should be sterilised for the first 12 months, you may add new options as and when you need to solve a new sterilising situation.
Here's a few things to consider...
- How much space do you have in your kitchen? Your in-home solution may depend on how much counter top space you have. Short of space? a microwave steriliser can be a good space saver.
- How much do you want to spend? Some of the latest steriliser may well hit your wallet. However, with the range of baby bottle sterilisers available, there is something to suit all budgets. So don't feel you must have the latest and most pricey option.
- If going on holiday, what facilities are available? Having access to a microwave on holiday may give you more choices of sterilising options. Even hotels often offer a microwave in their restaurant so check before you travel.
- How many bottles do you need to sterilise? If you are a combination feeder or your baby has reduced bottles after weaning you may need to sterilise fewer bottles each day. You may not need the bigger systems which sterilise multiple bottles at once.
Our product recommendations
Still unsure... here's our own recommendations (all tried and tested by us).
Best sterilising options for holidays and days out
Nuby Portable UV Steriliser - Simple fuss free sterilising whilst away and you use the light weight steriliser to carry your bottles and feeding items in as you travel.
Best budget option for holidays with no microwave access
Best sterilising options for holidays with access to microwave
Tommee Tippee Sterilising Pouch - Easy to carry sterilising pushes, can be used 30 times each and each pouch can hold two bottles.
MAM Self Sterilising Bottles - Perfect for a weekend away where access to a microwave is available.
Best at home sterilising options
Tommee Tippee Steridryer - worktop electric steamer that sterilises and drys, killing 99% of bacteria.
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