Sterilising baby bottles

Content supplied by NHS Choices

There are several ways in which you can sterilise your baby’s feeding equipment. For example:

  • using a cold water sterilising solution
  • steam sterilising
  • sterilising by boiling

The following instructions apply to all feeding equipment you use for your baby, whether you are using expressed breast milk or infant formula.

Before sterilising, always:

  • clean the feeding bottle and teat in hot, soapy water as soon as possible after a feed, using a clean bottle brush
  • rinse all your equipment in clean, cold running water before sterilising

Cold water sterilising solution

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Change the sterilising solution every 24 hours.
  • Leave feeding equipment in the sterilising solution for at least 30 minutes.
  • Make sure that there is no air trapped in the bottles or teats when putting them in the sterilising solution.
  • Keep all the equipment under the solution with a floating cover.

Steam sterilising (electric steriliser or microwave)

  • It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions as there are several different types of sterilisers.
  • Make sure the openings of the bottles and teats are facing down in the steriliser.
  • Manufacturers will give guidelines on how long you can leave equipment that you are not using straight after sterilising before it needs to be resterilised.

Sterilising by boiling

  • When using this method, care must be taken to ensure safety and prevent scalds or burns. Hot pans and liquids should not be left unattended, especially if children are present.
  • Make sure that whatever you sterilise in this way is safe to boil.
  • Boil the feeding equipment in water for at least 10 minutes, making sure that all items stay under the surface of the water.
  • Remember that teats tend to get damaged faster with this method. Regularly check that teats and bottles are not torn, cracked or damaged.
  • Wash hands thoroughly. Clean and disinfect the surface where you will put together the bottle and teat.
  • It is best to remove the bottles just before they are used.
  • If the bottles are not being used immediately, they should be put together fully with the teat and lid in place. This is┬áto prevent the inside of the sterilised bottle from being contaminated, along with the inside and outside of the teat.

NHS Choices
Published Date 2011-04-06
Last Review Date 2010-09-30

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