How to Clean Feeding Bottles?

Ever wondered how to clean feeding bottles, perfectly? It's no breaking news that feeding bottles and pacifiers all need to be sterilized regularly (and properly). Many mothers who choose to formula feed prefer to wash these baby items with a warm soapy solution, and boil them once a week and that’s about it. Though this technique may surprisingly work for some mothers living in a colder climate, it is never a recommended approach.

How to Clean Feeding Bottles: 5 Methods

Go for any one of the following techniques to sterilize bottles, nipples, bottle caps, nipple rings and pacifiers:

1 - Boiling

Boiling kills away the bacteria and harmful microscopic organisms, and is the oldest of all techniques - you can call it a classic!

  1. Dismantle the bottle and wash all the baby bottle accessories with a mild soapy liquid. Use a brush to make sure no formula residue is stored in the corners.
  2. Take a clean pot, fill it with water and let it boil.
  3. Add all the bottle accessories in the boiling water and boil for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Remove the pot from stove and take out the sterilized bottles and nipples using a clean tong. Put them on a clean kitchen towel and let them dry.
    Do not
    wipe with any kind of cloth or tissue-paper afterwards. 
Always wash the bottles with a soapy solution before sterilizing.

2 - Steam

You can create a steam sterilizer the same way. When the water starts to boil, put a metallic rice/pasta drainer on it and put washed bottles on it and cover. Let the baby bottle steam for 5 minutes.

You can also purchase one of the following steam sterilizers. They are reliable and hussle-free.

3 - Sterilizing Liquid or Tablets:

There was a time when we thought tablets could only cure us during ailment; now they are used to prevent our newborn babies against infinite microbes. Sterilizing tablets are easy to use, and perfect if you are travelling with your baby.

  1. Wash the bottle accessories with a soapy solution using a bottle brush.
  2. In a clean container, dissolve the sterilizing tablet in 1-2 liters water (depending upon the size of the tablet – read the directions on the tablet before using it). You can also use the sterilizing liquid in the same way.
  3. Let the bottles in this liquid for 15 minutes. Some mild tablets require more soaking. Sterilize (wash) the bottles along with their accessories using a bottle brush.

This is an ideal way for sterilizing baby bottles while travelling.

Normally, it is safe for you to reuse this liquid for 24 hours. Sterilizing liquids are used in the same manner as the tablets. Wash the bottle, nipple rings, nipples, caps and pacifiers using a nice bottle cleaning brush and sterilizing liquid, and there you go! I have used sterilizing liquids for my baby daughter and they helped a lot, specially when boiling them is not an option.

If you frequently travel with your baby, keeping the sterilizing liquid bottle is something I would highly recommend. When my daughter was bottle feeding, we went on a 20-days holiday to Egypt and Dubai where the weather was scorching hot, and sterilization was never a problem for me. The whole trip went smoothly.

Here are our top sterilizing tablets/ liquids:

1. Ef-Chlor Sterilizing Tablets, 64 Tablets, 3 Years Shelf Life
2. Milton Sterilizing Tablets - 28 Pack - Pack of 2
3. Milton 1000ml Sterilizing Fluid

4 - Sterilizing Machines:

Another option is to let the technology take care of this sterilization process. If you can afford to buy one, get a sterilizing machine that not only saves time, but is also very convenient to use. These machines are specially designed to sterilize your baby bottles and accessories. If you are worried about how to clean feeding bottles and you can invest in one of these machines, it will be good for the long run (for your future babies!).

The electric sterilizers that now come have multiple built-in features. For instance, you can get an electric sterilizer that also works as a bottle warmer, and some as food warmers as well. Take a look at these:

1. Baby Bottle Warmer, Bottle Sterilizer 6-in-1
2. Bottle Warmer and Sterilizer, 7-in-1
3. OMORC Bottle Sterilizer and Dryer, 5-in-1

5 - Microwave Sterilizing:

There are special microwave steamers available in the market that you can use with your microwave to get the bottles sterilized. Just make sure you thoroughly wash the bottles with a cleaning liquid to get rid of the formula residue before popping them into the microwave. If going for a microwave sterilizer, go for a good brand such as:

1. Philips Avent Microwave Sterilizing Bags
2. Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags
3. Dr. Brown's 806 Microwave Steam Sterilizer

Comparing all the methods: The Pros & Cons

If you are wondering which one of the above mentioned 4 techniques is ideal for you, check out the following pros and cons on how to clean feeding bottles, and then decide:

Here is a quick review:

  • Boiling bottles is cost-effective, but it is a somewhat time consuming process.
  • The electrical sterilizers might be more convenient for many but it may cost you a little more than the rest of the approaches.
  • Sterilizing tablets and liquids are a good approach, specially when you are travelling.
  • If you are an avid-microwave user, you can definitely use it for sterilization.

To sterilize your baby bottle, choose the sterilization method that you think will work well for you. You can go for more than one techniques - like going for the good old boiling method and keep sterilizing liquid/ tablets as a backup at home or in your baby bag. If still not sure, use your motherly instincts! They are never wrong, trust me! :)

See also:

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