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Do I Need to Sterilize Bottles and Pacifiers After Every Use?

Keeping your baby safe from sickness is a top priority, so it’s important to make sure anything going in your little one’s mouth is clean. Fortunately, you don’t have to buy a baby bottle sterilizer to keep things sanitary. If you use bottles or pacifiers, you’ll want to sterilize them before their first use and perhaps periodically thereafter, but it’s not necessary to sterilize bottles after every use.

Do I Need to Sterilize Bottles and Pacifiers After Every Use?

Wash Bottles Regularly to Remove Milk Buildup

On a day-to-day basis, a regular cycle in the dishwasher or scrub in the kitchen sink is good enough. In the dishwasher, be sure to put plastic items on the top rack to prevent melting. Pacifiers, nipples, and other small parts can be placed in special baskets on the top rack so they don’t fall through to the bottom of the dishwasher.

Sterilize Bottles and Binkies to Curb the Spread of Illness

It’s a good practice to sterilize bottles and binkies after your child has been sick, if you or other family members have been dealing with a contagious illness, or if another child has used their bottle or pacifier. Beyond that, use your best judgment. Some sources recommend monthly sterilizing, but assuming your water source is safe, the need is generally quite low. As a parent, you can decide your own comfort level when it comes to habits of cleaning and hygiene.

When it is time to sterilize, the process is simple: leave the bottles (including nipples) and pacifiers in a pot of boiling water for five minutes. You can also buy specially designed bottle sterilizers that use steam to kill germs and bacteria.

For more information on keeping your child safe at home and on the go, check out our Buyers Guides and other resources. Of special interest to parents are the guides for baby monitors, baby-proofing locks, and baby gates.