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.

baby bottles drying
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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 for baby monitorsbaby-proofing locks, and baby gates.


Compare the best baby safety products

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Best car seat Converts to 4 seats for ages 0–10Performs well in crash tests
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Best nanny cam 360° field of vision1920p resolution + excellent night vision
Best baby gate30 in. tall; fits doorways 29-34 and 35-38.5 in. wideOpen with one hand
Best baby carrierFor babies 7–45 lbs 6 ways to carry your baby

*Amazon.com price as of post date. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Cathy Habas
Written by
Cathy Habas
With over seven years of experience as a content writer, Cathy has a knack for untangling complex information. Her natural curiosity and ability to empathize help Cathy offer insightful, friendly advice. She believes in empowering readers who may not feel confident about a purchase, project, or topic. Cathy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Indiana University Southeast and began her professional writing career immediately after graduation. She has contributed to sites like Safety.com, Reviews.com, Hunker, and Thumbtack. Cathy’s pride and joy is her Appaloosa “Chacos.” She also likes to crochet while watching stand-up comedy specials on Netflix.

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