Sterilising bottles and equipment
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Melissa Little
Pediatric and Antenatal Dietician. She is a spokesperson for the British Dietetics Association on TV and in print. Member of the parliamentary group for a Fit and Healthy Childhood at Westminster for the UK Government.
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Formula Feeding

Sterilising bottles and equipment

It's vital to sterilise bottles, teats and other feeding equipment properly because any bacteria not thoroughly washed away can give your baby an upset stomach. Here's how to keep your baby safe.
Video Tutorial
In Short

There are four main ways to sterilise feeding equipment, and you do this after you've washed everything thoroughly in hot soapy water, using special tiny brushes to get into every nook and cranny, then rinsed it clean.

Cold water sterilising solutions

Boiling in water


Steam steriliser

What do I need to sterilise?

Bottles, teats, lids – basically, anything that touches the milk

You also need a clean, disinfected bench surface

Make sure you wash your hands with hot water and soap.

Four main methods:
  • Cold water sterilising solutions.
  • Boiling in water.
  • Microwaving.
  • Steam steriliser.



Use a special small bottle brush to get into all the nooks and crannies.

Then sterilise using your chosen method as follows:

Cold water sterilising solution

  • Usually, there are tablets to be dissolved in water.
  • Follow instructions on packet precisely.
  • Leave everything completely submerged in the solution for at least 30 minutes.
  • If you push anything under, the pushing needs to be done with something sterile.
  • Once sterile, rinse in water that has been boiled, or use straight from the solution.
  • Change the solution at least every 24 hours.

Boiling in water

  • Completely submerge bottles and equipment in water in a big pan.
  • Bring to boil and boil for 10 minutes.
  • Keep submerged throughout.
  • Some bottles (read the instructions when you buy them) can be sterilised by putting in a microwave for 90 seconds.
  • Put them in without teats or lids on and sterilise these separately.
Steam sterilising
  • There are many different brands, so it’s a case of which unit suits you, your baby’s needs – and your kitchen space!
  • You must read the instructions and follow precisely.
  • They usually take around 8-12 minutes.
  • Usually, you can leave them in the closed steriliser for up to six hours after running the cycle.

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This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.