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Sterilising bottlefeeding equipment

It's important to sterilise all baby feeding equipment, including bottles and teats, until they are at least 12 months old. This will protect the baby against infections, in particular diarrhoea and vomiting.

Before sterilising, ensure:

  • Clean bottles, teats and other feeding equipment in hot, soapy water as soon as possible after feeds.
  • Use a clean bottle brush to clean bottles (only use this brush for cleaning bottles), and a small teat brush to clean the inside of teats.  The teat can also be turned inside out and washed in hot soapy water. Don't be tempted to use salt to clean teats, this can be dangerous for your baby.
  • The baby feeding equipment can be put in the dishwasher to clean it if preferred. (Putting feeding equipment through the dishwasher cleans it but doesn't sterilise it.) Make sure bottles, lids and teats are facing downwards. It may be preferred to wash teats separately by hand to make sure they are completely clean.
  • Rinse all equipment in clean, cold running water before sterilising.

The advice above applies to all baby feeding equipment, and whether expressed breast milk or formula milk is being used.

NHS Choices advice on how to sterilise baby feeding equipment

There are several ways you can sterilise baby feeding equipment. These include:

Cold water sterilising solution

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Leave feeding equipment in the sterilising solution for at least 30 minutes.
  • Change the sterilising solution every 24 hours.
  • Make sure there are no air bubbles trapped in the bottles or teats when putting them in the sterilising solution.
  • The steriliser should have a floating cover or a plunger to keep all the equipment under the solution.

Steam sterilising (electric steriliser or microwave)

  • It's 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 downwards in the steriliser.
  • Manufacturers will give guidelines on how long you can leave equipment in the steriliser before it needs to be sterilised again.


Sterilising by boiling

  • Make sure that whatever you want to sterilise in this way is safe to boil.
  • Boil the feeding equipment in a large pan of water for at least 10 minutes, making sure it all stays under the surface.
  • Set a timer so you don't forget to turn the heat off.
  • Remember that teats tend to get damaged faster with this method. Regularly check that teats and bottles are not torn, cracked or damaged.

After Sterilising

  • It's best to leave bottles and teats in the steriliser or pan until you need them.
  • If they need to be taken out, put the teats and lids on the bottles straightaway.
  • Wash and dry hands before handling sterilised equipment. Better still, use some sterile tongs.
  • Assemble the bottles on a clean, disinfected surface or the upturned lid of the steriliser.

All information is supplied from the NHS. accessed on 02/03/2017