How to sterilise baby bottles

Written by Louise Grey

With a newborn baby herself, Louise has been reviewing products on the baby market for a number of years and prides herself on a unique take on every product she reviews!

Last Updated 07/04/2020

How to sterilise baby bottles

It is incredibly important to make sure that all your baby’s feeding equipment – particularly bottles – are spotless for at least the first 12 months after birth. It protects them from a whole range of infections, including diarrhoea and vomiting in particular.

Yet the issue for most parents is that very few of them are ever taught how to sterilise all of their baby’s bottles thoroughly. They will hear from all of their fellow parent friends of how important it is for their little one but are never shown the exact methods that can give them full peace of mind after the process.

So in this guide, we are going to give you the lowdown. This post will contain absolutely everything that you need to know about sterilising your baby’s bottle, and other feeding equipment, so you can do it with total confidence yourself.


Why do I need to sterilise my baby’s bottle?

One key difference between our babies and us adults is that we have much more robust immune systems. This means that it is crucial that you can protect your infant as much as possible from illnesses and bacteria. This is the reason why the NHS recommends that adults sterilise all of their baby’s feeding equipment before they are fed breastmilk or formula milk. Although you may not think it, milk can easily attract bacteria that can give your baby a nasty infection. This process of sterilisation gets rid of any little bits of bacteria that have the potential to cause harm to your little one.


Do I need to wash the bottle as well as sterilising it?

Yes, you do. It’s essential that you still wash your baby’s feeding equipment when you have used it. Bottles and breast pumps should be immediately removed in warm and soapy water before they are used. When using a dishwasher, ensure that all cups and containers are placed face down so as they don’t fill up with dirty water. After you have washed it, make sure that you rinse out in clean cold water before you begin sterilising it.


Different methods of sterilisation

 It’s impossible to say for sure which method of sterilisation is best. You should consider exactly what suits you before you decide whether to use cold water, boiling solutions or steam. It depends on things such as how much time you have, how often you sterilise your products and what equipment you have access to.

 Below, we have outlined some of the most common methods of sterilisation, as well as some simple explanations on how you can do it yourself.



In a nutshell, cold water sterilisation is a process where a sterilising tablet is dissolved in water to create the solution. Before use, items must be submerged for around 30 minutes. After the solution is designed, details can be left there for up to 24 hours if the lid is closed.


How to sterilise a baby bottle with cold water 

Firstly, make sure that you have a clean container with a lid that fits. Then, make up the sterilisation solutions as outlined in the manufacturer guide.

Secondly, ensure that the bottle and all other items are fully submerged in the water. This can be done by placing a floating plate or bowl over them to ensure they are in place.

Thirdly, leave items there for as long as the manufacturer instructions outline, and follow guidance on changing the solution.


Steam sterilisation

The are plenty of steam sterilisers which can be used in the microwave, whereas others may require you to plug them indirectly. It is possible to purchase re-usable sterilisation bags to use in the microwave. This might be more convenient if you are travelling, or if you don’t think you will need to use the equipment very often.


How to sterilise baby bottles with steam

Firstly, ensure that you follow all the instructions from the manufacturer, as the length of time required to sterilise items may vary considerably.

Secondly, ensure that all bottle openings are facing downwards in the steriliser.

And lastly, check the manufacturer’s guidance on how long you should leave before you sterilise the equipment again.



If you don’t have the equipment to use either of the steam or cold water sterilisers mentioned above, then boiling can be an excellent option for you.


How to sterilise baby feeding equipment by boiling

Firstly, you’ll need to boil a saucepan of water. 

Secondly, you should emerge all the items to be sterilised underneath the water for about 10 minutes.  

Next, take the items out before you use them.

This method may damage some of the equipment; however, so you may have to replace them more regularly.


What should I do after sterilising?  

After sterilising your bottle, it’s probably best to leave them in the pan or steriliser until you need them. If you decide to take them out, make sure that you place a lid on them straight away.  

Next, ensure you thoroughly wash your hands before you handle the bottle or equipment. Next, assemble the jars on a clean surface or the upturned lid of the steriliser.


How to sterilise when you and about? 

When you’re on the go, it can be challenging to sterilise your equipment. Whether you are on holiday or just on a day out, you may find It tough to clean your baby bottle. The best solution is often to get yourself some of the disposable sterilising bags. They come with a tablet, so all you have to do is add water. They are suitable for water abroad, and also last for up to 24 hours when used.



In conclusion, then, sterilising your baby bottle isn’t as hard as it seems. There is a whole range of methods that you can use depending on how much time or equipment you have. As long as you follow the guidelines outlined above, you shouldn’t run into any difficulties in sterilising your baby bottle.