How (not?) to sterilize baby bottles



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Big mistake not bringing the sterilizer from our country. So we had to rely on the boil in pot method. I will show you how we do it and also how the maternity clinic is doing it and all other methods. (Note that you only have to sterilize once a day, but you can do it more often of course.)

1. Boil in pot method

We fill half of the pot with water, boil it and put the bottles and nipples inside. It is important to submerge the bottles in water so they don’t melt when touching the walls but it never happend with us. We put the lid on the pot but not fully:


  • no special equipment need (just a big pot)
  • free
  • with gas stove will work also when there is no electricity


  • I burned my hands many times when taking out the bottles. Use a tongue (with silicone so the bottles don’t slip out)
  • it takes a lot of time, esp. sterilizing during the night is annoying (better buy many bottles so you don’t have to do it too often)
  • the bottles loose there clarity because of limescale… but this should not pose a health problem when feeding, just optical problem

2. Using a sterilizer

At the clinic they had this Philips Avent sterilizer:

This sterilizer works with steam and is very cheap to get in our country (for ca. 10 Euros). Unfortunately where we are it is not so easy. We tried to buy one but there was rust on the heating plate.


  • Easy to do
  • bottles can stay in the sterilizer and will be sterilized for 24h
  • more easy on the plastic bottles (nothing will melt)


  • very bulky to take with you when travelling (but you can stuff socks etc. inside)
  • limescale will build up on the heating plate, you have to clean regularly (using vinegar)
  • expensive when buying a new machine (better buy used because you need it for a limited time anyways)

Update: In the meatime we bought the new version at the Philips Avent shop (it was the UK version so we needed an adapter):

It is bulkier than the old version that was in the clinic.

3. Microwave

This method we did not use but probably will use soon. You basically put the bottles inside a contraption which you then put inside the microwave.

There are also bags which can be used a couple of times which are esp. for travelling.


  • bottle will stay sterilized inside the contraption


  • hot when taking out
  • you need a microwave big enough to fit the contraption

4. Sterilizing tabs

This is a good option when you are on the airport for example and need to sterilize in a pinch. Just put a tablet in cold water – but don’t use the tabs your grandma is using for her teeth. 🙂


  • easy to carry with you
  • works with cold wa


  • expensive

Which method do you prefer?

Post in the comments!

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2 responses to “How (not?) to sterilize baby bottles”

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