Choosing the Best Bottle Sterilizer (2017 Guide & Reviews)
Once change I noticed in myself after becoming a mom was that I became obsessed with keeping absolutely anything that came in contact with my baby super clean.
I ran air purifiers on every floor, I scrubbed and sanitized every toy, blankets and sheets were frequently washed—and when it came to my daughter's bottles and binkies, I certainly didn’t skimp on keeping them fresh and clean!
Quick Picks: Best Baby Bottle Sterilizers
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I used a bottle sanitizer every few days to reduce the likeliness of her developing thrush, and being exposed to other unneeded germs and bacteria.
And I’m glad I invested in a sanitizer because it saved me time and it gave me peace of mind.
After all, her health and safety was my responsibility and first priority, right?
Read on to learn about some awesome bottle sanitizers you will want to register for, or pick up today to make sure you are giving your baby the cleanest, purest bottles.
Our Top Baby Bottle Sanitizer Picks
Best Electric Steam Sterilizer
Dr. Brown’s Deluxe Bottle Sterilizer (click here to check the price on Amazon) is my personal choice for how I clean my kids' baby bottles.
Dr. Brown’s is a great brand, and many moms also use their bottles, so the steamer/sterilizer will fit them perfectly. And added plus is that it's also compatible with most other bottles, too.
This steamer needs to be plugged in, and a good place to do so is near a bottle drying rack and formula containers for easy access.
It can sterilize up to six bottles in about 12 minutes! This is great for cleaning new bottles you receive, fresh out of a pack.
It’s not overly large, so it won’t take over your counter top. But, on the flipside, it’s not tiny either. I personally like being able to have multiple bottles cleaned, rather than one at a time.
It has a simple, one button operating system that makes it super easy to press and walk away. Its basket can be removed, and it holds your bottles in a way that ensures the steam will hit every nook and cranny!
I also like this machine because it is able to hold other accessories that come in contact with your baby frequently, like pacifiers, breast pump parts, and even sippy cups and lids later on when your baby becomes a toddler.
The only major criticism it received is that you have to use distilled water inside of it.
If you don’t, the water can leave mineral deposits over time, and it can build up on the heating component of the device. This will make the deposits flake off, and touch your baby’s items.
But, I always had a few jugs of distilled water on hand anyway, so it wasn’t that big of an issue for me.
Overall, it’s a quick and easy item that works effectively!
2nd Choice Electric Steam Sterilizer
Similar to Dr. Brown’s steamer, the Philips Avent Electric Steam Sterilizer (click here to check the price on Amazon) works in pretty much the same way.
It's priced similarly to the Dr. Brown's sterilizer, and can hold three bottles, nipples, and lids.
It is a bit smaller, so it will take up less room on your countertop. But, the trade-off is that it can only clean three bottles at once — though keep in mind that is probably all you need to have on hand at one time.
It runs for about six minutes, and then shuts off automatically, so you can actually set it and leave the room, or even your house!
I had a few girlfriends who would runs theirs once their baby went down for the night so the bottles were ready to be used for a night time feeding.
You can even fit toddler plates, cups, and utensils (not to mention pacifiers) and pretty much anything else you want to sterilize in the machine.
To make it run, you just have to add water to its base, add the items, and turn the power on. It’s just as easy to use as the Dr. Brown’s sterilizer.
Like most devices, it’s made of BPA free materials and leaves the items sterilized up to 24 hours, as long as the lid remains closed!
Best Microwave Steam Sterilizer
The Philips Avent Microwave Steam Sterilizer (click here to check the price on Amazon) is my favorite microwave option, and it comes in a few parts and is designed to be used in your microwave.
All of the pieces are plastic and it is very fast to use, which is really the top selling feature for me.
Lots of moms I know prefer a microwave sterilizer because they are pressed for kitchen counter top space.
You can keep these pieces in its box, and pull it out when you need it, or clear a little bit of room in your cabinet because it’s compact and light weight. Nothing needs to remain plugged in.
The microwave method is just as effective as the electric sterilization method. While it accommodates all Philips Avent bottle models (four max), I know a lot of people who have used it on other various kinds that mimic the shape and design of the Phillips bottles.
To clean the bottles, add water to the bottom of the container, place your items inside, and secure it with a lid.
Most microwaves only need to run on high for about two minutes to effectively clean the items, but it’s always wise to check your wattage and read the instruction manual to truly determine if two minutes is long enough for the kind of microwave you are working with.
I personally like microwave steamers because they pack up easily and travel well, so you can always ensure your baby has fresh, clean bottles wherever you go!
2nd Choice Microwave Steam Sterilizer
Similar to the Philips Avent steamer, the Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer (click here to check the price on Amazon) can also clean four bottles and their accessories at once (breast pump pieces, nipples, travel lids, pacifiers).
It works by adding water to the base of the container, and is sold for a really affordable price.
It also works in all standard types of microwaves, but it’s wise to read the instruction manual to determine how long you want to zap the bottles for.
Also like the Avent model, it kills up to 99.9% of the germs, in about two minutes. It is also light weight, it stores easy because its compact, and it has heat resistant handles so you won’t burn yourself when removing it from the microwave.
One really nice feature it does have is an open-away latch, so this will also ensure you don’t get any kind of steam burns — and trust me, if it happens to you once, you don’t want it to happen ever again!
I also like that it has a locking feature, which discourages it from opening up accidentally when cleaning.
Munchkin is a great brand and you get a lot of quality for a lower price.
Why you need to sterilize your baby's bottles.
A lot of parents don’t realize how important it is to sterilize their baby’s bottles. You are already incredibly busy trying to balance your new life with a newborn. You don’t necessarily have time to take on added projects.
If you think about it, your infant drinks a bottle about every two to three hours. Any number of icky things can be lurking on their bottles. Your baby’s immune system simply isn’t up to par with yours.
Babies need all the added protection they can get, which is why you need to sterilize your baby’s bottles.
Washing their bottles can become quite a chore, especially if you’ve chosen a bottle that has a lot of intricate parts to reduce air intake. Plus, many moms only have about 2-3 bottles on hand at all times, so they have to continuously wash them out to prepare them for the next feeding.
Sterilizing your baby’s bottle can be well worth the added time it takes to keep your child, happy and healthy.
A bottle sterilizer helps not only clean the bottles, but remove absolutely any kind of germy residue left behind.
How often should you sterilize your bottles?
This really is a personal choice.
Every mother is different. Some moms sterilize daily, while others do it weekly depending on their schedule. It’s your personal preference.
How often you sterilize your baby’s bottles can depend on several factors.
For the first few months of your baby’s life, their immune system is somewhat weak. Sterilization is recommended more often for the first several months. After that, choosing to sterilize only when your baby is ill, their bottle comes in contact with other children who may be ill, or when bottles are brand new.
Baby’s that are formula fed should have their bottles sterilized more often than baby’s who are breast fed. Mother’s produce milk rich in cells that fight disease and infection. Formula simply can’t replicate the benefits of mothers milk. Therefore, extra precautions should be taken for the formula fed babies.
I also used to always sterilize my daughter's bottles if she had a cold, or if she dropped her bottles in a public place like a shopping mall or grocery store.
Once a bottle hits the ground, it should be sterilized to prevent your baby from ingesting something icky. If you wouldn’t drink out of a straw that touched a particular surface, chances are your baby shouldn’t either.
If you also have multiple babies in your household, and they get a hold of one the other’s bottles, I would also recommend that you sterilize every few days, or immediately after the incident to reduce bacteria and the sharing of germs.
How often you sterilize your baby’s bottles also depends on the bottles you choose. Many bottles these days are designed to prevent leakage. These bottles are fantastic at saving you a mess at the bottom of your diaper bag.
However, they usually have a lot more components that are hard to clean by hand. These types of bottles should be sterilized on a regular basis.
How to sterilize baby bottles.
Though there are all kinds of methods for sterilizing a baby bottle, for me it comes down to the two most popular methods: either by using an electric steamer, or using the microwave method.
Let’s take a closer look at them all, so you can better decide which method will work best for your new family.
Sterilizing with an Electric Steamer
Much like a can opener, a crockpot, and a toaster, an electric bottle sterilizer is just one more appliance to add to your kitchen counter top and plug in. In fact, you may find yourself using your bottle sterilizer more than any of the above.
After giving your bottles a normal wash, simply pop them into the sterilization unit and walk away. The amount of time it takes varies with each machine but only slightly. Machines these days automatically shut off when the bottles are ready to go, which means one less thing for you to worry about at the end of the day.
Reaching boiling temperatures, the sterilizers zap bacteria and completely clean the nipple, bottle, and all the bottle parts so you can trust that you are putting items in your baby’s mouth that are sterile and fresh, each time you use the device.
Remember, bottles are hard to dry while in the appliance. Try to take them out, and air dry them on a dish rack if you can.
All you have to do is pop your bottles in, walk away, and when you return, they are sanitized.
Depending on the size that you purchase, some electric steamers only allow you to sterilize one bottle at a time, while others are large enough to hold several.
Larger ones may save you time, but if you don’t have the counter space, you might want to think about a smaller machine. Take this into consideration before making your purchase.
Boiling Your Baby's Bottles
Boiling your baby’s bottles is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to sterilize them. A lot of mothers are choosing this method, simply because of this.
Follow these easy steps to sterilize your baby’s bottles with little to no added equipment.
Step 1: Collect all items to be sterilized including bottles, teats, caps. Make sure they are hand-washed or have been through the dishwasher previously.
Step 2: Place them in a pan and cover them with water.
Step 3: Bring water to a rapid boil.
Step 4: Once water is a rolling boil, set your timer for 5 minutes.
Step 5: After the five minutes are up, turn off the water and let it come to room temperature.
Remember to always have a set of tongs and take precautions to keep children away from boiling water.
The main problem with this method is, you are required to set a timer and need to keep track of how long your bottles are in the water. Secondly, if you have other children in the home, it may be dangerous having a hot pot of water on the stove for a long period.
Some mothers have complained about this option leaving white residue on their items. This is most likely due to hard water. If you face this problem, simply try a water softener attached to your faucet.
Sterilizing in the Microwave
Another great way to sterilize your baby’s bottle is the microwave method. If you already own a microwave, this may be the cheapest and easiest option for you. The steps are simple, and you can sterilize multiple bottles at once, saving you time. Plus there is no bulky equipment to take up room on your counter.
You are given a microwave safe container, which is usually equipped to hold three bottles and all of their parts, and you just add a cup of water to the bottom of the container, and place your parts on a special vented rack that sits just above the water.
Pop the lid on, shut the microwave door, and set it on high for about five minutes.
The bottles can be kept in the covered compartment until you are ready to use them.
A pair of tongs are usually sold with whichever set you purchase to allow you to remove each item without burning your hands, or getting the sterilized equipment full of germs before reaching your baby’s mouth.
The main problem with the microwave method is that no two manufacturer models are the same. ‘High’ for one microwave is completely different than ‘high’ on another. Using the microwave method is simply not as accurate as a machine made for the sole purpose of sterilizing your baby’s bottle.
Some moms consider a sterilizer a waste of money and time. They simply prefer to boil a pot of water and plop their bottles in that way, which to me always seemed to take double the time.
For me personally, using a device was a much more efficient way to clean them, and it was something that became so automatic, I didn’t even think about it.
The device made things so easy for me. I like that I always had peace of mind that my daughter (and now son) was using a bottle that was without germs and that was free from any other types of harmful materials.
So, if you are in the market for a sterilizer, decide which kind works best for you, and be sure to check out my recommendations above.
Baby Feeding Series
Want to read more from my Baby Feeding Series? Check out my other buying guides.