Best Bottle Sterilizers: No More Dirty Bottles (2020 Guide)
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!
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.
Why You Need To Sterilize Your Baby's Bottles
If you think about it, your infant drinks a bottle about every two to three hours.
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.
A bottle sterilizer helps not only clean the bottles, but remove absolutely any kind of germy residue left behind.
Reaching boiling hot 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.
You should also use a sterilizer to help clean your bottles after your baby is sick, as you don’t want to re-infect your baby with their sickness.
Always also use a sterilizer if you are using new bottles, straight out of a package. This will ensure anything harmful will be killed from super-hot temperatures.
As I also said before, thrush is a legit concern of many moms.
When you thoroughly clean your baby’s bottles, you help ensure your baby will not be affected by this uncomfortable rash that will make their mouths sore and itchy.
When Is It Okay To Stop Sterilizing?
Don’t worry, you won’t be sterilizing forever, just for awhile.
Hand-washing should do the trick from that point on, but many parents prefer to keep up with the habit for at least eight months to a year.
How Often Should You Sterilize Baby's Bottles?
This really is a personal choice. However, you should always sterilize any kind of new bottle or accessory that you open straight from a package.
Some moms go a bit overboard and sterilize daily. I used to do it every few days. Some moms do it weekly. It’s really up to you.
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.
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 To Sterilize Baby's 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. (There's also the UV method which I'll touch on).
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 countertop and plug in.
All you have to do is pop your bottles in, walk away, and when you return, they are sanitized. The appliance uses very high temperature steam in order to kill germs and other harmful bacteria that form on your bottles parts and nipples.
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.
Sterilizing In The Microwave
The second way is what I like to call the Microwave Method.
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.
Sterilizing With UV Light
Some parents prefer to sterilize bottles and accessories with ultraviolet light, a relatively new sterilization method.
How it works is the lights kill germs and there’s no water or drying involved.
The sterilizer is quite pricey, but for those who can afford it, it’s efficient, fast, and safe.
6 Things To Look For In A Good Sterilizer
Before you buy a bottle sterilizer, you should make sure it has the following characteristics:
- 1Easy to use. It shouldn’t take a lot of time or much effort to understand how to use your sterilizer. Look for something with minimal buttons and no more than 3 instructions.
- 2Modest size. You don’t want something that is going to take up a ton of counter space or storage space in your cabinet. However, it should be large enough for you to sterilize at least 2 bottles, nipples, and other small accessories.
- 3Dry setting. If you can find a sterilizer that has a functioning dry setting, grab it. Many kinds leave your stuff wet, so it’s just one more item for you to wipe off.
- 4Fast. Sterilization should take long, and it should keep your items safe for at minimum, 24 hours if left unopened.
- 5Easy to travel with. Many parents like to send a sterilizer to their babysitter’s house, or take it with them as they travel or vacation. Opt for something this is portable and can function anywhere, any space.
- 6Tongs included. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve burned myself by moving sterilized bottles. Always use tongs or mitts, which should be included with whatever sterilizer you choose.
Best Electric Steam Sterilizer
Dr. Brown's Deluxe Bottle 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
Philips Avent 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.
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.