Do I need a bottle sterilizer?

Consumer Reports News: June 06, 2007 05:53 PM

Question: Do I need to buy a bottle sterilizer, or it is okay to just wash the bottles in the dishwasher?

If your tap water is chlorinated (chlorine is a natural germ killer), you don't need to buy a bottle sterilizer or boil your baby's bottles to sterilize them between feedings — washing the bottles in the top rack of your dishwasher will do. You can also just wash the bottles in hot tap water with dishwashing detergent and rinse them well in hot tap water. But if you have well water, or for some reason your town/city water isn't chlorinated, you should use a sterilizer or boil bottles in water for 5 to 10 minutes before using them. (You can find information about your local water supply at the Environmental Protection Agency's local drinking water information page.)

You should also boil all bottles and nipples before the first use, including accessories such as the vent on Playtex VentAire bottles, according to manufacturer's directions — usually for about five minutes. Likewise, after each use, wash nipples and accessories in hot, soapy water for about a minute and rinse thoroughly. Silicone nipples, which we recommend because babies can develop a sensitivity to latex, are dishwasher safe (top rack only). Some manufacturers advise you to boil nipples and accessories once a week for five minutes for maintenance. That's a good idea, too.

See our baby bottles and nipples report for more information.

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