What are sterilisers?
OK, so a steriliser isn’t the most glamorous product you’ll be buying for your baby, but it is one of the most important – even if you’re breastfeeding, and only expressing occasionally.
That’s because dangerous germs and bacteria love a warm, milky environment, so it’s vital to sterilise any bottles you use, plus the teats, breast pump, and any other feeding accessories. You can also use the steriliser to keep dummies clean.
It’s recommended you keep sterilising feeding equipment until your baby is a year old – including any bottles or sippy cups used for juice.
There are 3 types of steriliser you can buy:
- Cold water
Which steriliser is right for you?
Each system has its pros and cons – it’s really up to your lifestyle and budget:
Cold water steriliser
- The cheapest method: you can either buy a special cold water unit or use any strong plastic tub or bucket with a lid. Then all you need are sterilising tablets or liquid to add to the water – and you’re ready to add the bottles. They need to stay submerged for 15-30 minutes (depending on brand, see label for precise time) then they are ready to use. With some brands you will need to rinse the bottles to prevent a nasty taste, but with others you don’t. You can re-use the solution multiple times over 24 hours, and items in the solution stay sterile for 24 hours.
Pros: Cheap; good for travelling when there’s no electricity/microwave; you can keep chucking things in over 24 hours; don’t have to wait for bottles to cool down.
Cons: Rinsing can be a pain; bulky tub takes up kitchen space.
Electric steriliser - These kill bacteria with steam and plug in at the wall; most take 6 bottles and the cycle takes around 5-10 minutes depending on the brand. Bottles will stay sterilised for 24 hours if the lid is kept closed. Most units are around £50-£60.
Pros: No chemicals; quick and easy.
Cons: Expensive; descaling the unit (every 2 weeks in hard water areas); need plug socket; takes up worktop space.
Microwave steriliser -
Uses steam just like electric units, but these fit inside your microwave. Cycles often take 4-8 minutes, and units usually hold fewer bottles because they are smaller than electric sterilisers. Contents remain sterile for 24 hours if lid kept closed. Most cost around £20-£28. Some double up as a cold water steriliser when travelling.
Pros: Compact so you can put away when not using; quick and easy.
Cons: No metal; holds fewer bottles; need a microwave!
How much will a steriliser cost?
Cold water sterilisation is the cheapest: a unit will cost around £15 but you can use any plastic tub with a lid and just buy the sterilising tablets. Electric units generally cost £50-£60 and microwave units come in a bit cheaper at £20-£28.
Top tips for buying a steriliser
- Consider how often you’ll use it before buying. Breastfeeding mums will have it running less often than bottlefeeding mums, who will get through 6-8 bottles a day.
- If buying electric/microwave, check your brand of bottles fit in the unit you’ve chosen. Wide-necked and anti-colic bottles take up more space.
Ready to buy?
Take a look at some of the popular sterilisers below.
Philips Avent 3 in 1 Steriliser
RRP: £59.95 - Buy now
This versatile steam steriliser can accommodate different sizes of bottles and accessories, and you can even use its size for easy kitchen storage.
- natural steam sterilisation kills 99.9% harmful germs without the need for chemicals
- fast six-minute cycle
- fits all bottle types
- BPA free
- space saving design – adjust it to suit your storage
- automatic power switch off when finished
What you get:
1 x 3-in-1 Steriliser
1 x Tongs
Why we love the Philips Avent 3 in 1 Steriliser ....
- it fits bottles, breast pumps and accessories, and toddler plates and cutlery
- space saving - we all know how much space baby kit takes up, so we love how this can be adjusted into three shapes to squeeze into your cupboards
Dr Brown's Deluxe Electric Steam Steriliser
RRP: £58 - Buy now
This BPA-free electric steam steriliser is designed to clean Dr Brown's products, killing off bacteria.
- sterilises six bottles in 12 minutes
- one-button operation
- automatic shut off - when cycle is complete
- cord storage on underside – nice and neat!
- tongs - to help handle those hot sterilised bottles
- tailored compartment - to easily sterilise teats and the unique Dr. Brown's vent system
- custom tray for all bottle components
- BPA free for your baby's safety
Why we love the Dr Brown's Deluxe Electric Steam Steriliser ....
- with those tailored compartments, you can carefully load all your Dr. Brown products in exactly the right place, all nice and neat!
Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature Electric Steam Steriliser
RRP: £49.95 - Buy now
This Tommee Tippee Nature steriliser uses steam to obliterate germs fast, while keeping its contents sterile for hours.
- lasting effect – keep the lid closed and contents stay sterile for 24 hours
- fast – five-minute sterilising process
- roomy container – can sterilise lots of kit in one go
- single push button - glows orange when switched on and turns off when the cycle ends
What you get:
1x closer to nature steriliser
1 x closer to nature 150ml bottle
1 x closer to nature pure soother
1 x teat tongs
Why we love the Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature Electric Steam Steriliser ....
- it’s the tardis of the steriliser world – it looks seductively small, but is actually nice and big on the inside, holding six bottles and accessories too!
- it keeps things sterile for so long you can have bottles ready for feeds overnight or early morning
Milton Professional Cold Water Steriliser
RRP: £14.95 - Buy now
Specially designed unit for cold water sterilising using Milton sterilising tablets or fluid.
- versatile - fits all bottles and breast feeding equipment
- lasting effect - keeps items sterile in the solution for 24 hours
- 5-litre container – can clean a lot of stuff in one go
- lockable lid – extra safety
- carry handle – easy to move around
- weighted grid - keeps items fully submersed in the solution
What you get:
1 x sterilising unit
Why we love the Milton Professional Cold Water Steriliser ....
- a great affordable solution
- you can use the solution for 24 hours, so no need to keep sterilising bottles throughout the day
- it still works in a power cut!
Babymoov Turbo Steam Electric Steriliser
RRP: £53.99 - Buy now
Innovative, stylish, electric steriliser where you put the bottles on ‘arms’ each with its own steam nozzle.
- Bottles are placed on ‘stalks’ each with steam vents
- Fit 6 bottles and accessories
- Arms removable
- Central part removable to use as bottle drier
- audible and visible alarm plus automatic shut-off
What you get:
1 x sterilising unit
Why we love the Babymoov Turbo Steam Electric Steriliser....
- Loving the extra peace of mind you get from putting your bottles on the special stalks with their own steam nozzle – so you can be really sure the whole bottle is properly sterilised.
- Unusually for a steriliser it’s a nice-looking piece of kit, quite funky – and it lets you know it’s finished with a handy alarm.
- It’s a good size, so although it takes up quite a bit of space on the worktop, at least you can get all your bottles and bits and pieces into it.
- You can take out the arms and reconfigure the inside depending on what you want to sterilise – so it’s no problem to do your breast pump, dummies - or anything, really.