Sterilizing Babys Items

Updated on June 06, 2010
S.B. asks from Gainesville, FL
20 answers

To steralize or not to ? been thinking about it since the little one is due soon. I have heard that bottles need to be boiled? Along with pacifiers? and I have also heard that some pediatricians no longer feel its necessary , just wash with soap and water. I know the truth is that babys immune systems are low and everything needs to be clean and sanitary for them, but how much cleaning is enough ? Should I also wash all the stuffed animals/plush toys received for baby ? I know to wash the clothing and bedding with a fragrant and dye free soap, just don't know about the rest.

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answers from Tampa on

hi S., personally,when i had my son, i steilized his bottles, pacifiers before each use. i was useing/trying different bottle types. (all where plastic too.) with hind sight being 20/20 i should of used glass bottles, due to the "bpa;" but anyway, my son was less fussy when i sterilized this often. i think it upset his stomach when i didnt.



answers from New York on

For new bottles, nipples, and pacifiers you need to sterilize them before using. My peditrician recommended sterilizing after each use (that was 13 years ago, most moms don't do that anymore). Also, if you have a dishwasher, the water will get hot enough to sterize them.

Note: I also used the dishwasher for a lot of the plastic toys when they were dirty.. Although you need to be careful that the toys don't have an cracks/open seals where water can get in.

As for the stuffed animals, I never washed mine when they were new. When they got dirty, I would put them in a pillow case and throw them in the washer. It's best to dry them out in the sun.

There's no need to go overboard in sterilizing everything. Babies need to be exposed to some germs, this is how they build up their immunity systems.

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answers from Denver on

I never boiled a thing. I never used Dreft. I used tap water in formula. The kids managed to survive somehow! :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sarasota on

I boiled bottles, nipples, pump accessories, etc. before first use, then washed them with soap and water the rest of the time...every once in a while I would read this forum and feel guilty and boil everything again...but that was so infrequent I doubt it made much of a difference! My kids are healthy and happy and never had a problem.

Thrush is NOT caused by non-sterilized bottles, BTW. It is an overgrowth of yeast that is already found in the body and often occurs when immune systems are depressed...which can happen to a baby when sick with a cold or something. I had a breast yeast infection while pumping for my second child (lack of sleep can also depress the immune system!) and she got a mild case of thrush from the yeast in my milk. Both yeast infections were taken care of quickly with our pediatrician's help and caused no other health issues at all.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fort Walton Beach on

It is not necessary to sterilize bottles anymore, according to Web MD:

I did not use fragrant free/dye free detergents with my kids - I figured "What do poor people use?" They obviously cannot afford Dreft... since we do not have any allergies in our families on either side or any types of eczemas, why bother? They turned out just fine... As long as you are washing them in a machine that cleans good, why pay the extra money?

Stuffed animals and everything else do not need to be washed either. If that were the case, my friend's four boys would be sick everyday. She can barely keep up with them as it is... let alone stuffed animals and sanitizing, LOL!

I just say if you are a clean family as it is... I wouldn't worry about all the little things.

Don't sweat the small stuff and do your research from substantial sites. Enjoy your baby!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

well, I have super hot water, so I just wash them and then use those little steam bags as some others have said. I actually use the munchkin brand that you can get at wal-mart and target. It is cheaper and they work fine. But if you wash stuff on the top rack of the dishwasher and use the heat dry, that works too. You can get these little plastic containers to put the nipples etc in and then just stick them on the top rack and you are good to go. As far as washing stuffed animals and stuff, I never worry about that and I have healthy kids. I don't even wash the clothes before they wear them, and both mine have done fine. I use purex free and clear soap for laundy and now Bounce makes a dryer sheet that is fragrance free, which is the best!! I will say that if you get the opportunity to breast feed, it is amazing. When I had brought my four month old home from the hospital, my two year old got strep. Even though he had held him etc, my baby did not get strep. So I think the best gift you can give is breastmilk, if it works out to do so. My first born never had as much as a sniffle until I was weaning him:) Best wishes and congrats!!!! Babies are so awesome:)



answers from Houston on

You should BOIL all bottles, nipples, pacifiers, etc. before the first use for 5 minutes. This helps remove anything left behind from the manufacturing process--I've seen things be made, trust me on this. Almost every label gives this direction.

Apart from that, regular wash in hot water or dishwasher is sufficient (assuming you are on a municipal water supply--a well would require further sterilization)

Washing the stuffed toys is a good idea so long as they can be dried really well so as to not harbor anything worse than what they may have started with. Always put them in a pillow case or lingerie bag for protection.

Try not to stress too much. Mankind has survived a long time under much worse conditions. Consider breastfeeding (if you haven't already), even for the first few weeks to pass on a bunch of natural immunity.



answers from Jacksonville on

Hi S.,

Congratulations on your first baby! What we have learned is that you need to boil/sterilize pacifiers and nipples. New babies up to at least 6 months can develop "Thrush", a bacterial infection in their mouth that left untreated can spread.

If you are using your own washer you can skip the special deteregents and just double rinse the babies clothes. You may find this more economical anyway as you may have to use adatives to get stains out. I personally with the last baby would throw everything in with detergent, oxyclean, let the washer run a couple minutes and turn it off to let everything soak. An hour later I would come back and turn it on, then double rinse. It got everything including formula out.

Your house needs to be clean, not sterile. If other children come over and touch baby's things and you are really worried, wait until baby goes for a nap and spray stuffed animals, etc... with some Lysol. Don't stress too much about it all, babies have better immune systems than you think.



answers from Chicago on

Hi S.~
I have 3 kids now (ages 7, 3, and 11 days), and I'm a very easy-going mom! With all of my kids, I'd sterilize any bottle nipples and any breast pump accessories (if you're using one). As for everything else-bottles, bottle accessories, pacifiers, etc. I just washed with soap and water. Any clothing, bedding, or anything else that will have contact with baby's skin MUST be washed! It can cause irritation on his or her skin. I know not everyone will agree, but I really do think the baby dreft detergent is great. I tried all other detergents with my oldest son, and it always caused irritation on his skin, so I do recommend that! As for toys & stuffed animals, I don't see a reason to wash those.
I hope this helps!
Good luck & congrats on the baby!



answers from Orlando on

You need to sterilize bottles, pacifiers, etc. the first time, right out of the package. After that, just washing w/soap & water is fine. I ran mine thru the dishwasher if I had time, or by hand if I was running short. I did not wash all the stuffed animals beforehand, but I did wash the clothes & blankets.



answers from Sarasota on

Hi! I used a great, relatively cheap sterilizer from Avent that goes in the microwave for five minutes. Don't know how that stacks up with all the issues about plastic these days. It may have PBAs. And I used All Free and Clear. I have allergies, and I have to say I can't be anywhere near Dreft!

The best way to help your baby's immune system, though, is breastmilk! Breastfeed or pump as much as you can. I was lucky enough to work at home, and I breastfed exclusively to six months and as a supplement until they were 15 months. My kids were so healthy! And it was good knowing that if I got a cold, they got my immunities--because, odds are, they're going to get my germs.

Good luck!



answers from New York on

Well, I only sterilized at the beginning and by 3 months I had mostly stopped. It's good to do with new stuff. I was pumping a lot and settled with washing pump parts and bottles every time and then sterilizing weekly. The microwave bags are great.



answers from Dallas on

I would definitely boil the bottle stuff and pacifiers b/c I know of a few babies that have gotten thrush from things not being sanitized beforehand. It is quite easy too. I just filled a huge pot with water, let it start boiling, and put the stuff I wanted to in the pot. I set a timer for 5 minutes and when it went off, I just transferred the things to some paper towels to dry! Very easy and I think worth the time. I didn't wash the stuffed animals, however. I don't think it's a bad idea at all, I just didn't want to take the time to do it. Hope this helps!



answers from Dallas on

I got some medela steam can put toys and bottle/nursing parts in there and zap in the microwave for a few minutes. I was everything with Johnson's baby wash and then steam once a week or as necessary. I try not to worry about it too much but do my best to keep things sanitary.



answers from Nashville on

I boiled bottles, nipples and pacis once when everything was new out of the package and after that just ran through the dishwasher. Occasionally I would use those steam bags for breast pump parts that had been sitting all day, and I'd toss the paci in for good measure since I was doing it anyways. I did the first boil because the manufacturing process is dirty. Ever notice dusty stuff that is new out of the package? I have, and who knows what that dust is.

Dreft is pointless in my opinion. It isn't dye and perfume free. And it is pricey. All free and clear is better because its is free of perfumes and dyes, and cheaper besides. I think there is a Tide version and Purex too. And they only need used at first. If there is no issue with allergies, most moms stop by 6 mos or a year.

People will think me weird for this, but I washed (and still do for my two year old) stuffed animals and stuff like that. I didn't, until one day at the toy store I saw this mom who had given her kid a stuffed animal to entertain it while she shopped. He obviously had a cold and rubbed his nasty nose and eyes all over it, then she put it back on the shelf. It was really really gross, and I don't know how mom didn't notice when she picked it up. After that I wash them. I am sure it is completely unnecessary, but I felt better.

My "how much is enough" is kind of based on whether the germs are ours, or something else I dont even know the origins of. Sick kids, bodily fluids of strangers, manufacturing debris, public restroom germs, and food bacteria are all things I avoid. We have pets and I know my son has managed to get a dog toy into his mouth more than once. I don't worry about that kind of thing so much, all those germs are already in our home anyway.



answers from Savannah on

I tried to boil the stuff when I was going to have my daughter (almost 10yrs ago!) and the hot water destroyed some bottle nipples, the tubbing to the breast pump and a few other things got messed up too!!! I didn't have a dishwasher either so after that I washed everything by hand in soap and water. She never had a problem. I used soap and water and the dishwasher on my son's stuff and he is 4yrs old and just fine. I think back in the day when the water coming out of the faucet wasn't as safe is the main reason for boiling baby stuff.

Good luck and congrats on your new addition!



answers from Miami on

Unless you discover that your baby has allergies, you do not have to use unscented/dye free soaps. I didn't use special detergents for any of my 3 children. But after they are born, if you discover a rash, you usually start with the soaps, that is why they sell these type of soaps, for those with allergies to the strong perfume/dyes in the soap. Buy whatever soap you usually use.

As for sanitizing pacifiers, stuff animals, bottles. Gee, don't you think that is a lot of work? It surely is! It is also unnecessary. When you get any new bottles, simply washing them in hot soapy water is enough. Washing the stuff animals if they are new is not necessary.



answers from Tampa on

Don't get carried away. Stuffed animals do not have to be washed. As far as the boiling the bottles and pacifiers go it's up to you. Personally I would never use a pacifier as they really serve no purpose other then to settle the baby so you don't have to deal with it. I nursed my babies but I did boil the water bottles before the first use but not after that. If your not buying water for the baby you do need to boil the water if you have bad water. Have your water tested and you will know what you need to do. You can over sterilize things and that actually will weaken the babies immune system. The baby needs to be exposed to germs, etc...If you are too protective the baby will end up with allergies to several things later down the road. You can wash the babies clothes in any detergent and softner. It's not going to hurt it one bit. The reason you boil the bottles the first time is to get rid of any oils, etc. from the factory..



answers from Miami on

My thought, and some pediatricians agree, that too much cleanliness is harmful. Their immune systems do have to learn to deal or they will go crazy when they finally do encounter something. That said, just some stuff is necessary. Wash the bottles and pacifiers like you do all your dishes, nothing special. For clothes and toys, I washed everything when I got it just in case there was any irritating dyes or sizing. I still wash the kids toys as needed in the washer with the clothes or dishwasher for hard toys. Your biggest concern will actually be people's germs who want to touch the baby. Most adults know to wash their hands before handling a newborn. But you can keep antibacterial gel around if are worried. I had friends who politely requested we wash our hands so they would know we did. I always asked children to stay out of my kids faces, and if an adult was sneezing or sick, I just politely said the baby had been cranky or some other nice excuse for keeping them to myself. At home, just clean everything the way your normally would, and keep you hands clean. We even have two cats (with a litterbox) and despite people around me freaking out that they'd get toxoplasmosis and die, my kids ages 4-10 are all just fine.



answers from Mayaguez on

When I was a mom and now as a gramma, we boiled bottles, including caps. Pacifiers tend to get mushy, so soap and water should do.
Good luck on your new happy bundle.

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