How to keep your bottle-feeding equipment clean

Look after your formula-fed baby by keeping bottle-feeding equipment clean.

Breast feeding is the best choice of food for your baby. It is recommended that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond.

If you are unable or choose not to breast feed, formula is the only suitable replacement.  While formula feeding, it is essential that you take care of the bottle feeding equipment. No matter what method you’re using (boiling, chemical, or steaming), you should always remember to wash and dry your hands thoroughly, and if necessary use sterilised tongs to handle the bottle and equipment. Here are three ways you can clean your equipment.


It’s simple and effective. Firstly, wash all your bottles and equipment in hot soapy water then rinse, or wash them in the top rack of the dishwasher. Then place and cover them in a large pot of water. With the lid on, bring to a constant boil.  Even after you’ve turned off the heat, you can leave the lid on until you need any of the items. And if you have to take out any items before they’re needed, just make sure they’re covered and stored in a dry, clean place.  It’s a good idea to get in the habit of storing the bottles with the teat already attached, and the lid on.


Chemical sterilisers are great disinfectant solutions, and come in either a liquid or tablet form. Before you get started, you’ll need to first wash all your equipment in hot soapy water, or in the top rack of the dishwasher. And because you’re dealing with chemicals, it’s really important to follow the manufacturers instructions.

These usually include completely submerging the bottles and equipment under the solution, then leaving them for at least 30 minutes.  If it’s easier, you can simply leave the equipment in the solution until you need them. 

When you’re finished, shake off any excess water from the bottles and equipment, but never rinse them, as this will remove the sterilisation and expose the equipment to germs. It’s worth knowing that chemical solutions only last around 24 hours, which means you’ll have to prepare a new batch every day.


Heat is one of the easiest ways to kill germs. And you can do it with either an electric steamer or microwave. Again, you’ll need to wash all your bottles and equipment in hot soapy water then rinse, or wash them in the top rack of the dishwasher. Then follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your electric or microwave steaming unit, including how much water you’ll need to add, and how long the items need to be steamed for. Just like with boiling and chemical solutions, you can leave the equipment in the unit until they’re needed. 


Ministry of Health - Feeding your baby Infant Formula - 2013

Ministry of Primary Industries - Safe feeding for infants - Accessed 30th November 2015