When you bring your new baby home, you might think every surface of your house needs to be sterile, but babies are actually tougher than most people give them credit for. However, this doesn’t mean you can just plop a bottle into your little one's mouth without cleaning it first. Although sterilization isn’t necessary after each use -- a good washing will suffice -- a baby bottle should be sterilized before the first use and anytime you feel it’s come into contact with germs, after your child has recovered from an illness or if the bottle has been contaminated in any way.
Wash your hands with warm water and hand soap prior to sterilizing the bottles.
Disassemble all removable parts of the bottle. All baby bottles are different. Some may just have a bottle and nipple, while others may have a straw-type mechanism inside the bottle.
Wash all parts of the bottle in a clean sink with hot, soapy water. Rinse well to remove all traces of soap. Lay all the bottle parts, except the nipples and nipple rings, on a clean dish towel or dish rack to dry.
Place the nipples and nipple rings into a pot. Fill the pot with enough water to cover everything.
Put the pot on the stove over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Let the bottle parts boil for a minimum of 10 minutes. Turn off the heat after the elapsed time.
Remove the nipples and rings from the hot water with a pair of tongs and place them on the towel or dish rack to dry.
You can also sterilize the bottle itself by boiling it for at least 10 minutes, although the most important part of the bottle to sterilize is the nipple, since it goes into and touches the baby’s mouth.
Place bottles in the dishwasher as an alternative sterilizing method. Disassemble the bottle and put it on the top rack of the dishwasher. Place small parts and nipples in a basket. Run the items through a wash cycle with hot water to sanitize.