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Can You Sterilize Rubber Nipples in a Microwave?

By Darlene Peer ; Updated April 18, 2017
Sterilize rubber nipples with boiling water or anti-bacterial sterilizing solution.

Microwaves have made so many jobs in the kitchen faster so it's tempting to throw baby's feeding supplies in there for a quick ride around the turnstile. Resist the temptation to take the easy way. Not all materials can stand the heat of a microwave and rubber is one of them.

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Burning Rubber

Excessive heat can warp or deform both bottles and nursing nipples. Generally, it's safe to use a microwave with an output of 500 to 700 watts, according to Pigeon.com.sg. Anything stronger might render your feeding supplies useless. Natural rubber is not microwave safe. Plastic and silicone nipples can be sterilized in the microwave using a microwave sterilization kit, but rubber and latex nipples might start to break down and lose their shape in the extreme heat, according to BabycareAdvice.com.

Keep It Up

When you're dragging your heels for another midnight feeding, you might be tempted to, just this once, skip the sterilization process in favor of a little more sleep. If your baby is younger than 9 months of age, keep sterilizing. Your wailing little sweetheart isn't strong enough to resist micro-organisms yet and might get sick without proper sterilization, which can lead to even less sleep for everyone in the house. It's also a good idea to sterilize for older babies when baby's already sick or when it's hot and mold is more likely to grow, according to Pigeon.com.sg.

Proper Cleaning

Remember, sterilizing the rubber nipple is only effective if it's already been cleaned. No matter what kind of nipple you use, it should be sterilized in a microwave sterilizing kit, not just dropped in a glass of water. It's worth purchasing nipple cleaning brushes to help scrub rubber nipples and keep them clean. Silicone rubber nipples can tear easily so you have to wash them gently. Use your finger to brace the rubber as you wash so it doesn't tear. Most feeding equipment can be washed in the dishwasher, although you might want to turn off the heat dry setting to avoid warping. The temperature in a dishwasher usually isn't high enough or held long enough to kill germs so, even after a trip through the dishwasher, sterilization is still necessary. It's always best to wash the bottles and rubber nipples as soon as your tot has finished her meal.

How to Sterilize a Rubber Nipple

There are two ways to safely sterilize a rubber nipple, according to BabycareAdvice.com. You can drop the nipple and bottles in boiling water for five minutes. Put the lid on and keep the water at a rolling boil. As it cools, continue to leave the lid on so there isn't a risk of contamination. Always wash your hands before handling sterilized equipment. If you're not using it right away, store the bottle and nipple in the fridge, with the nipple turned downward into the bottle. Be warned, boiling can cause the color to change for bottles and nipples. The other method is anti-bacterial sterilizing solution. You can buy it in tablet or liquid form at most drugstores and supermarkets. Follow the instructions carefully -- it usually involves soaking the feeding equipment for at least an hour.

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About the Author

Darlene Peer has been writing, editing and proofreading for more than 10 years. Peer has written for magazines and contributed to a number of books. She has worked in various fields, from marketing to business analysis. Peer received her Bachelor of Arts in English from York University.

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