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How to Clean or De-scale a Bottle Sterilizer

By Kathryn Hatter ; Updated April 18, 2017
Keep your bottle sterilizer clean to avoid damaging it.

A bottle sterilizer ensures that your baby’s bottles are impeccably clean. A bottle sterilizer holds bottles and other associated parts in a self-contained unit. After you add water, the sterilizer heats it to sterilize the items inside the unit. Over time, minerals contained in water will build up inside the sterilizer. To keep the device working properly, you must clean and descale it regularly following manufacturer instructions.

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Take out the removable parts from the sterilizer to wash them. Generally, the basket disconnects from the sterilizer for cleaning. Wash the basket and other removable parts using the dishwashing detergent and rinse the parts well in plain water.

Wipe the base and the sterilizer cover with a damp cloth.

Pour any water out of the base of the bottle sterilizer to empty it completely.

Measure 1 to 2 ounces of white vinegar into the base of the sterilizer. Allow the white vinegar to sit in the unit for two hours or until you see the mineral scales dissolve.

Pour out the white vinegar and rinse the inside of the unit carefully to remove vinegar residue.

Replace the sterilizer parts and fill the sterilizer with water according to manufacturer instructions. Set the sterilizer to a standard sterilization cycle.

Things You Will Need

  • Dishwashing detergent
  • White vinegar


Some manufacturers recommend using citric acid or descaling solution specifically for bottle sterilizers. If you use citric acid, mix it with water according to package instructions.

Descale the bottle sterilizer every four to six weeks under normal circumstances.

If you have very hard water, descale the sterilizer more frequently to avoid excessive mineral buildup.


Allowing minerals to build up without cleaning the unit could damage it and might void a warranty.

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About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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