Pacifiers come in all shapes, sizes and materials, and the sterilizing regimen you use will depend on the type of pacifier your baby uses: latex pacifiers are not generally dishwasher-safe while silicone pacifiers generally are. The pacifier's manufacturer also includes cleaning and sterilization recommendations specific to that type of pacifier. Additionally, you should always sterilize your pacifier's before your baby uses it for the first time to rid the pacifier of any residual chemicals from the manufacturing process.
Pacifiers that are dishwasher-safe can be sterilized in the dishwasher. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends this method when your water does not have chlorine. Most city water systems treat their water with chlorine, but if yours does not, or if your home has well water, the dishwasher method is ideal. Place the pacifier in the top rack of the dishwasher. A dishwasher caddy may be helpful in keeping the pacifier from falling down to the bottom of the dishwasher. Make sure your water temperature is set to about 120 degrees but no higher.
Another method of sterilization recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics if your water does not contain chlorine is the stove-top method. This method is also ideal for use with pacifiers that are not dishwasher-safe. Start with a pot filled with enough water to cover to pacifier. Boil the water and place the pacifier in the boiling water. Cover and leave for 5 to 15 minutes; the time depends on your pacifier manufacturer's recommendations.Remove the pacifier with tongs and let air dry on a clean towel.
If your water has chlorine in it, a thorough wash with hot, soapy water will sterilize your baby's pacifier according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Wash your baby's pacifier with hot, soapy water and rinse well throughout the day or when the pacifier is dropped on the floor. To prevent fungus, give the pacifier a good soak in a vinegar-water solution for a few minutes each day. Use equal parts vinegar and water and rinse the pacifier well after the soak. Let the pacifier air dry before giving it back to your baby.
When to Replace the Pacifier
Pacifiers can wear down for a number of reasons. The age of the pacifier and how often it is used most affect its deterioration. Teething babies may also begin chewing their pacifiers and quicken the process. Always inspect the pacifier before giving it to your baby. Check for cracked areas or places where the material is wearing thin. Look for holes, tears and discoloration. Some pacifiers will also become sticky with age. Aging pacifiers are dangerous to your baby because pieces can break off and become a choking hazard, so replace the pacifier as soon as it begins to show signs of wear.