How to sterilize pacifiers

Part of good pacifier hygiene is frequent cleaning of the pacifiers. The younger the child, the more important it is to protect it from bacteria and maintain good pacifier hygiene.

There are different methods of sterilizing pacifiers. Below we will go through all of them:

Before first use

Remember to sterilize the pacifiers when you take them out of the packaging! This is done by putting the pacifiers in plenty of boiling water for 5 minutes. This applies to both latex and silicone pacifiers.

Natural rubber latex can smear off to the shield in rare cases, so it is important to sterilize in plenty of water and we recommend sterilizing latex pacifiers separately. This only applies before first use.

 

Sterilization by scalding

This is the method we recommend for cleaning both latex and silicone pacifiers subsequently:

  • Put the pacifiers in a clean bowl. Pour boiling water over the pacifiers.
  • Let the pacifiers soak for approx. 5 min.
  •       Pick them up and let them dry on a clean towel.
    A lemon, bowl, and spoon on a table.

    This method is gentle, but still gets rid of bacteria without compromising the durability of the pacifier. We only recommend boiling the pacifiers before the first use - not subsequent cleaning. Pacifiers are not meant to be boiled repeatedly and can be destroyed by continual exposure to high heat. Instead, follow the instructions above. 

    Sterilization by microwave sterilization

    Be aware that latex will break down if the temperature exceeds 100°C / 212°F. Therefore, we do not recommend microwave sterilization of natural rubber latex.

    Silicone endures higher temperatures than latex. Therefore, you can use microwave sterilization for silicone pacifiers. However, make sure that the temperature does not exceed 110°C / 230°F. The pacifier shield is made of PP, which will break if temperatures exceed 110°C / 230°F. Also, repeatedly exposing pacifiers to temperatures above 100°C can be harsh on them, and it will shorten their durability and lifespan over time.

    Therefore, our general recommendations are that to use microwave sterilizations you must check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure the temperature stays around 100°C / 212°F. In most microwaves, this means that the pacifiers must be heated for a maximum of 60 seconds at max. 800W. Always remember to put the pacifiers in water in a sterilization box made for the purpose. Never place the pacifiers in the microwave without!

    Read our blog post on how to microwave sterilize silicone pacifiers in our BIBS pacifier Box >

    Sterilization by electric steam sterilizing devices

    Be aware that latex will break down if the temperature exceeds 100°C / 212°F. Therefore, we do not recommend using steam sterilizer devices for natural rubber latex pacifiers. 

    Silicone endures higher temperatures than latex. Therefore, you can use electric steam sterilizing devices for silicone pacifiers. However, make sure that the temperature does not exceed 110°C. The pacifier shield is made of PP, which will break if temperatures exceed 110°C / 212°F. And like with microwave sterilization, exposing the pacifiers repeatedly to temperatures above 100°C can be harsh on pacifiers. Therefore, our general recommendations are that to use steam sterilizer devices you must check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure the temperature stays around 100°C / 212°F.

    Sterilization by UV sterilizing devices

    We do not recommend using UV sterilizing devices for either natural rubber latex or silicone pacifiers

    Natural rubber latex is a natural material that undergoes a natural aging process, that can be influenced by external forces such as UV light. Therefore, never use a UV sterilizer for our latex pacifiers as it will damage the material. Also never leave natural rubber latex in direct sunlight.

    Further, UV light only kills germs if it directly shines on the product surface containing bacteria, unlike steam which is a gas and can easily spread across the entire surface of a pacifier regardless of shape. Therefore, we do not recommend using a UV sterilizer for any of our pacifiers.

    Sterilization by using sterilizing solutions

    We do not recommend using the sterilizing solution for either natural rubber latex or silicone pacifiers, as the solution can damage the material if the pacifier is left in for longer than recommended.

    Sterilization by dishwasher cleaning

    We do not recommend cleaning either latex or silicone pacifiers in a dishwasher. The cleaning agents can damage the material (both latex and silicone) and it can become brittle. Furthermore, most dishwashers do not reach temperatures high enough to sufficiently sterilize the pacifiers.

    If you experience water in the nipple

    After cleaning it is not unusual that water remains in the nipple. This is because all our pacifier nipples are equipped with a valve, letting out air when the baby closes down on the nipple. This ventilation system causes the air from inside the nipple to be pushed out through the valve thereby flattening the nipple to shape naturally after the baby's oral cavity. The valve is also the reason why water can be present inside the nipple after cleaning and sterilization. If this is the case, simply just squeeze the nipple flat to press out the excess water. If water drops remain in the nipple, just let the pacifier air-dry.

    How often should I clean the pacifiers?

    Part of good pacifier hygiene is frequent cleaning of the pacifiers. The younger the child, the more important it is to protect it from bacteria and maintain good pacifier hygiene. This is mainly because small children’s immune system has not yet managed to get acquainted with all the different bacteria, and therefore it will not have learned to “defend” against them yet. 

    You should sterilize your baby’s pacifiers regularly, but don’t overdo it. Sterilization can be harsh on pacifiers, depending on the method Our general recommendation is to scald the pacifiers once a day.