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Sterilising Baby Bottles: Steam or UV?

by Chad Ong on

As new parents, we tend to be a little bit of a germophobe since our little ones enter our lives. Everything has to be thoroughly cleaned and sterilised – and with good reason too! Babies have undeveloped immune systems which leave them vulnerable to infections. Furthermore, milk is the perfect breeding ground for yeasts, moulds, and bacteria – making it crucial to sterilise all feeding equipment.

Sterilising baby bottles are especially important if:

  • Baby is younger than a year old – leaving them more vulnerable to viruses
  • Baby has been ill recently, increasing risk of cross-contaminations
  • Baby was born prematurely or has been experiencing health problems.
  • You’re using secondhand or hand-me-down bottles.
  • You use bottle brushes and may be missing spots while cleaning.

While some may argue overprotection of babies can be damaging to their immunity’s development, the idea of sterilisation is to prevent dangerous symptoms such as dehydration due to diarrhoea or vomiting.

There are many ways to sterilise baby bottles – and there has long been a debate over which is the best method, mainly between steam and UV sterilisation.

In this article, we’ll be closely examining steam, UV, and alternative sterilisation methods before deciding which is the best!

What is steam sterilisation?

According to the USA’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC), steam sterilisation is simply the application of moist heat in the form of saturated steam under pressure.

The CDC recognises steam sterilisation as the most widely used and the most dependable as it is:

  • Non-toxic
  • Microbicidal (Kills microorganisms)
  • Sporicidal (Kills spores)

Commercial steam sterilisers function exclusively as sterilisers and dryers, making them limited in their overall use, but extremely effective in sterilising baby bottles. Steam sterilisation allows you to disinfect bottles with steam that exceeds the temperatures of boiling water, giving you that added assurance that your bottle will be free from bacteria and germs.

Steam sterilisers work quickly, are very cost-effective, and work efficiently making them extremely popular – so how about UV sterilizers?

What is UV Sterilisation?

Ultraviolet (UV) sterilization breaks down certain chemical bonds and scrambles the structure of DNA, RNA and proteins, preventing microorganisms from replicating.

As a result, bacteria die and are no longer infectious due to an inability to reproduce.

For sterilization purposes, only UVC of 100-280nm wavelength is capable of killing microorganisms effectively – so if you are shopping for a sterilizer, make sure the UV wavelength is within this range.

At just 254 nm, UV is effective against:

  • Foodborne pathogen
  • Natural microbiota
  • Moulds and yeasts

The strength of UV sterilisation is impacted by the total energy applied which is affected by the length of exposure time and the distance from the light source. Simply put, the closer, and longer exposure time to UV light, the better!

Just like steam sterilisation, UV light requires no chemicals and kills all kinds of bacteria including those that are drug resistant.

Unlike their steam counterparts, UV sterilizers possess more functions such as storage, dryers, self-cleaning etc. Furthermore, UV sterilisers allow you to disinfect more objects including toys, breast pumps, etc. There is also no risk of coming in contact with boiling water.

Alternative sterilisation methods

Other than steam and UV, there are some other popular methods of sterilising baby bottles you may not have encountered:


By filling a large pot with water and boiling your bottles for at least 10 minutes, you can quickly and efficiently sterilise baby’s feeding tools. The downside? The wear and tear on bottles and teats over time drastically increases with direct contact to constant boiling water. Plus, you’re taken away from other tasks while keeping an eye on the boiling pot.

Sterilising tablets

Sterilising tablets are often made of Sodium Dichloroisocynurate – a common cleaning agent and disinfectant. Using sterilising tablets requires you to soak bottles and accessories for at least 30 minutes before drying them.

What works best?

While boiling bottles and sterilising tablets are great, they just don’t give you the same level of assurance that come with either steaming or UV sterilisation.

On top of that, you still have to worry about rinsing post sterilisation, which exposes bottles to potential accidents and cross-sink contamination.

And while steam is the more affordable option, it lacks the functionality of UV sterilisers that help you dry and store bottles and accessories!

So why not try both?

The Harnes All-in-1 Baby Bottle Washer offers BOTH steam and UV sterilisation options – so you can use either at your convenience, or even one after the other for added assurance!

This isn’t your typical steriliser, the Harnes All-in-1 Baby Bottle Washer also washes, rinses, dries, and stores bottles, spoons, milk pump parts, pacifiers and more!

By being multi-functional, the Harnes All-in-1 Baby Bottle Washer saves you extra time, space, and effort by:

  • Occupying less countertop space (about the width of a ream of paper)
  • Greatly reducing time needed to wash and sterilise multiple bottles
  • Free you up to spend time with baby or your loved one while the machine dries and stores bottles for you (which also means less risk of external contamination!)

Want to learn more?

Get yours now by heading over to the official shop of Harnes Singapore now and

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