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Sanitizing vs Sterilizing Baby Bottles, What’s the Difference?

Did you know there is a difference between sanitizing and sterilizing baby bottles, breast pumps, and more? In fact, there are three different levels to baby-product hygiene - cleaning, sanitizing, and sterilizing. The differences between the three are not arbitrary - the CDC recommends that you sterilize baby feeding items at least once a day with babies younger than three months. Knowing the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and sterilizing can ensure that you keep your baby healthy.

Cleaning

Cleaning refers to the process of washing an item with soap and water to remove dirt, dust, allergens, and residue from visible surfaces. Think of this similar to how you clean your home - you don’t want dust to be floating around, but you also don’t need to deep-clean the tops of dressers or the inside of your desk every time you vacuum. Cleaning gets the surface-layer of dirt and grime clean, but leaves small particles of food and bacteria behind.


Sanitizing

Sanitizing is a step up from the normal cleaning process, as it aims to remove microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and more to a relatively “safe level”. This is often done after cleaning, like how you may rinse off excess tomato sauce from your plate after dinner before putting it into the dishwasher to be sanitized. As adults, we have had years to build up a strong immune system to protect ourselves from what germs and bacteria sanitizing does not reach. However, that “safe level” of remaining microorganisms for adults is does not apply to a baby’s immune system. Babies, especially those younger than three months, may not be protected through sanitizing alone. NOTE: Typically dishwashers only sanitize because the hot water used inside is not as hot as steam.


Sterilizing

Sterilizing means removing 99.9% of all microorganisms present on an item -- typically using steam. This is the gold standard approach to cleaning your baby's bottles and pump parts to ensure they are clean and safe to use. It's why the CDC recommends this and why why maternity wards and NICUs (Neonatal Intensive Care Units) sterilize baby products. 

Do You Need to Sterilize Baby Bottles, Pacifiers, and Breast Pumps?

In short, YES!. Sterilizing baby bottles, pacifiers, breast pumps, and any other material coming into contact with your baby’s mouth or food can protect them from potentially harmful bacteria. And Baby Brezza makes it easy to do this with our line sterilizers and sterilizer-dryers. Click here to find the best approach to sterilizing for you. 

 

Bottle Cleaning

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