Pacifiers seem to spend as much time on the floor as they do in baby's mouth. Little babies just can't help it, sleepy babies do the paci droop and drop, and older babies.... well, pacifier flinging becomes a favorite sport. At home, most parents are content to go with the 5-second rule with a dropped pacifier. However, any parent who has ever picked up that dropped pacifier from a restaurant floor, or a busy sidewalk, knows that sometimes a quick wash doesn't seem like enough.
Babies also transfer a lot of germs from their hands and other surfaces to their mouths, eyes, and noses, which makes illnesses super-easy to spread. It's a good idea to clean up pacifiers after an illness, to keep the germs from taking up residence again. If you're using a breast pump, your pacifier sterilizer may also be able to do double duty by sanitizing the breast pump parts.
For everyday cleaning, a the dishwasher basket or little bit of dish soap and hot water is probably sufficient to keep those pacifiers clean enough for baby, unless there's some other reason that sanitizing with steam, UV, or boiling is needed often. Before you choose a method to clean or sanitize the pacifier, be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions. Are there any cleaning or sanitizing methods that are not recommended?
Sanitize Pacifiers Cheaply With Boiling Water
Dunking pacifiers in boiling water is an easy way to tackle the germs that can't be washed off, of course.
The boiling water method doesn't require the purchase of any extra equipment, either, so it's an economical option. You can just use any pot on your stove and some tongs. Be careful not to boil the pacifiers for too long, though, or plastic pieces could become warped or brittle.
Other Pacifier Sterilizing Choices
There are some more convenient, and even portable, ways to sterilize a pacifier, though.
Nowadays, several companies make pacifier sterilizers that are easy to use and available in a wide range of prices. Some are compact and designed to be used on the go, while others are better for home use and are large enough to also sterilize bottles and small toys that might end up in baby's mouth.
Microwave Steam Pacifier Sterilizers
A steam sterilizer cleans up pacifiers through heat, just like boiling water, but you don't have to stand over a pot of hot water to do the job. Some steam pacifier sterilizers are very small and can only fit a few pacifiers or small toys, while others are large enough to hold the pacifiers along with larger baby bottles or toys.
The most basic reusable steam pacifier sterilizers require you to load up the container and pop it into the microwave. If you're only sterilizing small items occasionally, there are inexpensive disposable microwave steam sterilizer bags, too. The bags take up less cabinet space, but if you use very many of them, the cost can add up fast.
- Buy Avent Microwave Steam Sterilizer on Amazon
- Buy Dr. Brown's Microwave Steam Sterilizer Bags on Amazon
Electric Steam Pacifier Sterilizers
You can also find counter-top models that generate the steam with electricity.
Electric steam sterilizers do tend to cost more than microwave models, but often they have more capacity if you're also sterilizing bottles or toys.
UV Pacifier Sterilizers
Ultraviolet light is another way to combat germs on pacifiers. There are two types of UV sterilizers available - counter-top models and portable styles. The counter-top types are incredibly convenient, but tend to be the most expensive of the sterilizing options. These sterilizers are typically fairly large, and can hold items other than pacifiers. You can sterilize bottles, other toys, TV remotes (they're germy!), phones, and anything else that might be harboring germs. Since the light doesn't create heat, you can sterilize a lot of items that would otherwise be ruined with boiling water or steam.
Portability is a big advantage of battery-operated UV pacifier sterilizers, since you don't need to have access to a microwave, water or electricity to get rid of the germs. You can sterilize that pacifier anywhere! However, with portability comes sacrifice. Many battery-operated UV pacifier sterilizers are really only big enough for the paci, so you'll need another mechanism for sanitizing bottles or toys.