If you're looking to keep your baby's bottles sterilised when out and about, visiting family and friends, or have limited storage at home, microwave steriliser bags are a fantastic solution for cleaning feeding equipment or items that are often in your little one's mouth.
They take up a lot less space than electric sterilisers, are much easier to clean, and do the job quickly - all you need is a microwave!
We've answered any and all questions you may have about microwave steriliser bags, and listed the best to buy.
What are microwave steriliser bags?
Exactly what they say on the tin! Microwave steriliser bags are bags that you pop your bottles, soothers, teethers, breast pumps, or teats into before adding the recommended amount of water. Then you simply pop these steriliser bags in the microwave and within minutes they're ready to go.
Microwave steriliser bags rely on a microwave, so make sure you have one of these to hand if they're going to be a regular cleaning tool in your day-to-day life.
They're small, compact and ideal for travelling, but it's worth keeping in mind that due to their size, you may need an alternative sterilising solution for larger items such as breast pumps.
How do microwave steriliser bags work?
Babies don't start producing germ-fighting antibodies until they're six months old, but by the time baby reaches their first birthday, their body will be able to kill off bacteria all by itself.
For that reason, the NHS says that it is important to sterilise all your baby's feeding equipment, including bottles and teats until they are at least 12 months old.
The microwave boils the water and creates a build-up of steam which eliminates 99.9 per cent of bacteria by blasting them with 100°C water vapour.
To clean thoroughly, put bottles in upside down, and space out rings and teats to fully sterilise them. The time it takes depends on your microwave and the manufacturer's instructions with times ranging from 90 seconds to six minutes.
How long do bottles stay sterile in microwave bags?
The different manufacturers will give guidelines as to how long you can leave equipment in the steriliser bags before it needs to be sterilised again with periods of time varying up to 24 hours. Make sure to check these to make sure you're keeping your baby's feeding accessories as sterile as possible.
Best microwave steriliser bags
The Munchkin Cool Touch Microwave Steriliser Bags were Shortlisted for Best Steriliser/Sterilising Product at the 2021 Mother&Baby Awards.
Feed. Sterilise. Repeat. These super convenient bags make it easy to sterilisr any place, any time, and kill up to 99.9 per cent of common bacteria on bottles, pump parts, and accessories in as little as 90 seconds. Each bag in this pack of six can be used 30 times and includes an Easy Close Pull Tab for easy, repeated use. The bags also comes with an easy spot to mark after each steam cycle to help you keep track of how many times you have used them.
For the amount of usage, value, and promising reviews from our mum testers and customers online, this one gets our Mother&Baby seal of approval.
Our mum tester Holly said: "I would recommend this product to fellow mums as it is very easy to use and convenient. With each bag being able to be used up to 30 times and with six in a pack, 180 uses is good value for money. They will last quite a while maybe even the six months of the sterilising process. They are easy to transport if you are at other people's houses and they don't have a steriliser."
Read our full tried and tested review by real mums here.
Sterilising in just 90 seconds, each Nuby Microwave Steriliser Bag in this pack of six has up to 30 uses and a handy chart to where you can keep track of the number of uses on the bag. Bacteria, chemical, and BPA free, these bags kill up to 99.9 per cent of germs and make for a light, space-saving, sterilising solution.
One reviewer said: "We use microwave sterilising bags as our staple for everyday bottle sterilisation. I have tried ,any different brands and when the Nuby ones arrived, I was pleasantly surprised. Liked the fact that there is a transparent window to see the content, also that the boxes to indicate use are big and clear. It can be used up to 30 x, this is more than the other sterilising bags of the same kind, as they can usually be used up to 20x before the shape changes. So far, after 2 batches of the bags, none have had distorted shape after 30 uses. An excellent product."
These five handy sterile bags are great to carry your gear in that can also be resealed to carry stuff back in later. Simply pop in your pump, bottles, soothers, or other items you want to sterilise, add 60ml water, then microwave for 90 seconds. Each steriliser bag can be reused up to 30 times, which cuts down on waste, and a handy checkbox helps you keep track of how many times you’ve used each bag. The secure seal makes sure no steam can escape after sterilising, and the cool touch area provides a big, clearly marked space to hold the bag so that your fingers don’t get scalded.
One reviewer said: "Such a helpful invention. They're fantastic to keep one folded up in the changing bag in case of emergencies. Very easy to use and certainly does the job it is meant to do. The bags are a good thickness. They are more than worth the money and they are fantastic value. I definitely recommend these to anyone who is considering getting them."
The Philips Avent SCF297/05 Microwave Steam Steriliser Bags were Shortlisted for Best Travel Product Under £25 at the 2019 Mother&Baby Awards.
These microwave steam steriliser bags are ideal for sterilising your baby's feeding equipment as they can kill 99.9 per cent of bacteria in as little as 90 seconds. Coming in a pack of five bags, each bag can be used 20 times and they feature a handy checkbox area for you to keep track of usage. The bags also have a sneak peek window to allow you to quickly check on the contents, while a Safe Zone on each bag allows you to remove the bags from the microwave safely.
Our mum tester Georgie said: "I'd recommend this product to fellow mums if they are travelling. Sterilisers are big and bulky and can take up a lot of car/luggage space so these are ideal to throw in the case as they take up no space at all! Another perk is that there are 100 uses in total so you won't be caught short with no way of sterilising bottles and dummies. I'd recommend due to the short time it takes to sterilise. When you're not prepared and in a rush with a hungry baby, you can sterilise and feed very quickly."
Check out our full tried and tested review of the Philips Avent SCF297/05 Microwave Steam Steriliser Bags.
The ASDA Little Angels Microwave Sterilising Bags won Bronze for Best Travel Product Under £25 at the 2020 Mother&Baby Awards.
These bags are a quick and convenient way to sterilise bottles, teats, soothers, and other microwave steriliser safe accessories - ready in less than five minutes. Each bag can be used up to 20 times and kills up to 99.9 per cent of pesky germs just like full-sized sterilisers. They take up a fraction of the space making them perfect for when you're at home or on your travels!
Our mum tester Nicola said: "I'd recommend these microwave sterilising bags to any parent to keep in their change bag, and maybe to keep a few in the car or at a grandparent's house for example. They are small and compact and can be stored anywhere. They can be reused up to 20 times which is handy, and they take a maximum of 5 minutes. They're easy to use and all the instructions are written on each bag too which is great as I threw the box for mine away!"
Read our full tried and tested review here.
Medela's pack of five Quick Clean Microwave Bags effectively remove 99.9 per cent of common germs and bacteria, so you can be rest assured of a thorough clean as well as a speedy steaming solution. These microwave bags are BPA free and can be reused up to 20 times, meaning they're economical as well as convenient. It works in just three minutes, they have a recommended cool touch corner, and a super handy steam/pour spout to help pour out the water from the bag.
One reviewer said: "We were introduced to these in hospital when our baby was in NICU and my partner was pumping in the ward. These are so handy! Easy to use, no fuss, can take on holiday. We don’t stick to the 20 use guide on the bag as we simply change when they get overly worn, and they’ve been great. The items do get very hot straight out of the microwave but so long as you are cautious there’s no need to worry.
"Especially handy for grandparents who look after the baby from time to time and have no need for a more permanent sterilising solution."
Dr Brown's Microwave Steriliser Bags will quickly sterilise bottles and other parts and accessories and eliminate 99.9 per cent of bacteria and germs. The reusable BPA free bags are safe for hospital use and be can be used up to 20 times - ready in up to five minutes depending on your microwave's watts. These bags also feature a handy check box system to keep track of uses, and an area to add your or your little one's name.
One reviewer said: "I bought these for holidays and they have proved to be very handy! You just need to remember to cross off the box so you know exactly how many times you have used the reusable bags! Get yourself a permanent marker when you buy the bags so you are ready to go."
The Vital Baby Nurture Microwave Sterilising Bags claim to have great size for sterilising up to three bottles, teats, collars, and caps all in one go. Providing fast and safe 100 per cent chemical-free sterilisation, you can get up to 30 uses from a single bag with five in a pack. They're perfect for use where there is no space for a bulky electric steriliser, or while you are away with baby.
One reviewer on Ocado said: "Easy to use and does the work perfectly well. I used it when not at home. Perfect for sterilising dummies and bottles together. It's faster and easier than boiling water!"
Are microwave steriliser bags safe?
Yes, so long as you follow the right precautions to make sure they're safe for you and your little one.
Firstly, you should make sure the bags are BPA-free to avoid chemicals contaminating your baby's feeding equipment. All our shortlisted picks are BPA-free and come from manufacturers that you can trust.
You need to be careful when you remove the bag from the microwave as the steam will be extremely hot - make sure to wait a few minutes to cool before opening.
You should also be careful with what you put in the steriliser bag. It goes without saying that metal is a no-go for the microwave, and you should make sure anything you put in, is clearly 'microwave safe'.
Before you start using your new microwave steriliser bags, check the manufacturer's instructions to ensure you're adding the correct amount of water.
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