Ah, pacifiers. Those mystical little soothers are like a mute button for baby’s cries. Recommended by Dr. Harvey Karp in The Happiest Baby on the Block, pacifiers are a key tool in his 5 S’s!
Maybe you’ve registered for ten different types of pacifiers. After all, you never know which ones baby will love and which ones they won’t. And now that you’ve accumulated a drawerful, it’ll be helpful know how to clean them before you give them to baby for the first time.
Before the First Use
Firstly, you always want to sterilize new pacifiers before you give them to baby. There are dozens of different sterilizers on the market these days for baby products, so if you have one of those – use it. The old fashioned way to sterilize a pacifier is to put it in boiling water. To do this, heat up a pot on the stove, and once it reaches a rolling boil, add the pacifier. Boil it for 5-10 minutes. Remove it from the water and let cool.
Always let pacifiers cool properly before giving them to baby. To check, shake the pacifier over your wrist to test if any water droplets are too hot.
How do you clean the inside of a pacifier? HGTV recommends using a pair of tongs to squeeze the nipple so boiling water can get inside.
When Baby Drops the Paci on the Floor
Be it a public place or inside your home, the best way to clean a pacifier that’s fallen on the floor is with soap and water. You can use ordinary dish soap and a clean sponge or rag to clean the paci. Again, make sure it has cooled properly before giving it back to baby.
Tired moms may be reluctant to wash a binky if it only fell on the carpet at home. Giving it a rinse is fine. Even Dr. Harvey Karp says so!
How often should you clean pacifiers? Definitely wash the pacifier with soap and water each day after baby’s been using it, in addition to cleaning it whenever it lands on the floor.
You can opt to put them in the top rack of the dishwasher a couple times a week; just double check that your specific brand of pacifier is dishwasher safe, as latex ones usually are not.
Whatever you do, try to clean those pacifiers on a regular schedule. Why? According to an article at Fatherly, babies can be picky about the taste of their pacifiers! If they’ve gotten used to a binky that hasn’t been washed in a number of days, they may reject a fresh, clean one.
How to Clean Pacifiers on the Go
Some moms in a pinch clean pacifiers by sucking the germs off themselves, but moms can still spread germs to babies and vice versa. A much better alternative is investing in some wipes to clean those pacifiers. Do NOT use baby wipes as these contain chemicals that are not safe for baby’s mouth. Rather, purchase some wipes specifically for pacifiers.
You can also keep extra binkies in your purse. Seal them in a reusable pouch to keep them clean until they’re needed.
A newer method for cleaning pacifiers, and one that we at Pluie LOVE, is using UV sterilizers. Have you seen them? These are plug-in or battery-operated devices that clean pacifiers with the push of a button. It takes less than a minute for them to work. They’re portable, so you can clip one onto your stroller or diaper bag. They’re also cost effective! We’ve found several on the market for less than $20.
When to Replace Pacifiers
If a pacifier starts to show signs of wear, such as becoming sticky or developing cracks, it’s time to replace it. Even BPA free pacifiers can still release chemicals as the material begins to break down, and cracks can lead to broken off bits that are a choking hazard to baby.
The Happiest Baby on the Block, by Harvey Karp, M.D.
Advice shared on this blog cannot substitute the guidance of a doctor or healthcare provider.