My wife and I automatically go into overdrive when it’s time to clean baby’s clothing, baby bottles and pacifiers. To save some much-needed energy, we bought a lot of machinery to help clean. In maintaining proper hygiene, we spare no effort or expense. Our children prove a match in countering our efforts for they are experts in getting dirty. One minute we give them a clean pacifier the next minute the pacifier falls on the floor, coated with dust. To keep germs at bay, we maintain a rigorous daily cleaning schedule on the belief that these measures would potentially save us from many agonizing moments when my children catch some virus and run a high fever.
The best and most simple method for cleaning your baby’s pacifier is to use good old dish soap to thoroughly wash and rinse their pacifiers. Nowadays we can also get a UV sterilizer to kill the germs, though this can be an expensive option. The best tip for most parents is to keep plenty of pacifiers in stock, and then wash & rinse well with dish soap. An additional tip to not have to clean so often is to use clips that attach a pacifier to your baby’s shirt, so if it falls out, it hangs off of their shirt.
Many parents make a case for early exposure to dirt and germs, asserting that good germs will boost children’s immune system. The problem with this theory is that you can’t separate good germs from “bad germs”, these two are usually mixed. Moreover, it’s impossible to isolate your kids from germs, no matter how over-sterilized your children’s surroundings are.
Keeping good hygiene means maintaining a delicate balance between the ever-increasing capability of your children’s immune system and the amount of “bad germs” they can handle. Once you let your hygiene standard slip, “bad germs” are more likely to sneak into your children’s body system and play havoc with their health.
How to clean pacifiers
My wife prefers to sterilize baby bottles and pacifiers in a steam sterilizer. The particular model we purchased has a drying feature, which saves us a lot of time. You can also run them through the dishwasher. The important thing here is to maintain a daily cleaning schedule.
Here are the simple steps we follow in cleaning pacifiers.
1. Wash with soapy water.
Fill your kitchen sink with warm water, mixed with a few drops of dish liquid, preferably some products made specifically for children. Please make sure the rag or sponge you use is clean; they are usually hotbeds for germs.
2. Check for damage or cracks
Once you rinse them off, please pick them up and look for any sign of damage or cracks. Throw them away if you see any. Don’t be sentimental; Damaged pacifiers are potential choking hazards.
I find a steam sterilizer very handy, but they do take up space and cost money. Read the user instruction carefully before first use.
It’s also great to boil pacifiers in hot water. Heat water to the boiling point then put into your pacifiers and let them simmer for about five minutes.
4. Dry them up
I would usually shake the water off pacifiers to speed up the drying before putting them on a dish drying rack. My sterilizer happens to have a drying feature; it’s swift and convenient.
After you dry up your pacifiers, store them in a clean space to prevent them from being contaminated. What’s the point of cleaning if your storage space is dirty?
I usually store them in a zippered plastic bag, which I only use once before throwing them away.
Once you sealed the pacifiers into a bag, Well done!
If you and your children are out and about, you can also clean them with warm water or breastmilk in a pinch. I highly recommend carrying a lot of spare pacifiers with you in a zippered plastic pouch and another empty bag for storing soiled binky, to be brought home for thorough cleaning. If one binky gets dirty, put it away and take another out to replace it. Many pacifiers on hand also have the added advantage of making future weaning efforts easier because your children are less likely to grow attached to one particular pacifier.
Is it safe to clean pacifiers with your mouth?
Some parents believe a tongue wash is ok for cleaning pacifiers. I once saw a mom pick up a pacifier and put it into her mouth before putting it into her baby’ mouth. Although her motherly love moved me, she would rather eat dust than endanger her baby; I disapproved of her method.
Apart from being an inadequate method to clean, a tongue wash carries the additional risk of transmitting some “bad germ” live inside your mouth to your baby. It’s known that some transmittable disease will delay showing symptoms until a much later stage. Unaware that an infection has already afflicted you, you might unknowingly transmit it to your children.
When is the right time to dispose of a pacifier?
Suppose you are familiar with the theory of evolution. In that case, you will understand that over time, bacterias will build up a resistance to high temperature and even develop a protective layer to shield them from heat. Apart from that, a lot of bacterias will hide inside the cracks after repeated use, making them impervious to the onslaught of running water.
So if you detect cracks on the surface of pacifiers, it’s time to say goodbye to a battered binky because no amount of cleaning is enough to get rid of the bacterias lurking inside cracks, making them a health risk.
It is possible that after a fair amount of abuse, some sealed chemicals, which are not supposed to come into contact with the human body, will eventually leach out despite the manufacturer’s claim of being a BPA free product. Moreover, I won’t risk giving a worn-out binky to my children for broken or loosen pieces could become a choking hazard.
It is not easy to discard a pacifier if your children grew attached to it—all the more reason to replace it frequently. Buy many identical pacifiers to make your children less likely to make a fuss about discarding a pacifier.
Cleaning your baby’s pacifiers is very important because it is among the most heavily used items in your children’s first years, and it has intimate contact with your children’s mouth. Switch them out as frequently as you can afford and wash them as often as you are able.
Refrain from giving your children’s pacifiers a “tongue bath” for you could transmit the virus to your children without knowing it.
Keep many back-up pacifiers on hand in case the one your children use gets dirty or broken. If you are unlucky enough to run out of pacifiers, your nerve probably will stretch to the breaking point while your children throw a tantrum.