Is It Safe to Use Second Hand Sterilizer (e.g. Tommee Tippee’s)?

Balint Horvath, PhD

Writer, parent, and veteran of baby feeding battles.


Are you wondering if it’s safe to use a second hand sterilizer for your baby’s bottles, pacifiers, and other feeding equipment? I’ve got all the answers for you. As more parents battle with rising living costs, buying second-hand baby equipment helps to keep the expenses down. 

It’s safe to use secondhand sterilizers as long as they’re in good working order and there are no obvious defects. Used sterilizers should be cleaned before sanitizing baby bottles and other feeding equipment. The manufacturer’s manual should be included with used sterilizers.

Key takeaways

  • Used bottle sterilizers can be found on online marketplaces, at local secondhand shops, or through friends and family who have had babies.
  • Secondhand sterilizers are safe as long as they’re in good working order and clean.
  • Comparing the pros and cons of new vs. used sterilizers will help you make the right decision for you.
  • The biggest advantage of buying a secondhand sterilizer is affordability and it’s an eco-friendly choice.
  • Looking out for defects and giving the sterilizer a trial run will indicate if the switches and wiring are in running order and the appliance is safe to use. 
  • Hot water, dish soap, and a scrubbing brush will ensure the used sterilizer is hygienic. 

Can you buy a second-hand sterilizer?

Yes, you can buy a secondhand sterilizer from a number of places, including Facebook Marketplace and local thrift shops. However, safety is your number one concern as well as the effectiveness of the machine. Assessing the condition of the sterilizer will help you determine if the used appliance is suitable for your sanitizing needs. 

You’ll find some tips down below on what to look out for when viewing a secondhand sterilizer. 

Is it safe to use a second-hand sterilizer? 

If the secondhand sterilizer is in good condition, clean, and works properly, it’s safe to use. Reading the manufacturer’s guidelines will ensure you operate the equipment correctly so there’s no issue with unhygienic feeding equipment. 

New vs used sterilizers

Tossing up between a new or second hand Tommee Tippee sterilizer depends on several factors. While some parents won’t budge on using only new equipment for safety and hygiene reasons, others don’t hesitate to use a secondhand Tommee Tippee sterilizer if it’s not malfunctioning. 

Let’s talk about the pros and cons of new vs. used sterilizers.

Pros of new sterilizers

  • The equipment is wired correctly to meet safety standards
  • Uses up-to-date technology and functions
  • Comes with a manufacturer’s manual and guidelines
  • Could have a warranty
  • Clean and hygienic

Cons of new sterilizers

  • Could be pricey for families on a tight budget

Pros of used sterilizers

  • Saves money (and time)
  • Gives you access to top quality brands
  • Does the job if in good working order

Cons of used sterilizers

  • Needs to be cleaned well before using
  • Could have hidden defects
  • May not come with the manufacturer’s instructions
  • No warranty

Why do people want second-hand sterilizers?

Up to 36% of New York City households are battling with rising living expenses, and families are struggling to cover basic needs. This trend isn’t isolated to NYC as other countries face financial constraints. More people are looking for secondhand clothing, furniture, and baby gear to protect their income. 

Buying secondhand sterilizers is a cost-effective solution for families on a tight budget. Bottle sterilizers only need to be used for a few months otherwise you’re wasting your time! According to CDC, you need to sterilize your baby’s bottle daily until they’re three months old or longer if they’re immunocompromised. 

Sterilizers, especially second-hand ones are also the winners when comparing sterilizers with dishwashers since the latter only sanitizes and it does not have a sterilization function.

Watch this video which talks about whether you need to sterilize baby bottles or not.

Spending loads of money on a new sterilizer that’s only going to be used for three months seems like an unnecessary expense. This also means that secondhand sterilizers have hardly been used and if well-cared for, should work just as well for the next baby. 

As eco-friendly parents, my wife and I are always on the lookout for secondhand children’s equipment that’s safe and hygienic to use. Re-using secondhand bottle sterilizers is one of the ways you can do your bit for the environment!

How long do bottle sterilizers last?

How long bottle sterilizers depends on the brand, quality, and how well it’s been handled. As bottle sterilizers aren’t used for longer than three to four months at a time, a good quality machine could last you up to two years or more

A quick tip! Before buying a secondhand bottle sterilizer make sure your bottle brand fits it  If you’re using anti-colic bottles, you want to make sure that for example, MAM bottles fit in all Tommee Tippee sterilizers. 

What should you look for in a second-hand sterilizer?

Make sure there’s no wear and tear

When inspecting a used sterilizer, check it out for general wear and tear. You can expect to find the odd scratch but overall, it should look in good condition. There should be no cracks, holes, or bad dents.

The sterilizer must be clean 

Knowing how to clean a second hand sterilizer will give you peace of mind that it’s safe and hygienic for your baby’s feeding needs. However, buy a used sterilizer that looks clean from the start – there’s less likelihood of bacterial or mold growth in an item that has been well-cared for and kept clean. 

The switches must work 

If possible, give the used sterilizer a trial run before purchasing it. Test the different switches and make sure they’re working properly. Running the sterilizer also tells you if the wiring is in running order. 

There must be no open wires 

When viewing a secondhand sterilizer, you want to look out for any open wires. Avoid buying or using a bottle sterilizer that has exposed wiring as this becomes a safety hazard.

All lids must close securely 

Test that the lids are closing securely and that there are no cracks or damage to them. The sterilizer won’t sanitize your baby’s bottles effectively if the lids don’t seal when closed. 

How do you sterilize (disinfect) a second-hand sterilizer?

Even if the used sterilizer looks clean, disinfecting it yourself ensures the item is safe and hygienic. Use the following steps to clean your secondhand sterilizer:

  • Hot water and soap: Thoroughly clean all parts of the sterilizer with a scrubbing brush, hot water, and dish soap. Don’t forget to clean the heating element, baskets, removable trays, and the exterior of the appliance. 
  • Run the sterilizer: Switch on the appliance and run it empty a few times. This helps to sterilize the appliance’s equipment and interior. 
  • Sterilizing solution: This is an optional step if you’re extra concerned about germs. Wipe the interior and exterior of the machine with a sterilizing solution such as Milton before running the appliance empty. 

Some parents recommend descaling used sterilizers but this isn’t necessary.  

Wrap up

Is it okay to buy used bottle sterilizer? My answer would be a definite yes as long as you check that the appliance is safe and effective. With so many other uses for bottle sterilizers, having a secondhand one will save you time and money.

Another device that has a similar function is a UV sterilizer which I compared to a steam version.

Photo of author


I’m Balint, founder of this site and a father (and dad) to a baby-turned toddler. I found the world of babies so fascinating that I started a blog dedicated only to that topic. By the way, I studied physics, engineering (PhD, MSc), and therefore I do a thorough research when I write about something. Since it’s a blog, of course I also write about my personal experiences.

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