Medela Steam Bags Instructions and Guide

If you’re like me and you have both a newborn and an endless to-do list, the Medela steam bags instructions are like a prescription for a tiny bit of time-saving relief.

To use the steam bags: wash the objects, put two ounces of water in the bag with them, seal and microwave the bag for 1.5 minutes, and pour the remaining water out of the steam vent before opening.

More info below on detailed instructions!

Medela Steam Bags Instructions

1. Wash the pieces

Before putting the objects you want to sterilize in the bag, disassemble and hand wash them with soap and warm water.

2. Put two ounces of water in bag with the objects

After washing the objects, put two ounces of water or 60 milliliters (any temperature) in the bottom of the bag and place the objects inside.

Keep in mind if you put in less than two ounces, the objects may shrink.

3. Seal and microwave the bag for at least 1.5 minutes

With the water and objects in the bag, close the seal and microwave it for 1.5 minutes.

Depending on how many watts your microwave is, you may want longer than 1.5 minutes.

1100 watts = 1.5 minutes
800-1000 watts = 3 minutes
500-750 watts = 5 minutes

4. Pour remaining water out of the steam vent

Pour out the leftover water in the bag out of the small on the side of the bag before opening.

(The hole is marked with a red circle and an arrow pointing saying “steam vent/pour spout”.)

5. Mark the back of the bag

After each use of the bag, you can make a mark the next number on the back of the bag to keep track of how many sterilizations you have before needing a new bag.

More below on random steam bag questions…

What can go in Medela steam bags?

Pump breast shields, breast milk bottles, accessories, bottle nipples, and pacifiers. Any products that are made to withstand the heat of steam sterilization. 

Can you reuse the sterilizing bags?

Yes – one bag can be used up to 20 times. 

After each use, leave the bag open and upside down to dry so any moisture can dry before the next use.

What about more than 20 uses?

Medela only recommends using each bag 20 times and you’re potentially dealing with germs, so using it more than 20 times is definitely discouraged.

If you need to sterilize a bottle or pacifier and don’t have a bag, you can also use one of these methods.

Do Medela bags expire?

Yes – they “expire” after the 20 uses, but you likely won’t notice any damage to the bag. It’s smart to keep track of the number of uses on the back of each bag. 

Each bag has the numbers 1 through 20 printed on the back, and you can cross off each number with a marker after each use.

Can you steam sterilize Medela pump parts?

Yes – Medela pump parts can be steam sterilized in Medela or other brand steam sterilization bags. 

Keep in mind you won’t want to put tubing in the sterilization bags as it can cause the tubes to deform and that can cause the pump to not work as easily.

See these tube cleaning instructions for how to wash the tubes separately.

Can you use Medela steam bags for Spectra pumps?

Yep! Spectra pumps can be sterilized in any brand of steam sterilizing bag. The only pieces you don’t put in the bag are the tubing and motor.

How about Dr. Brown products?

Yes again. Dr. Brown bottles, pacifiers, and pump parts can all go in a Medela steam bag. 

Dr. Brown also has its own branded steam bags but any items you can put in a Dr. Brown bag can also be sterilized in a Medela bag.

New dad?

If you’re a new dad figuring out how to sterilize your baby stuff, you might be interested in our new dad podcast episode recommendations and some key Ubbi diaper pail topics.