I never thought of buying an electric sterilizer because it is quite expensive and I thought it would be easy to simply boil the bottles. In fact, after 1 week of feeding my baby, I realized I was wrong. EVERY MINUTE COUNTS!
There are 2 types of steam sterilizer - microwave or electrice. The microwave ones are cheaper and straight-forward to use but personally I prefer the electric one. I am always concerned about microwaving plastic bottles on a long term basis. What do you see in the plastic containers after using them for few months? hum ...
Anyway, I finally bought the AVENT bottle electric sterilizer. On the surface of the sterilizer, the cleaning instructions suggest cleaning / descaling the device with citric acid every 4 weeks or so but it does not say 'HOW'.
What is the hack is citric acid? The answer is simple, lemon juice. Yes, it is that simple. Alternatively, you can use vinegar or fresh lemon but vinegar is likely to leave you some smell in the sterilizer for a while. Anyway, here is what I did on my sterilizer.
1) Dilute the lemon juice. I usually mix one oz of lemon juice with 2 cups of water. If you are using vinegar, then my suggestion would be a 1:1 ratio.
2) Pour the diluted lemon juice into the sterilizer and start boiling. Let the sterilizer cool down before emptying it. In the case of using vinegar, DO NOT start the boiling process. Leave the vinegar in the sterilizer for an hour and examine the result.
3) Unplug the sterilizer. Wipe down any lime-scale with a damp cloth. Rinse the sterilizer multiple times to get rid of any loose scale.
The suggestions above are simply my personal experience and I cannot gaurantee their correctness. Use your judgement if you disagree with me and I am happy to hear from you as well. Happy feeding.