How Long Should Something Be Boiled to Sterilize It?

Boiling anything for sterilisation can take anywhere between 1 and 20 minutes on average. It depends on the thing being sterilised as to how long.

The microorganisms that cause disease are frequently found in water, or more specifically groundwater. However, the organisms are destroyed when the water reaches a full boil. The same result is achieved by boiling food in water.

For instance, it is recommended that both parents and cooks boil infant bottles before the first usage. Baby bottle sterilisation typically takes 5 minutes, while canning jar sterilisation often takes 10 minutes. Some items cannot be sterilised by boiling, in which case sterilisation techniques using chemicals are used.

Sterilization of surfaces and tools is crucial for patient safety in medical settings. Boiling is a suitable procedure and is used for goods that cannot withstand the pressure and steam levels inside the machine, whereas hospitals and other institutions use autoclaves for sterilising.

Sterilizing some metal instruments, fabric, rubber, and plastic frequently involves boiling. To ensure their safety, objects utilised within the human body should be boiled for 20 minutes.

A sterile environment is also necessary for scientific investigations, such as those that examine the proliferation of germs. Petri plates and other growing media are frequently disinfected in hot water for five to fifteen minutes.

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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