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Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
- The Munchkin 59S Mini Sterilizer uses UV-C light and claims to quickly kill 99.99% of the bacteria and viruses on your baby’s pacifier or bottle nipple.
- Portable and easy to attach to a diaper bag, the bottle nipple and pacifier sterilizer can be powered by batteries or through a USB port.
- I tested the Munchkin 59S for three weeks and was impressed by its ease of use and fast 59-second cleaning cycle.
- This article was medically reviewed by Tania Elliott, MD, who specializes in infectious diseases related to allergies and immunology for internal medicine at NYU Langone Health.
Nearly every parent has been caught in a situation like this: You’ve finally gotten out of the house to go shopping for the first time in days. Your baby is quiet and sweetly enjoying their pacifier when they suddenly sling it out of their mouth. You watch in horror as it drops to the floor and you realize that you didn’t bring a backup.
When my boys were young, I used to carry nearly a dozen pacifiers “just in case.” So when Munchkin offered its 59S Mini Sterilizer Portable UV Sanitizer for testing, I couldn’t wait to give it a try with my grandson — anything to lighten the load in my purse or his diaper bag.
I have been testing this sterilizer at home for the last three weeks while watching my grandson. On average, I used the device at least six times each day after he dropped his pacifier on the floors in my home, the outdoor concrete patio, or in the grass in the yard. Although I’m an expert in housekeeping with more than 20 years’ experience, try as I might to keep a clean house, I have a small dog who doesn’t wipe her feet! I also occasionally cleaned a pacifier when it just smelled sour.
As every parent knows, properly sterilizing a pacifier on the go is simply not practical. This convenient sterilizer will make things so much easier for me when I’m out with my grandson in the future.
The sterilizer uses four tiny ultraviolet-C LED bulbs that emit UV-C light — they’re powered by batteries or a USB cable. The lights are ozone- and mercury-free just in case one gets broken.
According to the experts at Munchkin, the UV-C light in the Mini Sanitizer destroys E. coli, staph, candida, RSV, H1N1 influenza, and coronavirus (ATCC VR-740, Strain 229E), a seasonal strain from the same coronavirus family as SARS-CoV-2. While none of the claims have been reviewed or approved as effective by the FDA, the product was developed with 59S, a leader in UV LED technology, and tested in independent laboratories for effectiveness.
UV-C is a germicidal short wavelength, ultraviolet light that sanitizes by breaking apart the DNA of bacteria and viruses leaving the DNA unable to harm or reproduce. This is the same UV-C light technology used in hospital surgical suites to aid in killing superbugs. Studies, like one at Columbia University, are underway to determine UV-C’s effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
What it’s like to use
This Munchkin sterilizer can operate by using a plugged-in USB cord or three AA batteries. When the unit is ready to use, a solid red light appears on the power button. After you place a pacifier or nipple inside and close the lid, the light blinks while disinfecting is in progress. When it turns solid, the cycle is complete. The light will remain on for about five minutes and then go into sleep mode. It will reappear the next time the unit is opened if it is connected to a power source or using batteries.
Since you should not open the unit while it’s running, how do you know it’s working? Munchkin includes a specially treated paper test strip. You can barely see the Munchkin logo when you place it in the unit. After the cycle, the logo is discolored — “zapped” — so you know the UVC lights are working properly.
I found the sterilizer easy to use. When you’re ready to clean a pacifier or bottle nipple, wipe off any visible dirt or fuzz with your hand or a napkin, open the unit, place the pacifier inside with the nipple pointing up, close the sterilizer, and press the power button. When the light stops blinking, the cycle is complete.
The Mini Sterilizer is especially useful for when you’re out and about since it has a flexible snap-on strap to attach to a diaper bag. However, I was disappointed to find that while it can be used with the provided USB cable, it does not hold a charge like a cell phone. You’ll need to have batteries in place or find an electrical outlet. And if you’re counting on using an outlet, bring along a power adapter because one is not included with the sterilizer.
Because I’m an always-prepared kind of grandmother, I use the USB cable at home, but I also inserted batteries for backup. You don’t need to use both — the USB power source will be activated first — but why not be ready? The batteries will provide up to 90 cleaning cycles.
The one thing you can rely on is great customer service from Munchkin. You can email, text, or call with questions, and full refunds are given within 60 days of purchase. The sterilizer also has a one-year warranty.
The bottom line
The instinct to protect my babies was strong, but I also believed they needed to eat a pound of dirt before they grew up to develop some immunity. But with today’s virulent viruses, it’s just not worth taking a risk on a quickly rinsed-off pacifier, especially for an infant.
When I use the Munchkin Mini Sanitizer, even a sour-smelling pacifier comes out smelling fresh in just 59 seconds. I feel that it is cleaner than if I just rinsed it under a faucet or wiped it off with a paper napkin. Clearly, using the sanitizer did not change the taste or enjoyment the pacifier brings to my grandson. He welcomed each one as they came out of the sanitizer.
A handy tip: Be prepared with at least two pacifiers, one for the baby to use and one that is freshly cleaned and stored in the Munchkin unit. When it’s time for a fresh pacifier, you can pop the clean one in the baby’s mouth and sanitize the other. Your little one won’t even need to wait 59 seconds!
Pros: Easy to use, sanitizes one pacifier or bottle nipple in 59 seconds, small enough to fit in a diaper bag
Cons: Unit does not hold a charge from the USB cable, USB power adapter not included