Back when we were expecting Oliver, we were kinda chillax about getting ready for his arrival. We were sorta the only ones in our generation having kids at that point in time, also one of the first to have kids amongst our friends, so we had no one to fall back on and ask for advice. So when it came to sterilising, I had memories of my maternal grandma standing at the stove, boiling milk bottles in a huge pot of water, tongs in hand. I wasn’t about to do that. An electric steam steriliser was definitely on my shopping list, unfortunately, it wasn’t on Donald’s list. I sure as hell wasn’t going to stand at the stove to watch water boil, so he did most of the sterilising.
Pretty crazy if I might say. So it was a godsend when my ex-company contacted me to say they were sending me a hamper and asked if there was anything I would like to choose myself. There was an electric steam steriliser in the catalogue so obviously I chose that! Donald should thank his lucky stars he isn’t still boiling bottles today. Hahaha.
Altho convenient, the steam steriliser was chunky and took up space on the countertop. I didn’t like that there was water dripping whenever I took something out cos of the condensation. Countertop space is prime real estate in the kitchen so not being able to shift it around easily got on my nerves. I then invested in a microwave steam steriliser. It was more compact, could contain lesser bottles but at least I could shift it around!
So, the deal about UV Sterilisers…..
Now, when a friend recommended me to try out the Chickabiddy UV steriliser, I was a little hesitant. Firstly, I didn’t know much about the technology. I mean, how did it actually work? Secondly, I already have a steam steriliser. We know that heat kills bacteria, so how much more fancy schmancy does it have to be when it came to sterilising?
How does it work?
Firstly, we know about UV light. The ones we are most familiar with is the UV-A and UV-B light that we get from the sun and that is harmful to our skin if we are exposed to it directly on a long term basis. That’s why the doctors tell us to slap on shitloads of sunscreen to protect our skin if we are gonna be under it.
The UV light used in UV sterilisers is UV-C, which is a short-wavelength ultraviolet light, and it is used to ‘kill or inactivate microorganisms by destroying nucleic acids and disrupting their DNA, leaving them unable to perform vital cellular functions’ (Source: Wikipedia).
Waah..nubbad wor. So UV-C light does sterilise. But how do I know if the lamp is legit?
Secondly, Chickabiddy uses the Philips TUV 6W mini lamp.
The lamp emits UV-C light at wavelength of 253.7nm, which is pretty close to the optimum 260nm – 270nm. Screwing up your bacteria DNA? Check. The lifespan of the lamp is also 9,000 hours. For me, I set it to the 30 mins sterilise & dry setting (cos I’m lazy that way) once a day. Press Auto once. You know what that means for me?
9,000 hours. 30 mins a day. That lamp will last me 750 days before I need to change it. That means I only need to change it about 2 years later. Not a bad deal imho. BUT that is the worst case scenario. For the common bacteria and viruses, 15 mins of sterilising is more than enough. Chickabiddy has a setting which dries for 30-45 mins first, before sterilising for 10 mins. With that setting, that’s gonna extend the lifespan of your lamp by another year or two! Not only that, you reduce the amount of time your plastic milk bottles are exposed to the UV-C light and extend their lifespan too!
Tip: Use your steriliser wisely, and it will serve you well, both on lamp & your milk bottles!
The Philips lamp also has a 1.7W radiation power. What does that mean? It’s the power of the radiation from the light source. So one bulb, 1.7W. I did a quick comparison with the other two UV sterilisers on the market and they use 2 OSRAM 4W UV lamps. On first impression, it does sound awesome. 2 lamps leh! Plus lower wattage summore. Why not?? Dig a little further, and I hope my Physics don’t fail me here..if I didn’t read it wrongly, each lamp is only 0.9W. So don’t get the wrong impression that 2 lamps means better sterilisation ah! Must look at radiation power also. Both are still similar in radiation power lah. Not sure about the lifespan for OSRAM lamps though. I couldn’t find any information on that.
Chickabiddy: Philips TUV 6W FAM lamp with 1.7W radiation power,
Other brands: 2 x OSRAM Puritec HNS 4W G5 lamp 0.9W radiation power.
The third question that came up as I placed the bottles upside down in the holders. Light travels in a straight line doesn’t it? Now, if I were to put the bottles upside down, how do I kill the bacteria inside the bottles? Ah-hah! Now surely that was a big CON for the UV steriliser?
The interior of the Chickabiddy UV Steriliser is stainless steel, which allows the UV-C rays to be reflected into the interior of the bottles. A test by SGS in Taiwan also has proven its effectiveness in sterilisation with a result of >99.9%!
And that’s where the drying function also comes in handy! Don’t just think that the drying function only does the drying. By circulating the air in the steriliser, bacteria moves around, therefore exposing the bacteria to more UV light, breaking the bacteria down. Which is why Chickabiddy doesn’t recommend consumers to stack up the bottle parts in the steriliser so that there is optimum exposure to the UV-C light. Also, by drying the bottles, you are then reducing the instances of mould or scum build up! To be honest, I really enjoyed taking a dry bottle out. So nice feeling! Plus for some reason, feels a little squeaky clean too?
What I liked about the Chickabiddy UV Steriliser (and the Daddy Ting concurs too btw cos he had to do A LOT of bottlefeeding whilst I was away):
– it seemed to take up as much space as a regular steam steriliser would but holds much more. Look at how many bottles & parts I put into the steriliser each time, of various sizes too!
– The UV steriliser can also serve as a storage cabinet. Just leave your bottles inside till you need them. What I used to have was, huge mixing bowl for collecting enough bottles to steriliser, plus steam steriliser, plus Tupperware container to store sterilised bottles. I ended up using MORE kitchen countertop space that just the UV steriliser.
– Now, this plus point of the Chickabiddy steriliser is gonna be a little weird but it is a MAJOR plus point in my opinion. The trays are held by tray handles at the sides. Whilst checking out the other brands, I realised that the trays just sit on a ledge. This means that I actually have to worry about weight distribution if I had to pull the tray out. Given the space in the upper trays for the other brands of sterilisers, I guess you don’t need to pull the tray out but I do quite like to arrange the parts in a more spacious area than having to reach into the steriliser to arrange the parts and in dim conditions too.
– Not only that, I can easily take out the bottle parts without worrying about burning my hands. I mean, how many times have you gotten scalded by the steam? And who so free to use tongs to pick bottles out? Trust me..it never gets picked up the way you want it picked up. (I always drop bottles FML).
– I don’t have to flick the bottles to make sure the excess water is out. Can imagine, each flick you do, you end up introducing fresh bacteria into the bottles again. -_-” The Chickabiddy steriliser also has a 4 hourly cycle where the bottles are sterilised for 5 minutes, which is plenty of time to sterilises most bacteria, so you don’t have to keep worrying about unsterilised bottles. Eh, 4 hourly is pretty good considering most babies feed on a 3-4 hourly basis.
– I don’t need to wash the steriliser. With the heating plate of the regular steam steriliser, I would have to unplug it, give it a little rinse and then worry about the scum / chlorine build up on the heating plate. With the microwave steriliser, lesser things to worry but I would still have to wash it and replace the water in it so there isn’t scum build up. With the UV steriliser, you just…well, just keep using it. The only things you wash is the bottles and bottle parts.
– Easy on your pocket when you are replacing the lamps. You only need to worry about ONE lamp compared to 2 lamps + possibly an infrared lamp. Scenarios like only one lamp goes, so you replace one lamp only to have the other lamp go out a few days later. Then you gotta buy another one again. Yup, coming from personal experience, not with a UV steriliser but with a effing cooker hood lamp. I swear the servicing guy makes money out of making trips to change light bulbs in my cooker hood. Meh.
– You don’t need to just steriliser bottles. Done with bottlefeeding? Remove the bottle holder tray, and bring the top rack down, and you now have a HUGE ass space for sterilising anything and everything. Toys, nail clippers, teethers..etc.
Now, the down side to a UV steriliser:
– Yes, the Chickabiddy UV steriliser is more expensive that a steam steriliser. For double the price, you get convenience and a peace of mind. To be honest, having used it for a month, I don’t think I can go back to using a steam steriliser. The not having to use a tissue to get rid of excess water from the bottle is way too attractive for me. That’s what pumping in the middle of the night does to you. I already have to stay awake for 30mins to pump, I still have to waste time to dry some parts?? Bleh. Pumping moms..you know the pain.
– There IS a smell. It smells..like what it would smell in the hospital. Very clinical. Daddy Ting says it smells like the sun (?!?!) hahaha which..wouldn’t be wrong considering the sun DOES emit UV-C rays. But don’t worry! The smell is safe and doesn’t affect any of us, baby or adult.
– It will take up space on my countertop cos I will now have to keep it on the countertop so that I can go on a sterilising spree. OMG. I can now sterilise Lego & Duplo blocks!! High time to wash them seriously.
For all that’s worth, the Chickabiddy UV steriliser is still cheaper than the other two brands on the market! =) It is currently retailing for $309 on Purezza’s website with free shipping! Best buy liao! #bbbmtl
Now, go get one!
Disclaimer: tings.sg received a Chickabiddy Uv Steriliser for review purposes. All opinions are solely mine and are written as objectively as possible.