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What is Milton Sterilising Fluid made of?

Milton Fluid is made of an aqueous solution of sodium hypochlorite and 16.5% sodium chloride. The Milton Fluid that is available to buy is a strength of 2% sodium hypochlorite.

Hypochlorites are known to be unstable. Is Milton Sterilising Fluid any different?

Yes. The purification process during the manufacture of Milton ensures complete removal of all heavy metal ions, which would normally act as a catalyst to chemically break down many hypochlorites, causing instability. Therefore accurate levels of available chlorine can be obtained with Milton Sterilising Fluid.

Hypochlorite is bleach, which is toxic. Is the Milton Sterilising Fluid toxic also?

No. As stated above, toxicity in hypochlorites is due to the by-product of their decomposition, sodium chlorate. With the heavy ions removed Milton decomposes into water and a small amount of sodium chloride (salt).

What are the main properties of Milton Sterilising Fluid?


It is known that Milton Sterilising Fluid can be used as a disinfecting agent, but can it sterilise?

Milton will sterilise as long as the requirements for chemical sterilisation with hypochlorites are carried out. These are:

(a) Scrupulous attention to pre-cleansing of the item to be sterilised

(b) Stability of the active agent

(c) That the article to be sterilised is of a material compatible with hypochlorite and is so constructed that it can be cleaned properly

The Milton Method of cleaning bottles and teats incorporates these requirements.

What is the difference between Sterilisation, Disinfection and Antisepsis?

Official publications give the following definitions: (ref. Collins, C. H. and Lyne,P. M., 1976)

Sterilisation; This is an absolute term meaning complete destruction or removal of all viable micro-organisms. 

Disinfection; Describes the elimination or destruction of micro-organisms, but not usually bacterial spores. Generally applied to the process of making inanimate objects free from infection and safe to handle. 

Antisepsis; Destruction of micro-organisms, but not bacterial spores, on skin, mucus membrane or living tissue to prevent sepsis. Milton Fluid can be considered in terms of each of these actions depending on the specific situation or application.

Therefore a work surface can be wiped over with Milton to disinfect it by killing all 'live' bacteria, but it cannot be sterilised in this way. To sterilise an object it has to be scrupulously cleaned then soaked for the required time in a solution of Milton.

Will the Milton Sterilising Fluid or Tablets kill Candida albicans, the fungi responsible for thrush?

All the Milton products will kill Candida albicans (the agent responsible for thrush). 

What happens if a child swallows some Milton Sterilising Fluid?

Because of the salt in the solution in the bottle, the child will usually spit the fluid out, or, at worst, be sick. If they are not sick, there should be no need to worry but a concerned parent can give the child a drink of milk. Because milk is a protein it will neutralise the Milton solution. The Milton Sterilising Fluid formula should be neutralised by the saliva proteins and break down into salt and water. However it is always best to seek medical advice or contact your GP to ensure complete safety.

Can Milton Sterilising Fluid be used for applications other than sterilising a baby’s feeding equipment?

You don't have to have a baby to use Milton. Milton Sterilising Fluid can be used to disinfect kitchen work surfaces, chopping boards, wiping out fridges, microwaves, storage containers, pet bowls and bins. It can also be used to soak fruit and vegetables where the microbiological safety of such items is suspect.

For how long should parents continue to sterilise?

Parents should sterilise all feeding utensils from birth up until the baby's 1st birthday and bottles and teats for as long as baby is using them.

Why is a baby's immune system different?

When a baby is born, it has certain antibody-like proteins called immunoglobulins, which it has received through the placenta. Another very important one is received from its mother after it is born. This immunoglobulin is called IgA and is present in the colostrum, the first part of mother’s milk. It places itself on the mucus membranes of the baby’s alimentary canal in order to help fight the bacteria that can cause gastroenteritis. Babies do not start to produce their own IgA until around 6 months of age. By their first birthday they have between 15 – 17% of their adult level.

Do infections help build immunity?

In the mature immune system, yes they do. This is the principle upon which many immunisations work whereby a small amount of the disease-causing organism is introduced to enable the body to create protective anti-bodies, which remain in the blood stream. The immunisation that babies will receive during their first few months will help them to establish antibodies that will help fight a range of baby illnesses. However it makes sense to try to do all you can to prevent babies getting these illnesses, especially those that can cause gastroenteritis. Therefore it is a good thing to give the extra protection that their immune system cannot provide until they are older and stronger.

Do you have to rinse bottles and teats before using them?

After removing from the Milton solution, bottles and teats can be drained and used immediately - no need to rinse.

The WHO (World Health Organisation) considers that the acceptable level of chlorine for drinking water is at 5 mg/l that 0.5% of the solution. In the Milton sterilising solution (made up either with the Sterilising Fluid or Tablets) there is 0.012% of chlorine which is far less than the level accepted by the WHO. This explains why it is not necessary to rinse. Also there is a risk of contaminating the baby accessories again by rinsing them.
How long does Milton take to work?

Items are ready for use after just 15 minutes of complete immersion in the Milton solution but can be left soaking for up to 24 hours. Items can be added and removed to and from the solution throughout the day as and when they are needed.

How long will a bottle stay sterile after being removed from the Milton solution?

Bottles should be filled immediately after removal from the Milton solution. Teats should be covered.

What is MRSA?

Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus - or MRSA as it is more commonly known, is a form of the staphylococcus bacteria that have become very resistant to antibiotics. To be able to protect against MRSA, it is imperative that as much as possible is understood about the bacteria and its activity.

It is estimated that approximately 30% of the population are colonised (when bacteria are present, but not causing an infection) with Staphylococcus aureus - most often carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. It is a common cause of skin infections such as pimples & boils, which are normally treated without antibiotics. Approximately 1% of the population is colonised with the more lethal form, MRSA, which although linked to hospital deaths, has no ill effect on a healthy individual. 

However, it becomes lethal when it gets beneath the skin and infects people who have a weak immune system - the very young and the very old; or those who are tired and run down, ill, or have had some kind of surgery. People in hospital are particularly vulnerable as the bacteria are transmitted through physical contact and easily spread from person to person.

Both MRSA and Staphylococcus aureus are particularly vulnerable to disinfectants and the application of simple hygiene routines will do much to prevent their spread.

Milton advises using the following scientifically proven methods;

  • Clean your hands regularly.
  • Clean your immediate surroundings regularly  - particularly when away from the home and travelling.. Applications are endless and include disinfecting areas such as public toilet seats, door handles, high chairs, caravans etc

These products have been developed from the platform of Milton's six decades of clinical evidence, proving its efficacy in killing harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses. Effective and suitable even to babies, it makes Milton Sterilising Fluid and Tablets, as well as the Antibacterial Surface Spray the disinfectants of choice in preventing the spread of MRSA.

Will Milton have the same effect as bleach on a work surface?

No. Bleaches are usually concentrated to between 5 and 10% and can contain thick detergents to withstand rinsing and flushing. They are dangerous to handle at this concentration. They will leave chemicals behind on the surface which will chemically contaminate and taint food. The bleach may also harm the work surface. Although Milton is less concentrated, it will still have the same germ killing effect as bleach.

Do the Antibacterial products (Surface Spray, Wipes and Hand Gel) also sterilise?

No. The Antibacterial range has been designed to be used on surfaces or the skin (Gel only) and two of them (wipes and gel) are alcohol based and achieve their germ kill very quickly. As with any surface cleaner, they do not sterilise as it is not possible to sterilise a surface. The spray is very effective in cleaning and disinfecting kitchen and nursery surfaces.

Why does the Hand Gel evaporate on use?

The Milton Hand Gel contains 62% ethanol and 10% isopropanol which enables it to evaporate within 30 seconds on contact with hands. At this concentration germ kill is almost instantaneous. The gel also contains a moisturiser which prevents the hands drying out during the rapid evaporation.

Can you spray or wipe baby bottles with the antibacterial products to sterilise them?

No. To sterilise infant feeding utensils they have to be immersed in a solution which is compatible to the item being sterilised. Also the item has to be sterilised on the inside as well as the outside. However, the Spray and Wipes can be used to disinfect surfaces.

Can you use the Wipes on the skin?

The Wipes are designed for use on surfaces only. Because of the alcohol content of the wipe, if the skin was sore or broken, it would cause a stinging sensation. Also alcohol has a drying effect on skin. The Milton Wipes should never be used on baby skin or as a nappy change wipe.

Can you flush the Wipes down the toilet?

The Milton Surface Wipes are very strong and designed not to fall apart so they will not readily breakdown in water as toilet tissue does. It may therefore block the toilet.

Are the Milton Surface Wipes biodegradable?

Yes, the Wipes are 100% biodegradable. This means that they will naturally decompose. They are however, not suitable to flush down the toilet.

Can you use the Milton Hand Gel on children under 2?

No because the use of alcohol based products is not recommended on children under 2. At that age the skin of the child is not mature and there is a risk of the alcohol getting in the child’s blood stream.