Milton’s cold water solution uses sterilising tablets (a pack of 28 is included; thereafter around £1.50 per box), dissolved into water. The solution will keep items sterile for 24 hours before the container needs to be refilled, so equipment can be dropped in at any point in the day, and retrieved 15 minutes later. It’s a particularly flexible way of doing things, and tends to be a lifesaver when dealing with lots of equipment.
The Combi itself is less capacious than the classic bucket-sized Milton apparatus, having been designed to double up as a microwave steamer. Although the manufacturers claim that six bottles can be sterilised at once, when using taller bottles it’s more realistic to fit in three or four. It’s more compact in this iteration, and more kitchen-friendly, though the round barrel shape makes its footprint larger than some electric models. Still, the flat top means it can be stored on top of cupboards or on shelves if needed.
The BPA-free plastic is thick, durable and easily cleaned; the screw-on lid doesn’t leak, and comes in several cheerful colours. Without trays or shelves, you’re free to squeeze things in however you like, which is especially useful when it comes to breastpumps or toys, though it does mean there’s no easy way to fish items out of the bottom.
The niggling annoyance of cold water solutions is the smell: even with the screw-on top, our tester found her kitchen damp with splashes and smelling strongly of disinfectant. And as a microwave steriliser, the Combi runs into some problems: it’s hard to keep bottles upright inside it, and it’s too large to fit into many smaller microwaves.
However, the Milton’s many advantages can’t be denied: at £24.99, it’s so much cheaper than the electric models that it represents better value for money, even with the added expense of the tablets. And if the flexibility of this cold water solution suits you, then this could be the best baby purchase you make.
BPA-free materials. Included: steriliser, tongs, pack of 28 sterilising tablets. RRP: £24.99