General Question

JMCSD's avatar

Can you sterilize a pacifier with friction?

Asked by JMCSD (243 points ) August 29th, 2012

Someone informed me that by rubbing a pacifier dropped on the ground in a towel or something similar until its hot, it will effectively be ‘clean’. I’m skeptical. He also said that the same is true for your own hands, “If you can stand the heat, you can sterilize them.” What do you guys think?

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19 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Hogwash, unless you can generate spontaneous combustion.

JMCSD's avatar

Since I couldn’t provide any real source or scientific backing I kept my mouth shut, but I really wanted to tell him how ridiculous it sounded to me. I guess I just wanted to be sure I wasn’t the one who’s opinion was flawed.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Not a chance. Sterilization means it boils at 212 degrees in water for some period of time.

Friction doesn’t immerse the pacifier, nor does it reach anywhere near 212 degrees.

Bogus advice.

JMCSD's avatar

Thank you guys. What actually ticks me off is he was passing off this advice on someone else who has a young baby girl. If he wants to chance his kids health, fine; someone else’s? Quite annoying to me.

Coloma's avatar

I think this “someone” has earned the idiot of the year award.

gasman's avatar

It’s so far off from reality that it’s “not even wrong,” to paraphrase Wolfgang Pauli. Rubbing the pacifier will embed more micro-organisms into the rubber. Frictional heating will help them reproduce faster. The sterilization temperature (ignoring heat-stable spores) would have to melt the pacifier into a liquid lump long before killing germs.

gailcalled's avatar

Challenge him to show some evidence or to use his own hands to demonstrate. Make sure you are standing by with a high-powered microscope (and a fire extinguisher).

creative1's avatar

Nope if you take that pacifier after being rubbed to the lab they can tell you all the germs are still there. I would always either put them in a dishwasher or a pot of boiling water to sterilize all pacifiers or bottle nipples

gailcalled's avatar

If the premise were true, nursing mothers would have permanently sterilized nipples (as would women with a very active and creative sex life).

gailcalled's avatar

Not to mention sterilized penises.

Sunny2's avatar

This goes along with the idea that it’s okay to eat food that falls on the floor if you pick it up fast enough.

gailcalled's avatar

Or to eat foods that have no calories if you stand in front of the open freezer and eat the ice cream from the container with a fork.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Sunny2 – you mean it’s not OK? I follow the 5 second rule.

zensky's avatar

I used to sterilize it, in a pinch, with my saliva.

Sunny2's avatar

@elbanditoroso It’s okay if it’s your floor and you know when you last washed the floor. If you’re a slob, and the floor is sticky, no.

JMCSD's avatar

@zensky, That’s what I was always told is the best route if you’re, lets say, at a friends house and don’t have the time/resources to do a full blown wash. Can anyone confirm?

Nullo's avatar

I think that abrasion will get some of the bugs, but I’d not want to rely on it.

downtide's avatar

Nope. This trick will actually make it worse: warming the pacifier with your hands will make it a better environment for germs. You need a temperature of at least 68 degrees centigrade (no idea what that is in Farenheit, sorry) and anything that hot will scald you. If you can stand to touch it, the germs love it.

Why not just carry a packet of antibacterial wipes?

glacial's avatar

I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that anything you can’t quickly wipe off a pacifier after it has fallen on the ground is probably less harmful than regularly dosing the baby with an antibacterial agent. The baby needs to build up its immune system somehow.

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