Everything you Need to Know About Autoclaving

Autoclaving is used to ensure equipment and supplies are properly sterilized by using pressurized steam at high temperatures to eliminate the present of any microorganisms that may be present. The process is used in various industries, including dentistry, medicine, microbiology, and veterinary science. Autoclaving is a reliable process that ensures equipment and supplies are decontaminated and sterilized. The process takes between thirty minutes to an hour and reaches a high temperature of around 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

What is an Autoclave?

 An autoclave is a type of pressure chamber that carries out industrial processes that need an elevated temperature and varying pressure from the surrounding pressure that comes in contact with the object. They are used to perform sterilization of medical applications, cure coatings in the chemical industry, and used for hydrothermal synthesis. It inactivates many microorganisms, so that some metal supplies and equipment can be reused. The systems are highly effective and safe, and other substitutes, such as, dry heat, ionizing radiation, ultraviolet, or gas, vapor, or liquid disinfection, are not effective in the incineration of biohazardous material.

Understanding the Process

Autoclave machines use damp heat, so some products, such as, plastics and paper, are unable to be sterilized using this process. The system is used to eliminate viruses, spores, bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms from forceps, scissors, scalpels, and other metal supplies and equipment, so they can be reused. The process provides an alternative to incinerators, which bring about environmental and health concerns, but provides the necessary elimination of harmful microorganisms. Medical waste is also sterilized using this process before it is disposed of into the waste stream. The heat and pressure from autoclaves can also be used with curing composites and vulcanizing rubber composites, because it helps to attain their physical properties.

Things to Know

There are a few things that you should know about autoclaving, especially what the process can’t do. Here are some of the things to consider:

  • Autoclaves cannot remove chemical contamination
  • Autoclaves cannot be used with materials that contain volatile, solvents, corrosive, or chlorinated compounds
  • Autoclaves cannot be used with some plastics
  • Autoclaves cannot be used with radioactive materials without approval
  • Autoclaves cannot be used with chemotherapeutic agents

Additionally, it is important to prevent the entrapment of air to achieve proper sterilization. The equipment need to come in contact with the heat and steam inside the autoclave bag to ensure that it gets decontaminated and sterilized. If there are air pockets in the bag, the steam and heat, may not touch the equipment, and this will lead to improper sterilization.

The proper sterilization and decontamination of medical equipment and supplies is vital to the safety of staff and patients. The autoclaving process is one of the best ways to ensure that this process is done safely and efficiently. The use of autoclave bags is safe and affordable and helps to prevent improper decontamination and sterilization of medical equipment. When sterilizing equipment and supplies, efficiency is vital and allows for the proper handing of harmful microorganisms.