Using an autoclave is the most effective method for sterilizing your medical instruments. It’s also the only method approved by all federal regulatory agencies. But just shoving your instruments inside and waiting for the timer to go off isn’t necessarily going to take care of sterilization. You need to use your autoclave properly if you want to completely sterilize your medical instruments.

An autoclave uses pressurized steam to kill the bacteria and spores that contaminate your instruments. Intense pressure is placed on the water inside the chamber, 15 pounds per square inch, and that pressure then raises the boiling point of the water. The autoclave then heats the water to its new boiling point, which is hot enough to kill those contaminants. Your instruments must be exposed to the pressurized steam for a minimum of 15 minutes for sterilization to occur. liposuction cannulas

Drain and re-fill the water reservoir – If the reservoir hasn’t already been drained, turn the knob that opens the valve and let the water drain out. Then return the valve to the closed position.

Add water to the reservoir – Inside the chamber you’ll find the water reservoir. Fill it to the indicated level with distilled water.

Loading the autoclave – Leave space between the items you’re sterilizing so nothing is touching. Bottles containing liquids should have loosely fitting lids and, when placing instruments inside bags, loosely seal the bags so the pressurized steam can enter and make contact with all the surfaces inside the bag. Never over-fill your autoclave. It’s better to run multiple loads than to try to fit everything in all at once.

Close and seal the chamber – Before you turn the machine on, always close and tightly seal the chamber door, both as a safety measure and to prevent steam from escaping during the cycle.

Wait until the cycle ends – It’s never a good idea to open the chamber door in the middle of a cycle. Remember, you’re dealing with pressurized steam and it’s heated to well over the standard boiling point. Always wait until the cycle ends and the autoclave cools before opening the door.

Be careful – When removing your sterilized equipment you should wear heat-proof sterilized gloves. Rinse glassware with hot water.

Drain the reservoir – After you’ve removed all your equipment, open the valve, drain the water reservoir, and close the valve again so your autoclave will be ready for the next cycle. Standing water in an unsealed autoclave can become a breeding ground for bacteria. It’s also a good idea to wipe down the inside of the chamber and the door seal after each use.

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