This is How to Safely Sterilize Medical and Lab Equipment

Instrument washing

Steam and heat are great ways to sterilize equipment and the medical industry relies heavily on autoclaves and other sterilization machines to keep their equipment safe and ready for use. Given that over 45 million surgical procedures alone are done every year and that there are countless other procedures that all use equipment that needs to be sterilized, it’s no surprise that if sterilizer repair is needed, it can throw off a whole system. A faulty sterilization machine can also result in cross-contamination and the spread of germs, if equipment isn’t properly sterilized. RPI parts are an easy way to find the replacement parts you need and keep everything right on track. Additionally, investing in regular maintenance, inspection, and training on equipment can also help reduce the amount of RPI parts you need and the amount of repair or replacement you’ll have to do.

Why Is Sterilization So Important?
It was the French chemist, Louis Pasteur, who discovered that bacteria died at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, in the mid-19th century. He boiled or heated his instruments to kill off microorganisms, developing the autoclave as a medical tool that is now used everywhere, and developing this type of sterilization technique. The pressurized steam in an autoclave reaches 270 degrees Fahrenheit and eliminates most bacteria.

However, the temperature needed to sterilize via steam can fluctuate a little and the two most common temperatures of 250 degrees Fahrenheit and 270 degrees Fahrenheit and the temperature must stay at these temperatures in order to be effective.

Without sterilization, hundreds of thousands of pathogens, contaminants, and bacteria could be transmitted using medical equipment, leading to widespread illnesses and infections.

Autoclaves and other sterilization machines need to be tested and serviced on a regular basis. The Centers for Disease Control suggest using a spore test per sterilizer weekly.

Uses of an Autoclave and Functions of Autoclave

An autoclave is designed to disinfect and sterilize biological waste, instruments, media, and labware, among other items. Combining a high temperature steam, pressure, and time, microorganisms and other contaminants are eliminated. Medical waste, for example, such as used needles, and laboratory waste, such as pipette tips, are decontaminated using autoclaving before being disposed to make sure that garbage handlers and others aren’t exposed to these potential bacteria or viruses.

Stainless steel, glasswaare, pipette tips, gloves, and surgical instruments can all be autoclaved, but acids, bases, bleach, chlorides, seawater, non-stainless steel and low and high density polyethylene should never be autoclaved. Anything highly flammable, toxic, or radioactive should be kept far away from an autoclave.

Other surprising uses for autoclaves are making shelf stable beverages like milk-based coffee drinks, and ready-to-serve food. The autoclave process makes sure all the bacteria present in food is eliminated before packaging, creating food and beverages that are safe to consume for a longer period of time and sometimes without refrigeration.

How Do I Keep From Needing an Autoclave Repair Service?

Regular maintenance is the key to keeping you from needing an autoclave repair service with any regularity. An annual complete cleaning of filters, sensors, valves, and a check up on these parts will keep issues from happening ahead of time. A maintenance team will also make sure that worn parts are noted and replaced as it comes up. They’ll also be able to conduct a spore test, to make sure that your autoclave is working as it should.

However, on a regular basis, cleaning your autoclave, draining water and replacing it with fresh distilled water, and checking on the plug and cord are all good steps to keeping your autoclave in good working order.

If you do need a new part, RPI parts is a good place to look since RPI parts has a comprehensive listing of parts for a wide variety of makes and models.

Keeping autoclaves in good working order is crucial for industries that rely on sterilization techniques to keep their clients safe and healthy. Knowing how to maintain and service your autoclave makes a huge difference in continuing that assurance of safety.

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