How to safely use an autoclave?


How to safely use an autoclave?

Autoclaves, also known as steam sterilizers, use pressurized steam to kill any microorganisms that may be present on contaminated items. Therefore, autoclave is most commonly used in laboratories, hospital operating rooms and food production facilities to sterilize items and instruments.

When loading, operating or unloading autoclaves, laboratory personnel must wear the following items:

Open-toed shoes


Heat-resistant gloves that fully cover hands and forearms

Lab coat

The protective gear is designed to protect the wearer from scalds, burns and other injuries caused by residual steam, boiling liquid and spilled hot fluid. Because laboratory autoclaves use jacketed construction, laboratory personnel should be aware that metal surfaces can be very hot even when the autoclave is not actively in use. Finally, always pay attention to your hands and arms when closing the autoclave door to prevent injury.

Time to choose

Sterilization time depends on a number of factors, including load size, type of load, and the cycle you choose. If you are unsure how long the autoclave runs, consult your supervisor and autoclave manual to determine the best cycle type and appropriate running time.

Do not autoclave the following items:


Hazardous chemicals (including contaminated hazardous chemicals)

Dry bleach and bleach related materials, or nitrocellulose

Radioactive material

Pathological waste


The autoclave operator shall ensure that each autoclave is monitored as follows:

Thermal tape monitoring – The operator shall use a thermal sterilization indicator tape for each load to indicate that the load has undergone an effective steam sterilization process.

Please note that this tape only indicates that the proper temperature has been reached for the cycle, but does not indicate that it has been heated at the appropriate pressure or for the appropriate length of time.

Ensure that thermal tapes used do not contain lead-based indicators as such tapes must be collected and managed as hazardous waste.

Inspection and maintenance

Routine preventive autoclave maintenance is a key component of the autoclave program. Particles in steam and poor quality water can easily damage autoclaves, resulting in system downtime, poor handling performance and expensive maintenance. Therefore, the laboratory should always carry out planned maintenance checks, whether monthly, quarterly or annually, to ensure that the equipment remains in good working condition. These inspections should be comprehensive, including heating coils, contactors, steam traps, relief valves, etc.

Emergency procedures

Seek medical attention immediately if you are injured while using the autoclave.

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The steam sterilizer owes much to its powerful vacuum pump, which makes the steam sterilization process more efficient and fast. Depending on the size of the internal load, you can expect them to dispose of your hospital waste in about 20 minutes. They are also made from premium 316L stainless steel, which allows for long-term treatment of a variety of hospital wastes due to their corrosion resistance.

In addition to their above-average ability to handle hospital waste, they are also extremely easy to use: the entire steam sterilization process is automated (including closing and opening chamber doors) and can be started with the push of a few buttons. The process can be easily tracked thanks to the machine’s digital touchscreen LCD display.

Our autoclaves are available in several different models and can be further customized to meet your needs. For large facilities such as hospitals that need to handle large amounts of waste on-site, steam sterilizers may be your wisest choice: they can hold anywhere from 2 to 500 liters.

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