How long can a steam sterilization medical instrument be stored?


Sterile items are completely free of bacteria and other microorganisms. While this state of affairs is challenging at best in everyday Settings, hospitals and other healthcare facilities must be equipped with sterile devices to ensure they are safe for patients to use. However, removing all bacteria and microorganisms from a device or surface is more complicated than simply wiping it down with a cleaner.

While household cleaners are up to 99.999% effective at eliminating bacteria and germs, sterilization goes one step further. The sterilization process eliminates all types of microorganisms. Eliminating all microorganisms ensures that items such as gloves, instruments, implants and other items used by patients are free of disease and infection-causing bacteria.

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What determines the shelf life of sterilized items?

1. The shelf life

2. Storage location of items

3. Packing condition

How long should the instrument be autoclaved?

Autoclaves work like pressure cookers, using steam sterilizers to remove any traces of microbes from medical instruments. On our website, you can find autoclaves in various sizes.

The steam destroys the cell walls of microorganisms, which makes the timing of steam autoclave instruments very special. The steam must reach a certain temperature for a certain amount of time to facilitate the decomposition of microbial cell walls. The two most common temperatures for autoclaving are 121 ° C and 132 ° C. If you are using a gravity displacement sterilizer at 121 degrees Celsius, you will need to maintain this temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, the pre-vacuum sterilizer at 132 ° C takes only 4 minutes.

How should sterilized equipment be stored?

When instruments undergo the disinfection process, they are carried out in a package that allows the disinfectant to penetrate and effectively sterilize the instrument. The type of packaging depends largely on the sterilization method — since autoclavers use steam, steam should be able to easily penetrate the material to effectively sterilize the instrument.

After the steam sterilization process is complete, you should choose an enclosed area to minimize dust, water and other particles that may settle on the package in an open environment. The best way to store sterilized equipment is in a securely closed cabinet or drawer. Keeping the package clean, intact and dry helps the device achieve maximum sterilization life and prevents repeated sterilization cycles.

How long does the instrument disinfect after steam sterilization?

The length of time the instrument remains sterile after autoclaving depends largely on storage area and packaging conditions.

The most important factor in the sterile time of autoclave equipment is the packaging – it should be dry and intact, and should not be overhandled. Under ideal conditions, the study found that autoclave devices could be stored safely for up to 96 weeks.


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