To get the best performance and maximum lifetime out of your sterilizer, it’s important that you understand how to properly use and maintain your unit. You certainly don’t need to be an expert on sterilizers, but having some basic information at your disposal will come in handy.
With that in mind, here are answers to the 5 most commonly asked questions about sterilizers.
- Do I need to test my sterilizer? If so, how often should I test it? Yes. Testing your sterilizer is absolutely essential. In fact, The Centers for Disease Control says that you should test your sterilizer once a week. You have to verify proper functioning of sterilization sterile cycles each week with spore tests. Remember, heat sensitive chemical indicators do not verify proper sterilization cycle on their own. Spore testing is the standard to follow.
- Does my sterilizer have a load capacity? Yes, and it’s important that you know the load capacity and follow it. Placing too many instruments within the sterilizer chamber can prevent the sterilizer from performing as it should. In fact, an overloaded sterilizer chamber is the most common cause for spore test failure. Familiarize yourself with the manufacturers recommended capacity, and make sure you never exceed it.
- What’s the proper temperature for operating my sterilizer? Every sterilizer has a recommended operating temperature, but there is no set temperature. The right temperature for running your sterilizer is dependent upon a number of variables, such as whether or not the instruments are bagged, the cleaning specifications of the instrument being sterilized, and cycle length.
- How often should I clean my sterilizer? Cleaning your sterilizer is an essential task, but how often do you need to clean it? If you use your sterilizer regularly, you should plan on cleaning your sterilizer once a week. However, if you only occasionally run cycles, you may be able to clean it a little less often. Use a sterilizer cleaner for a cycle to properly clean the unit.
- Why do I have to use distilled water? Using distilled water in your sterilizer is essential. Why? Because distilled water doesn’t have any mineral deposits or corrosive elements, like tap water often has. These elements in tap water can impair the function of the system, so it won’t do the job properly.
Now that you know a little more about sterilizers, you’ll be better equipped to use and maintain your sterilizer. You’ll also ensure that your sterilizer is working properly and in compliance with all regulations.