What You Need to Know About the Autoclave Sterilization Process


An autoclave is basically a heated pressure chamber. They’re most commonly used in the medical industry to perform sterilization of medical devices. Autoclaves are able to sterilize equipment and supplies in autoclave bags by killing microorganisms with high pressure steam. Autoclave bags can withstand heat well over the 121℃ temperature used in autoclaving machines. In this post we’ll go over the standard autoclave cycle which can vary based on the materials being sterilized.

1. Water is boiled in order to generate steam for the chamber. While the steam is entering the chamber, air is removed, and continues to be removed as the steam expands. Air is removed by either a vacuum or a displacement process.

2. Once all of the air is removed, the temperature and pressure is increased by closing the valves and adding for steam into the chamber. The pressure and temperature will continue to rise until they hit the 121℃ necessary for sterilization.

3. We are now in the holding time phase which means the equipment and supplies in the chamber are being sterilized. The holding time depends on the size and quantity of the items in the autoclave – usually anywhere from three to 20 minutes.

4. After the appropriate holding time, sterilization is complete. It’s now time to open the exhaust valve and release the steam.

5. We now must wait for cool down so that it is safe to enter the chamber and handle the equipment without worrying about being burned.

At Marshall Plastic Film in Michigan, we have been in the plastic packaging industry for over forty years. We have the knowledge and experience necessary to produce the best autoclave bags on the market. If you have been considering partnering with a trustworthy and dedicated plastic film company, give us a call today!

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