Preventing Sterilization Failure

  • Properly clean items to be sterilized.
  • Package items in products which allow steam, vapor or heat to penetrate pack and read all items. Use only packaging designed for the method of sterilization used.
  • DO NOT OVERLOAD THE STERILIZER CHAMBER. Separate packs, pouches or cassettes for proper air flow.
  • Check door gasket and seals.
  • Follow manufacturer's guidelines concerning time and temperature.
  • Start timing sterilization cycle AFTER the appropriate temperature and pressure are reached.
  • Check the temperature and pressure gauges throughout the cycle, making sure they read correctly.
  • DO NOT interrupt the cycle of the dry heat sterilizer by opening its door. Do not add additional items without re-starting the sterilizing cycle.
  • Use a stop watch or a clock to check the timer.
  • Conduct preventive maintenance as dictated by manufacturer.

A POSITIVE test result means that not all the bacterial spores were killed and the items processed in that load may not be sterile. Repeat the test following the guidelines above.

In the event of a second POSITIVE result, after all items above were observed, discontinue using your sterilizer until it has been repaired or inspected, or until the exact reason for the POSITIVE test has been found. Use another sterilizer. Instruments may have to be re-sterilized.