Sterilization Errors

Autoclave

  • Improper packaging (i.e., steam cannot penetrate), too many instruments per package
  • Improper loading (i.e., packages not spaced)
  • Gauges not indicating proper function (heat and pressure)
  • Inadequate sterilization time
  • Faulty seals, heating coils, traps, exhaust lines, etc.
  • Air in the chamber
  • Wet steam and/or inadequate drying

Unsaturated Chemical Vapor - Chemiclave

  • Gauges not indicating proper function (heat and pressure)
  • Inadequate sterilization time
  • Sealed containers foil, and cloth cannot be used. Use only approved wraps.
  • Wet instruments placed in sterilizer; water added to Vaposteril solution
  • Inadequate spacing of packs
  • Worn door gasket or seals
  • Cold start
  • Vaposteril solution may be out of date

Dry Heat

  • Inadequate temperatures
  • Inadequate sterilization time
  • Interrupted sterilization cycle
  • Packages too bulky or not spaced properly
  • Use of sterilization wraps not suitable for dry heat
  • Use of inappropriate equipment (conventional household ovens, toaster ovens, etc.)

Adapted from Molonari et al, Compendium, December, 1994, p. 1426.