An autoclave is like a big pressure cooker as it uses high pressure and high temperature steam to sterilize solid and liquid material. Steam under high pressure kills bacterial spores. Autoclaves, available as manual and automatic, are undoubtedly an indispensable piece of lab equipment in research and clinical labs, but only proper use can ensure perfect sterilization. Material that is not properly autoclaved results not only in contamination but also in waste of time and money.
Important Facts on Autoclave Use
- The person using the device must have successfully completed an authorized training session.
- There is no fixed rule about length of time that an item needs to be autoclaved. A lower SET temperature is suitable for temperature sensitive items and means a longer time for sterilization. A higher SET temperature involves a faster cycle and shorter sterilization time – ideal for hard material. It is therefore necessary to determine the proper time requirement.
- The higher the volume of the material autoclaved, the longer it will take to sterilize it.
- The secondary container (the one placed on the tray inside the device’s chamber) influences the nature of the autoclave run. Steel containers are ideal as they are durable and better transmitters of heat, and therefore ensure fast run time.
- Too deep containers are not recommended as they could prevent displacement of air from the bottom. Also, consider the possibility of spills when choosing container height. Ensure free flow of steam around the secondary container.
- Containers must be covered only by loosened lids to prevent explosions.
- Safety is important and care must be taken to prevent scalds and burns.
Automatic Autoclaves for Lab Efficiency
There are many branded autoclaves available today. Compact benchtop models save space. Automatic models ensure lab efficiency as they are user-friendly and can be operated at the simple touch of a button. Useful features include double safety locks, power outage recovery system, closed door active drying, reduced overall drying time, audible and visual cycle interruption alert, optional printer, and more.