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Using an autoclave to perform a steam sterilization involves placing the item to be sterilized in direct contact with steam at the appropriate temperature and pressure for the allotted amount of time. Thus, steam, pressure, temperature, and time are the four variables in steam sterilization. Moist heat, obtained by heating the materials inside the device over the boiling point of water, is effective at killing all microorganisms, including heat-resistant endospores. Autoclaves are often used in hospitals and research facilities to disinfect instruments and dispose of unwanted materials. Sterilization with an autoclave relies on high temperatures to destroy germs including bacteria and mold spores. Pressurized steam is used to provide the heat.
By applying a constant pressure of around 15 psi to saturated steam, autoclaves can maintain a chamber temperature of at least 250 °F (121 °C) for a set period of time (often 30-60 minutes). Keeping air from becoming trapped is just as important as the right temperature and duration for attaining sterility. Sterilization calls for the use of steam and high temperatures on the material to be sterilized. This "wet heat" approach is widely recognized as the safest and most effective means of disinfecting potentially infectious trash and sterilizing laboratory implements. There is sufficient room for error when verifying decontamination methods because the spores can withstand 250°F for 5 minutes but are destroyed at that temperature in 13 minutes.
This Data was Last Updated on 02-02-2023