flash sterilized for 3 minutes at 270°F (132°C).
Sterilization timing begins when the above
temperature is reached, not before.
The use of dry heat as a sterilizing agent has
limitations. It should be restricted to items that
are unsuitable for exposure to moist heat. High
temperatures and extended time periods are re-
quired when using dry heat. In most instances,
this method often proves impractical. The
temperature must be 320°F (160°C), and the time
period must be at least 2 hours.
CHEMICAL STERILIZATION. Only one
liquid chemical, if properly used, is capable of
rendering an item sterile; that chemical is
glutaraldehyde. The item to be sterilized must be
totally submerged in the glutaraldehyde solution
for 10 hours. Before immersion, the item must
be thoroughly cleansed and rinsed with sterile
water or sterile normal saline. It should be noted
that this chemical is extremely caustic to skin,
mucous membranes, and other tissues.
The most effective method of chemical
sterilization presently available is the use of
ethylene oxide (ETO) gas. ETO gas sterilization
should be used only for material and supplies that
will not withstand sterilization by steam under
pressure. Never gas sterilize any item that can be
steam sterilized. The concentration of the gas and
the temperature and humidity inside the sterilizer
are vital factors that affect the gas sterilization
ETO gas sterilization periods range from 3 to
7 hours. All items gas sterilized must be allowed
an aeration (airing out) period. During this period,
the ETO gas is expelled from the surface of the
item. It is not practical here to present all exposure
times, gas concentration, and aeration times for
various items to be gas sterilized. When using an
ETO gas sterilizer, it is important to be extremely
cautious and to follow the manufacturers instruc-
Preparation of Supplies for Autoclaving
. Ensure that all articles to be sterilized are
clean and in good condition and working
. Wrap instruments and materials to be
autoclave in double muslin wrappers or
two layers of disposable sterilization
When muslin wrappers are routinely used,
launder them after each use and carefully
inspect them for holes and tears before use.
When articles are placed in glass or metal
containers for autoclaving, place the lid of
the container so the steam will penetrate
the entire inside of the container.
The contents of a linen pack are arranged
in such a way so the articles on top are used
Label every item that is packaged for
sterilization to specify the contents and ex-
Do not place surgical knife blades and
suture materials inside linen packs or in-
strument trays before sterilization.
Wash each instrument after use with an an-
tiseptic detergent solution. When washing
by hand, pay particular attention to hinged
parts and serrated surfaces. Rinse all in-
struments and dry them thoroughly.
Use an instrument washer/sterilizer, if
available, to decontaminate instruments
and utensils following each surgical
Following cleaning and decontamination,
leave hinged instruments unclamped and
wrapped singly or placed in trays for
Inspect all reusable glassware for cracks
Wash all reusable glassware with soap or
detergent and water after use and rinse it
When preparing reusable glass syringes:
Match numbers or syringe parts.
Wrap each plunger and barrel sepa-
rately in gauze.