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 required 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 process. 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 instructions carefully.
Preparation of Supplies for Autoclaving