How does the sterilization process of autoclaves work?

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There are many reasons why autoclave sterilizers are so effective in the disposal of hospital waste. Their growing use in the medical industry can largely be attributed to something called the “steam sterilization process”. Read on to find out more about the benefits of autoclaves and how they work!

The machine behind the sterilization process: how does an autoclave work?

The first medical autoclave was invented in the late 19th century by Charles Chamberland, a French microbiologist who was the colleague of Louis Pasteur. Charles saw a need for a more reliable and practical sterilization method and was responsible for the pressure-cooker machines we now know as autoclaves.

By using high-pressure and high-temperature steam as a source, autoclaves provide a much more relying way at removing all foreign materials on the tools treated inside the machine’s chamber compared to traditional disinfection methods, not to mention they are also more environmentally friendly and practical compared to incinerators. They are also more versatile, as they can not only sterilize medical waste before its disposal, but also sterilize all kinds of medical tools so they can be reused without the risk of spreading infections to staff and other patients.

This is why the steam sterilization process of autoclaves works so well

The sterilization process of an autoclave always starts by removing all air from its chamber, to raise pressure inside and create a vacuum. Air free environments are required so that the steam may fully reach every single part of the load inside. Furthermore, by raising the pressure inside the machine, autoclaves can raise the temperature of steam well over 100 degrees Celsius.

Essentially, steam sterilizers can increase the boiling point of water (in this case, steam) to kill all forms of spores and bacteria, including heat-resistant ones. The temperature of a modern B class autoclave’s steam ranges between 121 and 134 degrees Celsius, and takes only about 20 minutes to complete one full sterilization cycle, including loading the machine, and unloading it after the drying and cooling phase.

This greatly reduces the risks of infection that are commonly associated with storing, transporting, and disposing of medical waste.

What kind of autoclave works best for the sterilization process?

Of course, there are different classes of autoclaves for the medical industry to use. All of them can be a good choice, but the most versatile and effective one is definitely the B class autoclave, which is one of the best steam sterilizers available on the market right now. Dental clinics, hospitals, and other medical facilities may need to sterilize all kinds of materials, including textile items, porous loads, as well as wrapped and unwrapped goods.

With the use of a powerful vacuum pump, class B autoclaves are the ones that can most effectively suck all air out of their chamber in order to sterilize even the most complex loads. They are also the fastest in their category, allowing staff to work much more efficiently with a shortened sterilization cycle time.