An autoclave is a self locking machine that sterilizes with steam under pressure.
Sterilization is achieved by the high temperature that steam under pressure can reach.
The high pressure also ensures saturation of wrapped surgical packs.
Autoclave Settings Temperature (F) Pressure (PSI) Time (min)
General Wrapped Items 250 20 30
Bottled Solutions 250 20 30
'Flashing' 270 30 4-7
Preparation for sterilization
All instruments must be double wrapped in linen or special paper or placed in a special metal box equipped with a filter before sterilization.
Flashing' is when an instrument is autoclaved unwrapped for a shorter period of time. 'Flashing' is often used when a critical instrument is dropped
Color Change Sterilization Indicators
The white stripes on the tape change to black when the appropriate conditions (temperature) have been met.
Indicators should be on the inside and outside of equipment pack.
Expiration dates should be printed on all equipment packs.
Color indicators are also included on the outside and inside of equipment sterilized in paper packages.
Biological sterilization indicators contain spores that are supplied in closed containers and are included with the instrument being autoclaved. Inability to culture the spores after autoclaving confirms adequate sterilization. Biological indicators are the most accurate sterilization indicators.