Get Answers to Your Questions
Ask any question about sterilization and autoclaving and one of Tuttnauer's experts will answer. Send your question to [email protected] with the title “Q&A.”
Q. If a tray is put into the sterilizer wet will the steam penetrate where the water is standing and sterilize? (Shelly, USA)
A. Yes, but we strongly recommend not placing wet items into the autoclave since it changes the steam quality and will increase the total heating and drying time. However, if there are extenuating circumstances and your sterile processing requires that the tray be wet, then the water on the tray should preferably be from distilled water and not tap water. Distilled water must be used with the autoclave so that there is no mineral deposit buildup that would occur with tap water.
Q. What is the best method of sterilization of heat-sensitive instruments/items for vitrectomy surgery? (Gloria, Nigeria)
A. In order to sterilize such a sensitive load, you should use an over-pressure air-steam mixture cycle.
Q. Hello, is it good to use corrosive (vinegar) substance to clean up one electrical autoclave? (Baltaga, Somalia)
A. We do not recommended using any cleaning materials other than Chamber Brite for Class N autoclaves. For Class B autoclaves, use distilled water and a soft sponge made of fabric and not abrasive steel wool to clean the inside of the chamber. Also it’s important to clean the reservoir periodically and replace the water.
Q. Recently we have had what looks like scorching of linen in the hospitals sterilizers. It seems to be random and not every package is affected in the same load. We have had the steam tested, lines inspected, water tested and the towels tested with nothing negative showing. Are we looking at superheated steam? Would superheated steam cause this type of damage? And if it is what do we need to do to test it and resolve it? (Quinn, USA)
A. Superheated steam may be the reason. There are many ways to improve the steam quality to the recommended level, but for that we have to know the exact autoclave model and steam source, and several other factors.
Q. Hi, I'm the designated midwife responsible for the autoclave and ensuring best sterilizing practices. I've noticed the Public Health guidelines are geared toward hospital settings. Are there any guidelines focused on autoclaving in office settings? (Amy, Canada)
A. It is important to consider what is being sterilized and how. For example, instruments that will not be used immediately must be packed in sterilization pouches or cassettes to be stored and used at a later time, in order to avoid recontamination. In this case, you need a Class B autoclave/pre-post vacuum. Also hollows must be sterilized with Class B autoclave/pre-post vacuum.
For proper public health guidelines about how to pack and store sterile equipment, see here.
Thanks for joining us for this set of Q&A’s. Please keep in mind that the questions answered here are of a general nature and may not include specific instructions for all Tuttnauer models and for all possible sterilization loads. For specific questions regarding your autoclave model or sterilization load, please contact us directly at [email protected].