Autoclave Safety Tips and Best Practices for Sterilization

Autoclave Safety Tips and Best Practices for Sterilization


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  • Source: Microbioz India

  • Date: 08 Nov,2023

Autoclaves are a very important tool in many industries like healthcare and research. They’re commonly used to sterilize equipment and materials in the labs. Making sure you’re using them properly is important, not just for achieving sterilization but preventing accidents too.

Here’s some best practices: Familiarize Yourself with the Autoclave:

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

You should always wear PPE when handling items for autoclaving, this includes lab coats, gloves, and either safety glasses or face shields, whatever your organization provides you with.

Proper Loading:

Stuff should be loaded into the autoclave carefully so you can ensure even heat distribution and avoid overcrowding. Use proper containers and racks designed for sterilization. And don’t block any airflow vents or steam outlets.


Clean everything before putting them in the autoclave. Removing dirtiness helps improve sterilization efficiency.

Use Autoclave-Safe Materials:

Only use materials that can handle high temperatures without melting or releasing toxic fumes. If you have to question if it’s safe then it probably isn’t.

Temperature and Pressure Settings:

Make sure you set the temperature and pressure levels correctly depending on what materials are being sterilized. You can find recommendations in the manufacturer’s guidelines. In general, though, 121-134°C (250-273°F) at 15-30 psi (1-2 bar) is good.


Pay attention to temperature and pressure readings while it’s going through a cycle of sterilization. Some autoclaves come with built-in safety interlocks that automatically prevent the door from opening when there’s still pressure inside.

Cooling Down:

Wait for the cooling cycle to complete before opening the chamber door. Opening it while the chamber is still pressurized or hot can lead to burns and equipment damage.

Venting Steam:

Controlled venting is required to release pressure safely. Make sure there’s no obstructions around the steam outlet. And ensure that the area is properly ventilated.

Label Sterilized Items:

Date, contents, and operator’s name should all be clearly labeled on items you’ve sterilized. This will help avoid mix-ups and people using something after its expiration date.

Maintenance and Calibration:

You have to regularly maintain and calibrate the autoclave for it to work correctly. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for servicing intervals

Emergency Procedures:

In case of emergencies like equipment malfunction or something unexpected happens, make yourself familiar with emergency shutdown procedures. Also know where things are located in your lab like the emergency shut-off switches and fire extinguishers.
If you follow these best practices while using an autoclave, you’ll definitely minimize risks of accidents occurring during operation, reduce expenses spent on maintaining equipment, and increase safety for people who handle autoclaves. Always prioritize safety and adhere to your organization’s guidelines for autoclave use.

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