Methods for Sterilizing Medical Equipments

Sterilizing medical equipments is an imperative process which every medical personnel on this planet ought to do every single time he/she has monitored a patient. It is a process which can help in avoiding spreading of infections to a great extent.

There are ways through which the equipments can be sterilized and there are benefits involved when one is opting for a particular way.

But before going into details regarding the ways and its benefits let’s know what is sterilization?

Sterilization means removing of infectious virus and bacteria present on the medical equipment. In rather simple terms, we can refer it as cleaning of the equipments.

Sterilizing medical equipments can be done through ways like

  1. Dry Heat Sterilization
  2. Moist Heat Sterilization
  1. Dry Heat Sterilization:

Dry heat Sterilization, one of the least used methods for sterilizing medical equipments and it utilizes dry heat.

The instruments used in this process are bunsen burner, hot air oven, incineration or burning, flaming, radiation, microwave, and glass bead sterilizer. There is generally time and temperature relation while the process is taking place.

For example: for 160 °C i.e. 320 °F, it takes 2 hours or for 170 °C i.e. 340 °F, it takes 1 hour

The important matter to be noted here is that the instruments should be dry while doing. The benefits of using this is, it penetrates materials, nontoxic in nature and doesn’t harm the environment. And it is noncorrosive for metal and sharp instruments.

Tip: It is always necessary that one wear right clothes while doing it and even the clothes should be cleaned after the sterilizing medical equipments procedure is done. In short, one should be wearing proper gloves, clothes, eye-protection garment and even a cap.

There are solutions present to soak the instruments in and it’s good to look for a neutral pH detergents solution. An added enzyme makes it easier to clean the surface of the medical instruments.

  1. Moist Heat Sterilization:

Moist heat sterilization is the total opposite of dry heat sterilization.  It uses hot air which is filled with water vapor and the moisture plays a vital role in the sterilization process.

Several different methods used in moist heat sterilization are water bath, boiling, steam sterilizer, pasteurization (Milk) and auto clave.

The most frequently used and most favored form of moist heat sterilization is the auto clave method of sterilization.

The advantage of utilizing the auto clave method of sterilization is that due to the moist heat and high penetrating property of the water vapor, it kills the proteins in any organic life form immediately. It is used for sterilizing equipments which do not get burnt and can survive high temperatures.

Tip: One should be vigilant while handling sharp items like scissors, blades, etc. If an instrument is meant for single use only, one should dispose it immediately and properly rather than sterilizing medical equipments and reuse it.

  1. Utilizing a Disinfectant:

If one doesn’t have fire and is in a hurry, they can wipe the instrument off with a clean cloth which is to be soaked in iodine, povidone-iodine (Betadine) or alcohol. The medical equipment needs to be dipped in the solution and stirred for ten seconds.

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