While it’s important for all businesses to stop the spread of sicknesses and disease, hospitals and other medical practices share a heightened responsibility in this area. That’s why all healthcare facilities use autoclaves to sterilize medical equipment. However, you can’t expect an autoclave to properly clean your tools if you don’t take care of the machine properly. That’s why it’s integral to understand proper autoclave maintenance. Read on to learn more about the specific processes.
First and foremost, make sure you clean the inside of the autoclave at least once a week. If you use it often, you might want to clean it every 25 cycles or so, but weekly is the best practice. Use a nonabrasive detergent to clean the interior. Avoid cleansers that use chlorine or bleach and corrosive scrub pads since these can damage your autoclave. After cleaning an autoclave, be sure to also run a biological spore test and change out the distilled water tank.
While these weekly processes are vital, you also can’t forget to flush out the system every so often. While this procedure will vary depending on the type of autoclave you have, you’ll usually need to do it on a monthly basis.
While regular maintenance in the short term is vital, long-term autoclave maintenance is just as imperative. Once a year, you should test and recalibrate your machine. Small issues can compound on one another over time, leading to larger mistakes down the road. You should also routinely check for potential damages to your autoclave. Springs, gaskets, and filters are the items that most often need replacements, but you should check all parts during these inspections.
In the end, regular care and maintenance of autoclaves is vital for ensuring not only their longevity, but also a consistent dedication to cleanliness. Your patients are counting on you to keep them safe, and that all starts with a properly functioning autoclave.