How to Maintain your Steriliser to ensure Longevity
In Medical and Surgical facilities where sterilisation is required, Autoclaves are the central pieces of the instrument cleaning process. Steriliser machines are an important investment and need to be cared for and maintained correctly to ensure that your machine goes the journey.
Sometimes when Autoclaves aren’t maintained or used correctly, you can be subject to costly and medical equipment repairs. This in turn will affect your sterilising workflow process and leave you without a functioning autoclave for undetermined amounts of time.
Installation of your Autoclave
Steriliser installation should always be performed by an authorised technician. In many cases, leading Autoclave brands such as W&H Sterilisation and Melag will have a list of Authorised Biomedical Technicians that have experience with installation of their Autoclaves. If you would like to speak to someone that can install your autoclave or carry out repairs, contact us here and we’ll direct you to a relevant Biotech partner within our extensive network.
Autoclaves should always be installed on a sturdy, flat and level surface.
Preparation procedures for using your Autoclave
All instruments should be thoroughly cleansed prior to sterilisation. This includes removing all build-up of blood and tissue as well as removing all traces disinfectants and detergents. The surgical instruments must always be carefully rinsed and dried prior to sterilisation.
Correct load placement is essential to ensure that your Autoclave performance is optimal and long-lasting. You should always check your autoclave user manual and adhere to the load weight limits. Autoclave trays must also never be placed directly into the Steriliser without the tray rack as it can affect steam and temperature distribution. Loads must be supported by the tray racks. If the chamber is only partially loaded, the load should be placed in such a way that the space in-between the trays is maximised.
Ensure that the water you are using is in accordance with the Autoclave manufactures guidelines. Typically all autoclaves require distilled water as it is the purest water possible. All impurities are removed when the water goes through the distillation process and thus ensures all harmful minerals, salts and impurities are removed. In short, low water quality can severely damage the autoclave.
Cleaning your Autoclave Machine
You should routinely clean your autoclave to prevent any build up of bacteria, debris and tissue. Again, the manufactures cleaning protocols and time periods need to be followed. This usually includes cleaning the door seals and chamber face with a damp, lint-free cloth that is moistened with clean water. You should never use abrasive products or sharp objects as they can cause damage to your steriliser. Autoclave filters also need to be removed and rinsed with clean water regularly.
Autoclave Machine Maintenance
Maintenance of sterilisation machines in accordance with relevant sterilisation standards and manufactures guidelines is critical and will ensure that you get the most out of your steriliser.
During routine maintenance checks and autoclave servicing from technicians, professional inspections are completed and calibrations are checked. Testing is also completed to ensure that the autoclave is safe and meets AS4187, AS4815:2006 and AS3551 standards.
Some W&H Autoclaves such as the W&H Lyla Steriliser have an inbuilt maintenance procedure in which the Autoclave will carry out a ‘self-check’ to ensure that there is no errors or interferences in functionality.