AUTOCLAVE: CLEANING AND PREPARATION OF INSTRUMENTS FOR AUTOCLAVING

Effective Date: 
Sat, 04/01/2006
Reviewed: 
Wed, 08/17/2011
Revised: 
Thu, 06/07/2012

SUBJECT: CLEANING AND PREPARATION OF INSTRUMENTS FOR AUTOCLAVING

PERSONNEL: RN, LVN, MA

EQUIPMENT:

  • APPROVED DETERGENT SOLUTION
  • APPROVED DISINFECTANT SOLUTION
  • APPROVED INSTRUMENT MILK
  • AUTOCLAVE
  • APPROPRIATE BARRIER PROTECTIONS SUCH AS GLOVES, GOWNS, MASKS OR EYE COVERINGS.

PURPOSE: To eliminate possibility of transmission of microorganisms. Sterilization destroys all microorganisms on the surface of an article or in a fluid to prevent disease transmission associated with the use of that item. The basic principle of steam sterilization, as accomplished in an autoclave, is to expose each item to direct steam contact at the required temperature and pressure for the specified time, thus sterilizing the item.

 PROCEDURE:

  • Staff member must wear proper PPE to handle contaminated instruments.
  • Rinse instruments in warm water and scrub to remove all blood, body fluids and tissue.
  • Submerge instruments in approved detergent solution at proper dilution and for appropriate time per manufacturer's directions. Rinse instruments in water.
  • Submerge instruments in approved disinfectant solution at proper dilution and for appropriate time per manufacturer's directions. Rinse instruments in water.
  • Hinged surgical instruments should be placed for thirty to forty-five seconds in instrument milk for lubrication and protection against corrosion, rusting and staining. Follow manufacturer's directions for mixing, diluting and using approved instrument milk.
  • Air dry instruments
  • Inspect instruments for proper function and condition.
  • Wrap instruments for autoclaving either individually or in sets and label packaging with staff member's initials.
  • Disposable plastic pouches or double wrapped non-woven instrument wrap paper may be used for steam processing.
  • Insert a steam indicator strip into each pouch or wrap.
  • Make sure instrument hinges are open before packaging.
  • When using plastic pouches, seal by folding open edge with self- sealing tape securing both the gummed paper package edge and plastic pouch edge.
  • When using two sheets of non-woven paper, package is secured using autoclave temperature sensitive tape.
  • Prior to loading the autoclave, on the gummed end of the pouch or on the autoclave tape of the paper wrapped instruments, the staff member writes the date of autoclaving.
  • Autoclave per manufacturer's specifications and record load on autoclave log.
  • If the steam indicator tape, package markings or interior steam indicator strip do not change color after processing  the instruments are repackaged and reprocessed.
  • Instruments are sterile for one year.
  • See autoclave procedures for detailed use of autoclave.

GENERAL INFORMATION:

  • Soak metal instruments in approved instrument detergent prior to disinfecting and sterilizing, per manufacturer's directions.  Change detergent solution in utility rooms daily, in patient exam rooms weekly.
  • Change approved instrument disinfectant solution in utility rooms every fourteen days or more often, as needed.
  • Change instrument milk solution every fourteen days or more often, as needed.