5 min

How to Maintain and Clean An Autoclave

The Autoclave Sterilizer was first invented in 1879. Around that time, experts began to recognize the benefits of sterile surgery. Thus, surgeons were in desperate need of a more conventional sterilizing method rather than an open flame. The benefits of the autoclave were quickly apparent, and it became a vital feature of every clinic and hospital.

Today, autoclaves are used to sanitize surgical tools, instruments, pharmaceuticals, and other materials. It can sterilize solids, liquids, hollows, and varied shaped and sized devices. The size, design, and functionality autoclaves can differ. Think of it as a pressure cooker: it steams and kills bacteria, germs, and other environmental unknowns that are typically resistant to boiling water or strong cleaning agents.

The Importance of Maintaining Your Autoclave

Autoclaves must be maintained to ensure that they run smoothly and are able to fully sterilize medical instruments. Regular maintenance can be done by medical staff working with the machine. We recommend regular maintenance performed by the team once a week, whereas larger maintenance appointments performed by a technician can vary.

As follows, determining how often you must get a maintenance service is dependent on usage. For example, a small to medium-sized practice, such as a dental practice, may only need to request machine maintenance once a year. On the other hand, bigger surgery centers will need to request Autoclave maintenance at least twice a year.   

Weekly Autoclave Maintenance Performed by Staff

When it comes to weekly Autoclave maintenance, your team is responsible for regular cleanings. The door gasket should be examined and cleaned on a weekly basis since rubber gaskets harden and split or shrink with time. The leaking steam is harmful to the user, thus the gasket must be replaced if it is discovered to be defective. Additionally, a weekly test employing a biological spore test indication is highly recommended. In fact, several states make it mandatory.

Following regular maintenance instructions allows your team to save time by being on the pulse of their machine. If your staff notices that something is defective, they have ample time to hire an experienced technician to come out and service the Autoclave. Additionally, this ensures safety for all parties, maintaining the level of sanitation that is required. We cannot stress enough how important regular maintenance and cleanings are for the safety of your team, patients, and practice.

Below, we share other tips on how to clean your Autoclave.

  • Clean the chamber every week (or in some cases, every 25 cycles) using a non-chlorinated cleaner and metal-free scour pad.
  • Implement weekly water changes with distilled water to avoid buildup, which will block the filters and valves.
  • Also, run the cleaning cycle and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Each machine comes with detailed instructions on how to properly clean and maintain your Autoclave.
  • Lastly, starting a cycle with the door open. If the door alarm does not appear on the alarm display, the door switch is faulty or must be adjusted. Then, the unit should not be used.

Ensure Optimal Safety & Practice Management With Autoclave Maintenance

By implementing regular maintenance in your surgical center, dental practice, and more, you’re able to ensure optimal safety for everyone involved. Autoclaves serve a huge role in the medical world, properly cleaning and sanitizing tools and instruments. Thus, it’s vital to clean and maintain your machine with proper maintenance. Not only does this help keep everyone safe, but it also helps save you time and money. Failure to maintain equipment can cause it to breakdown or reduce its service life. Poor maintenance frequently leads to more expensive repairs, may cause delays in medical treatment or diagnosis, and may jeopardize patient safety.

To learn more about how UptimeHealth’s platform can help you manage your Autoclave maintenance, compliance and muchmore, contact us today at

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