Contract Research Organizations like Gibraltar Laboratories, Inc. need to offer a variety of sterilization methods to accommodate different devices, media, medical instruments and products.

In the medical and health care industries, there are few things more important than proper sterilization.  For each element of the pharmaceutical and health care industries there is a proper way to sterilize.  This is true for medical equipment, medical devices and pharmaceutical drugs, implants and  injectable vaccinations.

Really, if it’s in a medical or pharmaceutical facility, and it comes anywhere near a patient, chances are it undergoes some kind of sterilization.  There are several different types of sterilization used for these purposes.

Most commonly, heat is used to sterilize these products to achieve a SAL of 10-6. There are two distinctive types of heat-based sterilization: Moist Heat Sterilization and Dry Heat Sterilization.

Moist Heat Sterilization – This type of sterilization uses moisture, water-vapor or steam at high temperatures.  Moist heat steam sterilization is achieved in an autoclave, an enclosed device that sterilizes products with pressurized steam.   Typically, autoclaves are the preferred method of moist heat sterilization.

Advantages The penetrating nature of steam makes it a great solution to destroy proteins in any microorganism after a certain amount of time.  It is environmentally safe having no toxic by-products..

Dry Heat Sterilization – Dry heat sterilization is typically achieved through methods such as using a Hot Air Oven.  The most commonly seen method of dry heat sterilization in the medical and pharmaceutical industry is the Hot Air Oven method.

AdvantagesDry heat sterilization is preferred for heat stable products that are sensitive to moisture.

Liquid Chemical Sterilization This form of sterilization is typically used for devices, instruments and tools that are heat sensitive but not liquid sensitive.  The object in need of sterilization is immersed in the sterilizing liquid for a set amount of time and then undergoes sterilization validation in order to assess whether it has been fully sterilized.  Peracetic Acid,  Glutaraldehyde or combination products are used for this process.  Care must be taken to properly clean off these chemicals.

Advantages Liquid Chemical Sterilization is extremely effective at killing vegetative organisms and spores.


These are just a few types of potential sterilization procedures that can be used by a pharmaceutical or medical company.  There are a few others, including toxic gas sterilization and radiation sterilization.  These forms of sterilization will destroy living organisms but are also quite dangerous to people and the environment.

Choose Gibraltar Laboratories for moist heat steam sterilization

At Gibraltar Laboratories, Inc. we have a full, comprehensive understanding of the appropriate sterilization procedures. including moist heat steam sterilization and Dry Heat Sterilization.

Count on Gibraltar Laboratories, Inc.  to know what kind of sterilization is right for each product.  Contact us today by phone at 877.315.5847 to find out how you can benefit from our sterilization services and more.

For further reading or services

For Bioburden, Sterility test, Dry heat or moist steam heat services
For Sterile, stoppers, seals and glass vials suitable for cGMP
Different types of sterilization methods
Many different techniques of medical instrument sterilization
Importance of medical sterilization
How the sterilization dose is calculated
Difference between most heat and dry heat sterilization

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