The process of sterilization is an extremely important part of medical care and the health industry. There are many different methods to sterilize medical equipment, devices, implantable devices and consumables.

Sterilization is generally attained when heat, irradiation, high pressure, filtration or chemicals are applied on the medical or surgical equipment.

One of the oldest forms of sterilization is dry heat sterilization. It is also one of the least used methods when it comes to sterilizing medical equipment.

Heat sterilization can be divided into two separate categories:

Dry Heat Sterilization:

Dry heat sterilization is one of the earliest forms of sterilization ever practiced, and it utilizes hot air that is free from any water vapor. There are various methods of dry heat sterilization as well. Some of the most common of these methods are:

  • Hot Air Oven
  • Burning or Incineration
  • Radiation
  • Flaming
  • Microwave

The most commonly used of all dry heat sterilization methods is the hot air oven method of sterilization.

Moist Heat Sterilization:

Moist heat sterilization is the complete opposite of dry heat sterilization in the sense that it uses hot air that is filled with water vapor, and the moisture plays a crucial role in the sterilization process.

There are several different methods used in moist heat sterilization. Some of them are:

  • Water bath
  • Boiling
  • Steam Sterilizer
  • Pasteurization (Milk)
  • Auto Clave

The most frequently used and most preferred form of moist heat sterilization is the auto clave method of sterilization.

Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages to get a better understanding about these two different styles of sterilization and their methods:

Hot Air Oven Advantages and Disadvantages:

A hot air oven is considerably safer to work with when compared with the auto clave due to the fact that they do not need any water and hence pressure is not built up within the oven which allows them to be used safely in the environment of a laboratory.

They are small in nature but are faster and reach higher temperatures compared to the auto clave.

The only negative would be that since they use dry heat, some organisms like prions might not be killed completely.

Auto Clave Advantages and Disadvantages:

Due to the moist heat and high penetrating property of the water vapor, it kills the proteins in any organic life form instantly. It finishes off organisms like prions with relative ease with its oxidative thorough damage.

Auto clave is used to sterilize equipment that does not get burnt and can withstand high temperatures, like powder or glass ware.

The only negative about Auto clave would be that it burns linen and sterilized surgical equipments lose their sharpness over time.

Gibraltar Laboratories enjoys an impeccable reputation as a health care service provider. The company boasts a long list of satisfied clients.

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