Why Did My Test Fail?

Cold Start: Some sterilizers may require you to preheat prior to operation. Refer to your manual for more information.

Cycle Interruption: If your sterilizer was opened or halted before it completed a cycle, the unit may not have adequately sterilized. The cycle should be restarted and completed without interruption.

Overloading: It is important not to exceed the load capacity as it is listed. The steam/heat/vapor must be able to flow around each item being sterilized, and to make contact with all surfaces. Refer to your sterilizer’s manual for more information.

Pressure: Autoclaves require a certain amount of pounds per square inch (psi) to function. Loss of pressure can result in inadequate sterilization, and is most frequently caused by an improper seal of the door gasket, or a faulty pressure valve.

Temperature: Most steam sterilizers operate between 250 – 270 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures lower than 250, and above 290 degrees will most likely not sterilize. Chemical sterilizers generally sterilize at 270 degrees, while most dry heat sterilizers operate at 320 degrees.

Time: All sterilizers run for varying lengths of time–please refer to your user manual for instructions. It is important to note that the cycle time begins once the unit reaches the appropriate operating temperature.


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