A steam sterilizer, commonly referred to as an autoclave, is a vessel either with a cover or door, special valves that control the entry/exit of the air and steam, and monitoring devices that allow an operator observing the situation inside the unit. The device of this type is designed to hold the items, allowing the steam penetrating them under certain pressure.
Today’s market offers a wide range of different sterilizers. They are available in different sizes that range from fixed room-sized to portable countertop models.
There are also special bottle sterilizers, created to provide an extra sterilization degree for the baby’s bottles. Generally the devices used for bottles sterilization are microwave or electric. The first ones are able to double as cold water devices. The amount of water that is requires as well as the sterilization time varies from unit to unit. This is why it is very important to follow the instructions of the manufacturer, determining the exact amounts of liquid and time.
Before you find out more about the types of sterilizers available, you should know that many models have extra features that may become needed. To them belong the following ones:
an accessory tray
extra bottles or sippy cups
an alarm that lets one know when sterilization is complete
a signal that lets one know when the sterilizer is hot
automatic sterilization of contents after you remove/ add an item, or every few hours
This is one of popular types of steam sterilizers, which doesn’t require any rinsing or chemicals and can be plugged in at the wall. An electric steam sterilizer is able to kill all bacteria using steam heat.
As a rule, the process of sterilization takes up to 6-15 minutes. The items remain sterile during next 24 hours after the procedure. Of course, the duration depends on the unit with the lid closed.
Frankly speaking, this type of sterilizers is now regarded to as one of the most popular due to convenience. If you have many items to be sterilized, you can use this device.
Microwave Steam Sterilizer
A microwave steam sterilizer requires no chemical and rinsing, as well as an electrical variant. It works killing bacteria and the items remain sterile for 24 hours after the procedure. Some models are specially designed to double up as cold water devices. With these units the procedure takes up to 3-8 minutes, though things depend on the unit used. Unfortunately, metal items cannot be sterilized in this type of device.
The unit uses steam during several minutes. Each separate model needs different time to be set. This is why while working you should pay special attention to the instructions provided by a manufacturer. After the process is over, it is important to let the item cool inside the unit for 2-3 minutes.
If you are sterilizing bottles, you can place one and its parts into the unit for 90 seconds to ensure it is sterile. While the device is on, the bottle should be open.
Portable Steam Sterilizer
Years of researches and modern innovations made it possible to design portable steam sterilizers that address different problems. These low-tech steam units allow health workers sterilize different instruments and items before using them with a new patient. It means there is no need to rely on boiling the things, spending much time on this sort of procedure.
Portable sterilizers are very efficient and are always able to meet all the requirements of nursing homes, small dispensaries, medial missions, clinics and laboratories. They are economical to use and easy to operate.
The units are usually lightweight. They are large-capacity stem devices that provide sterile and dry instruments, labware and apparatus very quickly. The only recommendation is to use a small water amount, though it is usually predetermined by the recommendations of a manufacturer. After steam is built up and then exhausted, most sterilizers reach the sterilization range of 17-19psi in 15-17 minutes.
In order to remove chemical residue and moisture no wiping is needed. Besides, cutting edges are not dulled.