In the medical office, autoclave / sterilizers are a capital piece of equipment, and it is vital to keep them maintained while in order to ensure its longevity. Often, we find when a sterilizer is brought in for a repair; the malfunction is due to a lapse in regular maintenance – the kind you can perform in your own office. There are daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly tasks that are easy to perform and make habit out of, if done to a schedule. Click here to download the printable schedule care sheet.
Daily tasks include mostly dos and don’ts, such as never over-filling the instrument trays, making sure the trays are properly positioned in the chamber, and always keeping the reservoir cap in place. It is also very helpful to turn the autoclave / sterilizer off at the end of each day. Also while running the unit, for the safety of your patients, you should always insure that the unit is reaching proper temperature and pressure: 270°F/28 psi or 132°C/210 kpa.
Weekly tasks should include changing the water either every week or every 10 cycles. This is a crucial task as failure to do so promotes the growth of algae, which leads to various malfunctions within in the unit. Changing the water is the single most task that will ensure the best results for maintaining your autoclave or sterilizer.
Monthly tasks are important and should not be over looked, like checking the door gasket, and cleaning the outer ring around the chamber where the door gasket touches. It’s also important to clean the water filter (usually located on the bottom of the unit’s chamber), using a mild soap or in an ultrasonic cleaner.
Make sure it is free of dirt, and if it is past due on being cleaned, replace it. Continue to clean by scrubbing the inside of the chamber with a green pad and mild soap, and be very sure to rinse all surfaces. Left behind soap residue will lead to trouble. Finally, run a cleaning cycle using manufacturer recommended cleaner.
Yearly tasks for your autoclave or sterilizers are sometimes difficult to remember due to their annual time frame, but they are no less important. These include checking the units cord plug to make sure it isn’t worn, deformed, or melted, as this is a potential fire hazard, and having a technician come preform a preventive maintenance and calibration check.
Here at Medicanix, not only do we check for autoclave calibration, we check for proper temperature/pressure coordinates, leaks, amp draw, and most importantly clean out your reservoir.
Adhering to these simple steps, held to a rigid schedule, will increase your autoclave and sterilizer’s efficiency and ensure less time in the repair shop. An ounce of maintenance care goes is worth a pound of repairs.