How often do I need to do a full preventative maintenance on my Autoclave?

The answer to autoclave maintenance is not that simple, as it depends on how much usage the autoclave is getting. It’s also important to know how often you maintain and clean your autoclave as recommended by the manufacturer.

Practice Size Usage can play a Factor:

As a general rule, a small to medium size dental or veterinary practice, for example, should have full preventative maintenance done to their autoclave at least once a year. This would be in addition to your weekly maintenance of water changes and cleaning cycles etc. (See below for weekly recommended maintenance).

When you should call a technician for Autoclave Maintenance:

For a larger surgery center or medical group, a bi-annual preventative maintenance performed by a certified technician would be recommended.
This full preventative maintenance includes a thorough cleaning of the water reservoir and pressure chamber paying particular attention to cleaning corrosion off the sensors in the chamber.

What gets done during a Bi-annual Preventative Maintenance:

Wear parts like the door gasket, chamber filters, air filters and certain valves like the safety relief valve and air jet valve on the Tuttnauer ez10 for example, should be changed yearly. Door springs on the Midmark M9 and M11 should be changed yearly among other parts deemed to be worn, broken, or faulty.

Also, the lubrication of moving parts like the door hinges and door pins with a special high temperature rated grease and oil is needed. The technician will also remove the cover and do an Internal wire inspection for frayed wires, ground continuity test and look for any potential electrical hazards.

In addition, an internal check for cracking and leaks in the condensing coil and rubber tubing is done. The technician will also run a functional test and calibration cycle and calibrate the unit if needed. This will prevent any failure during the sterilization cycle and ensure proper sterilization of your medical instruments.

What you can do yourself:

Weekly and monthly autoclave maintenance is recommended and usually performed by the medical technicians on staff at the medical practice.


Weekly Autoclave Maintenance:

The door gasket should be checked and cleaned weekly as rubber gaskets get hard and will crack and or shrink over time, the escaping steam is, of course, dangerous for the user and thus the gasket must be changed if the door gasket is found to be faulty. Call for service.

  • Conducting a weekly test using a biological spore test indicator is highly recommended and many states even require this by law.
  • Clean chamber weekly or every 25 cycles using a non-chlorinated cleaner and scrub pad which contains no metals.
  • Change water weekly using distilled water only this will prevent the build-up of algae which will clog the filters and valves.
  • Run cleaning cycle, refer to manufacturers recommendations.

Weekly door switch check:

With the door open, attempt to start a cycle. If door alarm does not appear on alarm display, the door switch is defective or requires adjustment. The unit should not operate. Call for service.

Also, Inspect the door latch mechanism for signs of wear or improper closure. Call for service.


Autoclave maintenance