You're sterilizing instruments to reduce the risk of bloodborne pathogens and cross-contamination, but you need to monitor your autoclave to ensure it's working properly.
Chemical monitoring uses an indicator such as tape, strips, or special markings and tabs on packaging materials. These indicators contain sensitive chemicals that change color when exposed to high temperatures or combinations of time and temperature. Because the results of chemical indicator results are visible immediately following the sterilization cycle, you'll understand the quality of that sterilization cycle quicker than with a spore test.
A chemical indicator should be used inside every package to ensure the sterilizing agent has penetrated the package and reached the instruments inside.
But similar to mechanical monitoring, successful chemical monitoring does not guarantee that the items monitored by the chemical indicator is sterile. According to the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), the use of chemical indicators, part of an effective quality assurance program, should be used in conjunction with mechanical and biological monitors.
Precise, easy-to-read format provides physical proof of sterilization conditions.
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Seals autoclave bags, tubing, pouches, and CSR wraps, indicating sterile conditions have been attained by steam-sterilized packages.
For steam and chemical sterilizers. Indicator ink changes from white to black, indicating sterilization process has been completed.
Learn more about Mechanical Monitoring
Learn more about Biological Monitoring
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Return to our main sterilization page to learn about monitoring best practices.