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  • Writer's pictureDurham Autoclaves

AutoCare: How to regularly maintain your autoclave.

Within many medical sectors and practices, an autoclave is an important cog in the day to day running. Without a working autoclave, equipment cannot be used which can create delays and even downtime.

Even when it is up and running, an autoclave needs to be running at optimum levels to deliver reliability and a full sterilisation of your equipment.

You have made an investment, so you want to make sure it is running as you need to it be.

How can you ensure that your autoclave is working at the highest performance, all of the time?

Many steriliser businesses offer regular maintenance and servicing for your autoclaves, including ourself. But these can take time from your routine, so what are some quick and straightforward ways you can ensure that your practices autoclave is working without faults?

We are going to run you through the ways you can maintain and cleaning your autoclave to ensure ongoing performance and reliability.

Firstly, cleaning.

We know that an autoclaves main purpose is to clean your equipment, but to ensure it can do that as efficiently as possible it needs to be cleaned regularly.

All autoclaves are different and require different specific cleaning regimes.

However, it is generally recommended to give your autoclave a big clean every month.

The autoclave should be drained to remove all dirty water. Then the chamber should be cleaned with products and equipment that your provider recommends.

Durham Autoclaves proudly distribute and install Melag autoclaves, therefore we understand the cleaning process for Melag’s range of Autoclaves.

The Melag Chamber cleaning kit provides you with an autoclave suitable cleaning liquid, 50 lint-free cloths and 1 microfibre cloth.

This cleaner is suited to all autoclaves which are made by Melag.

Regular cleaning of the autoclave stops discolouration of the cylinder, which provides your autoclave with long-term protection.

For long term prevention, the cleaning kit also removes even soiling that is invisible to the eye and thus saves the chamber and trays from discolouration and deposits.

It is recommended that the chamber is cleaned once a week with the cleaning kit. This is a great way to ensure that your autoclave can provide you with a full sterilisation for your equipment.

A monthly full clean of your autoclave is also recommended, however the guidelines for this entirely depend on your autoclave and how it should be maintained.

We are going to look at easy ways to daily maintain and care for your autoclave.

Firstly, before any equipment or supplies are placed into the autoclave for sterilisation, they should be checked. There should be no debris left on the equipment, this includes blood or tissue. Removing this prevents the steriliser or equipment becoming damaged.

The door should also be checked daily for signs of wear. Cracking could indicate there is an issue with your autoclave which may need to be investigated quickly.

However, cleaning of the door using a mild detergent can prevent issues with the autoclave door.

The trays should never be overloaded with too many tools. Although it seems like a timesaver, overloading may mean the items are not sterilised properly and would have to be ran through again.

Only loading the trays with the equipment it can handle and with no overlap means all the tools can be fully sterilised.

For reassurance that your autoclave is running correctly, you can run a test strip with your cycle to ensure that the correct parameters have been met to achieve sterilization.

The type of strip you may need is dependant on your autoclave type, this can be found in your manual or contacting your supplier.

There are ways to weekly maintain your autoclave.

As already suggested, the autoclave and its components should be cleaned weekly.

The trays and racks should be cleaned with a non-scratch scour pad using a mild non-abrasive detergent. Be sure to not use steel wool, wire brush, or bleach as these will damage your autoclaves.

Each week, your autoclave should be completely drained from the reservoir and replenished with fresh, distilled water. This ensures your equipment is receiving a full sterilisation each time.

Monthly, there are also measures to ensure your autoclave is maintained to optimum quality.

The chamber and flush lines should be cleaned with a recommended cleaner for your autoclave. Instructions for your specific autoclave should also be followed, these may be found online or from your supplier and installer.

Inspect the cord for your autoclave. If there are signs of excessive wear or overheating, this needs to be replaced immediately as this may become a safety hazard.

Depending your autoclave, it may be a simple repair. If the repair does not appear to be so simple, a certified repair company who can safely install the right cable for your autoclave.

On a yearly basis, your autoclave should have a full inspection by a registered autoclave engineer.

Just like an MOT for your car, your autoclave will be tested to view any parts which may have worn down over time and are not functioning properly. Your autoclave will be inspected, cleaned thoroughly, tested and calibrated.

A yearly service ensures all parts of your autoclave are working safely and to a satisfactory level. Without this, your autoclave may not be cleaning your equipment right. It may also be costing you time and money, through increased downtime due to faulty parts.

Durham Autoclaves offer servicing of autoclaves within the North of England at an interval which suits you and your practice, to learn more click here.

Although it may seem tasking, taking care of your autoclave regularly is the best practise to ensure the longevity of your autoclave and avoid costly pay outs.

For more information on cleaning for your autoclave, many suppliers have guides on their website.

We are here to answer your autoclave and steriliser questions, if you need further advice on caring for your autoclave or to book servicing for your practice, get in touch with our team!

Give us a call here!

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