Items (load) to be sterilized in an autoclave machine are required to be labeled properly according to standard practice. And that’s because tape strips are to be exposed to pressure and controlled temperature. Aside from that, the items or packages have to be handled properly to prevent contamination.

So how must you label an autoclave package to maintain sterilization? To know more about this, we recommend you to read further as we’ll tackle this topic in today’s blog post.

Proper Handling And Labeling According To Industry Standards

The items to be placed inside the autoclave chamber must be put inside a sterilization pack. And each item must be taped with autoclave tape, which is a temperature-sensitive tape that changes color once they are exposed to steam and high temperatures.

The purpose of labeling loads with autoclave tapes is to quickly identify what the item is, when it was sterilized, and who wrapped these items to be sterilized. Hence, the tape strip must always include these important details

  • Item’s general description
  • Details of autoclave sterilization
  • Initials of the person who wrapped the load

Also, these details are important to prevent contamination, infection, and to ensure proper storage of items or loads after sterilization.

As for proper handling, you are required to let the item dry out before removing it out from the autoclave chamber. The drying time is actually included in the Exhaust Phase (E) of the sterilization process after the steam is being released at the exhaust and sterilization drain as the autoclave chamber is being depressurized.

Removing the item before the recommended drying time increases the risk of contamination since moisture spreads microbes and bacterial contaminants quickly, which defeats the purpose of autoclave sterilization as a result.

Aside from that, the temperature in the room must be at room temperature or 90 degrees before taking out the load from the autoclave chamber.

Moreover, it is also required that you wear sterile gloves and prepare a tray as you’ll also need this to maintain proper handling of the load(s).

Why You Have To Use An Autoclave Tape During The Sterilization Process

Aside from quick identification of sterilized items, autoclave tape indicators are necessary because of the following reasons:

  1. Proper Validation – An autoclave tape changes color (chemical indicator markings) to indicate that the load is already sterile. To be specific, the words “autoclaved”, “Sterile”, or diagonal stripes will appear once the item is already exposed to 121°C during the sterilization process.
  2. Right Adhesion – Indicator tapes have special adhesives at the back that sticks even if the item is exposed to steam and high temperatures. And these tapes can be easily removed without leaving any adhesive residue once you peel them off. All you need is a razor blade and gently peel it off starting at the edges of the tape.
  3. No Distortion In Details – Finally, an autoclave tape is designed to keep all the printed details before and after sterilization. The material of the strip can withstand heat and moisture very that it won’t distort the details to ensure accurate recordkeeping.

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