chemical indicator DOES NOT GUARANTEE sterilization; only that it has been through
the cycle. The chemical indicator is placed in the center of the pack as well as
externally in the form of pressure-sensitive tape. The mechanical indicators include a
recording chart, which provides information on time and temperature for the cycle.
f. Aeration. An adequate aeration period is essential following EO sterilization.
(1) The manufacturer's suggested aeration times should be followed.
Table 3-1 illustrates some aeration times used.
(2) Ambient aeration is defined as open-room aeration. It can be done with
ambient air in a clean, well-ventilated area removed from other medical supplies. This
type of aeration is rarely used.
(3) When aeration chambers are used, the aeration load records should be
maintained on the aeration chamber with time in and time out recorded.
3-14. UNLOADING OF STERILIZERS
a. Steam Sterilizer. Items should be removed from the sterilizer when the
sterilization cycle is completed. The recording thermometer chart must be checked for
temperature attained and length of cycle, including the drying time. The
chemical/physical indicator should also be checked for color change.
(1) Loading carriage used. When the sterilizer has a loading carriage (see
figure 3-1), the items remain on the loading carriage about 15 minutes or until cool.
They are then dated and stored. Dating and storage are discussed in the next few
(2) Loading carriage not used. If the sterilizer does not use a loading
carriage, the items are removed from the sterilizer and placed on wire mesh or slatted
wooden surfaces which are covered with several layers of muslin and in a position so
that air can circulate freely. You should not place the items close together until they are
cool. Date and store.
If warm packages are laid on a solid cold metal surface, they will become
damp from steam condensation and may become contaminated. Any item
that falls on the floor is considered contaminated.
b. Gas Sterilizer. When the cycle is completed, you should open the sterilizer
door and wait 15 minutes before removing the articles in the sterilizer. You will check
the recording chart for pre- and post-vacuum, temperature attained, and length of cycle.
The sterilizer indicating tape will be checked for color change. The items are taken from
the sterilizer and placed in an aerator for aeration. After aeration, date and store.