Moist Heat Sterilization

Moist Heat Sterilization

Have you ever heard about moist heat sterilization? If not, this blog helps you to understand what is moist heat sterilization process.

What is the moist heat sterilization process?

It’s very simple, in moist heat sterilization high-pressure steam is applied to the object to kill bacteria, micro-organisms, fungi, viruses, and spores. Hot water vapor/steam act as a sterilizing agent in the moist heat sterilization process. Moist heat kills microorganisms by denaturation of structural proteins & irreversible coagulation.

Application of moist heat sterilization

The moist heat sterilization process is mainly used for surgical instruments like dental forceps, scalpels, bone chisels, surgical burs, Surgical scissors, and Various scalpels.

What kind of instruments are used in the moist heat sterilization process?

Well, it’s an autoclave. Autoclave works similarly to a pressure cooker where steam generates a heating coil of autoclave and closed enclosure build and increase the pressure inside autoclave.

Types of Autoclave

Please refer to the following image to understand the difference between horizontal (front-loading) and vertical autoclave (top loading).

Horizontal autoclave
Vertical Autoclave

Types of moist heat sterilization

Following 3 types of sterilization process widely used,

Types of moist heat sterilizationSub Type / Technical Name
1. Below 100deg. centigradePasteurization
2. At 100deg. centigrade2.1 Boiling
2.2 Steam Sterilization
3. Above 100deg. centigradeAutoclave
3.1 Slow Exhaust: Medical waste and liquid
3.2 Fast Exhaust: Instruments, glass ware

Moist heat sterilization process parameters

Following 4 process parameters used in the moist heat sterilization process,

Process ParametersUnit / Range
TimeHolding time 20 – 30 min
Sterilizing Agent Moist heat
Pressure15 to 20 Psi
Temperature110 to 130 degrees centigrade
Water LevelDefined water level as per autoclave

Pros & Cons of Moist Heat Sterilization Process

Yeah! Every process or technology subjected Pros (advantage) and Cons (disadvantage), same is with the moist heat sterilization process. Let’s review the pros and cons of the moist heat sterilization process.

Pros of Moist Heat Sterilization:

  1. Cost-effective and easy to sterilize in an autoclave
  2. Non-toxic, no radiation involved in moist heat sterilization
  3. Easy to monitor and control overall sterilization process
  4. Good penetration level
  5. Safe to use

Cons of Moist Heat Sterilization

  1. Not suitable for heat-sensitive objects like fiber optic, plastic, plastic packaging, and electronic instruments.
  2. Not suitable for moisture/humidity sensitive objects
  3. The high potential risk of rusting surgical tools.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.