You must have heard about sanitizer or word sterilization a lot during the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, when Covid-19 first wave hit in most of the countries, there was a high demand for sanitizers. Sanitizer is a chemical in the form of gel or liquid used to kill bacteria, microorganisms, viruses on hand. Sanitizers are mainly used to clean hands, whereas, sterilization is a more scientific method to make a product free from bacteria, viruses & viable microorganisms.

This blog post helps to understand about sterilization process in detail.

Sterilization definition

Sterilization is a process/method to eliminate or kill or destroy bacteria, microorganisms, and viruses on products like a syringe, needles, plastic/glass bottles, food packaging containers, medical devices, surgical devices to achieve sterility. Sterility means the condition of being free from bacteria, microorganisms, and viruses.

Why sterilization is essential?

Sterilization is essential for a few surgical and medical devices where it is used to collect blood samples (syringe & needles), tissue samples, enter in the vascular system, or devices where blood flows or blood is stored. Usage of non-sterile surgical instruments/devices leads to infection to the patient, the transmission of diseases like HIV, hepatitis B. Non-sterilize devices usage is also a high risk for medical professionals

Types of Sterilization

There are various scientific methods used for sterilization,

1. Chemical Sterilization

2. Radiation Sterilization

3. Heat (steam, dry heat)

4. Filtration

5. Microwave

6. Sunlight

7. Ultrasonic and sonic vibrations

Method of SterilizationSterilization sub-type
Non-ionizing radiation1. Ultraviolet
2. Infrared
Ionizing radiation1. Gamma rays
2. X-Rays
Chemical Agents1. Alcohol
2. Dyes
3. Gases
4. Phenols
5. Metallic Salts
6. Halogen
Physical Agents1. Drying
2. Filtration
3. Sunlight
4. Radiation
5. Heat
6. Ultrasonic Vibrations
Dry HeatHot Air Oven Method
1. Hot air oven
2. Flaming
3. Red Heat
Moist HeatAutoclave Sterilization Process
1. Temperature above 1000 C
2. Temperature at 1000 C
3. Temperature below 1000 C
Filtration1. Air Filter
2. Membrane Filter
3. Depth Filter

The terminology used in the sterilization

  1. Antisepsis:
  2. Bactericidal agents
  3. Bacteriostatic agents
  4. Cleaning
  5. Decontamination
  6. Sterile
  7. Sterility
  8. Sterility Acceptance Level (SAL)
  9. Sterilizing agent
  10. Test of Sterility
  11. Sterilization validation & verification


We hope this high-level overview of sterilization blog post helps to understand what is sterilization, its importance, and its different types.

Leave a Reply

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