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Every Sterilizing Cycle Time Is Unique

Army Medical School, 1927, sterilizers

We are often asked by clients what our autoclave’s “typical” cycle times are. The short of it is: there is no typical cycle time. The cycle time for any autoclave depends on the mass and composition of the load, not the features of the autoclave. For example, a liquid cycle will always take longer because vacuum features cannot be used and the liquid must be sufficiently cool before the door can be opened—but the volume of liquid in each of your containers and the viscosity of that fluid has a huge impact on optimal cycle times.

Research Labs Have Cycle Time Guidelines

Even if we know the density and composition of the load, there’s still no “typical” cycle time, because that will depend on your application and applicable regulations. For example, there are meaningful differences between CDC guidelines for disinfection and sterilization in health care settings, state or industry standards, and the many policies in place at specific universities. Even within a single university system policies may differ in ways to impact total cycle times. Note that the University of Florida, the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of Iowa each maintain their own autoclave guidelines.

Priorclave Will Help You Meet Your Steam Sterilizing Needs

Autoclave companies can, and should, recommend the features required to achieve specific goals. Priorclave will work with you to determine what you need from an autoclave in your lab. Unnecessary features represent pointless costs up front, and unused features can lead to costly maintenance issues over time. As Priorclave North America CEO Barbra Wells put it, “When dealing with heat, steam, and pressure, simplicity is the best way to ensure longevity.”

[Photo Credit: Otis Historical Archives National Museum, CC BY 2.0]