How to Maintain and Extend the Life of Your Dental Autoclave

Dental sterilizers are imperative to a dental practice. Also referred to as autoclaves, dental sterilizers use steam—at temperatures reaching 270° F—to completely sterilize instruments and equipment. This steam sterilization of various surgical tools and dental instruments is efficient and safe. Designed for safety as well as infection control, sterilizers lock while in use and unlock when instruments are sterile and dry. Depending on what is being sterilized an autoclave cycle can range from 6 to 30 minutes. While steam is a common method for dental instrument sterilization, some dental sterilizers use dry heat and eliminate moisture from the process. Dental autoclaves and sterilizers may be among the most used equipment in a dental practice; be sure the vendor you choose offers an extensive product warranty.

You know that a functional dental autoclave sterilizer is essential to a safe, productive dental practice, and you want to ensure that your dental autoclave sterilizer operates smoothly. You’ve heard that regular autoclave maintenance is important.

In order to keep your autoclave running in tip-top condition follow these 10 maintenance tips to extend the life of your autoclave in between scheduled professional technician services.

Ensure instruments are dry and clean before placing into autoclave. Don’t leave any excess cleaning solution on equipment as this can sometimes cause build up to occur faster making your machine work harder.

Use only distilled water in your Autoclave. Water purity will really help to extend the life of your machine to ensure calcium doesn’t build-up and avoid corrosion or damage in your autoclave. You might like to purchase a water distiller if you don’t already have one.

Don’t over fill your autoclave beyond 75% holding capacity. A little too much can cause serious damage with the drainage parts of the machine.

Replace filters and door gaskets regularly

When cleaning the machine be aware of any damage or wear and tear. Fixing a crack in the seal or any other problems sooner rather than later could save you time and your machine by preventing a major breakdown in the future.

Cleaning the chamber filters weekly will dramatically help the cycle of your machine for optimal running. This will help the drainage of the Hydraulic system – the water from the chamber.

A Spore Test is a recommended test to be carried annually out to provide indication of bacterial levels. When validation is done on the autoclave this gives extra verification to confirm the autoclave is doing it’s job.

Every day you should clean the door gasket with a cloth and mild liquid soap to protect the machine from build-up.

Drain the waste from the water tank, this rids the daily build-up of bacteria and wastewater containments

Ensure the machine has a scheduled maintenance validation by a professional technician as needed, depending on use of the machine. provides professional servicing and can replace any faulty parts. The service includes inspection of the valves, heating coils, vacuum pumps, steam traps and controls to ensure the machine is working correctly from the inside out.

Without a doubt, following these guidelines will extend the life of your autoclave and instruments. You can also refer to your operator’s manual for more details. For your convenience, we can provide you with a free “caring for your autoclave” poster that you can keep nearby for easy reference!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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