Methods for sterilizing equipment include high temperature techniques such as steam and low temperature techniques such as peracetic acid immersion or the use of hydrogen peroxide gas plasma. High temperature techniques typically are used on stainless steel and other metal equipment pieces, while low temperature techniques are used on plastics.
Steam sterilization occurs under high pressure to increase the temperature and ensure all bacteria are killed. Sterilization occurs after equipment is exposed to a minimum of 15 minutes of steam at 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another common low temperature technique is the use of ethylene oxide, which is pumped into a sterilization chamber with equipment inside. This sterilization process takes up to 18 hours.
Other sterilization techniques include the use of ozone gas, formaldehyde gas, microwaves or ionizing radiation.