Some ways to sterilize equipment include the use of steam and ethylene oxide. Other techniques involve the application of dry heat and irradiation, states the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Steam sterilization involves extremely high pressures and temperatures. When a device is directly subjected to saturated steam at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 15 minutes, all traces of microscopic life present on the instrument are thoroughly destroyed, notes the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Ethylene oxide is a disinfectant that eliminates microbes by disrupting the metabolic and reproductive process of these organisms. The efficacy of this method relies on humidity, temperature, exposure duration and gaseous concentration of the applied ethylene oxide. Other types of sterilization practices include the use of formaldehyde gas, microwaves, hydrogen peroxide plasma, ozone gas and chemical solutions.