A lot of factors can bring your autoclave down—a freak power outage, a ruptured container, metal fatigue. But a healthy portion of the service calls we see can be largely attributed to poor cleaning maintenance—repairs that are not covered by warranty, and can cost around $2500 in parts and labor.
These breakdowns are totally avoidable.
The Three Habits of Highly Effective Autoclave Owners
Getting into the following habits won’t take up more than 20 minutes per month, and can save you thousands of dollars in repairs (plus avoiding the scheduling headaches and backups that come with sudden outages).
- Regularly drain your autoclave and wipe down the chamber and probes to prevent mineral deposits. This takes less effort than cleaning your kitchen! If you manage this task at least twice a month, you’ll likely extend the life of your autoclave and prevent fault codes related to water level (usually F004).
- Clean up spills immediately. Yes, they’re annoying and inconvenient. No, they won’t go away on their own. A wet/dry shop vac (available from any hardware store) is very handy in these situations. Don’t try to “clean” a spill by filling and draining the chamber. This can lead to blocked pipes and fouled solenoids.
- Always use trays! The added barrier keeps the chamber clean and is much easier to clean up after a spill, rupture, or boil-over.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Not All Cleaning Products Are Good for Your Autoclave Chamber
Whether you are cleaning for maintenance or a mess, avoid products containing ammonia or chlorine. These will damage the interior finish. Most of the time you can clean your autoclave with nothing more than a plastic (not metal!) scouring pad and water. If you have mineral deposits to remove, use a mild descaling agent containing phosphoric acid (CLR is a popular brand). Thoroughly rinse the chamber once you’re done, and you’re all set.
There’s no time like the present to start your regular autoclave maintenance cleaning. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us. We love to help!