Autoclave tape is an adhesive tape used to determine if an item has gone through the sterilization process and illustrate to the processor that it has reached a specific temperature. The tape has a chemical indicator that will change color after exposure to temperatures commonly used in sterilization processes. In a steam sterilizer, this color will appear after 10 minutes at 121 degrees Celsius or two minutes at 134 degrees Celsius.
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Autoclave tape works as a process indicator for steam sterilizers. It is most commonly used and well-suited in clinical and research environments. A person using autoclave tape will apply small strips to the item before placing it in the autoclave — a machine that applies high-temperature steam to sterilize objects. Though the tape may resemble masking tape, its stronger adhesive allows it to adhere under the hot and moist conditions within the autoclave.
Autoclave tape's most notable characteristic is that it is an aggressive, pressure-sensitive adhesive designed for use with flexible sterile barrier systems, such as wraps and plain closure bags. It also adheres firmly to other materials like linen. By design, the adhesive attaches to many different wraps, substrates and surfaces to ensure the pack stays secure during the entire sterilization process.
Though autoclave tape may have changed color during the sterilization process, this does not necessarily mean that an item is fully sterile. The tape will change upon exposure to the desired temperature it is indicated for. However, for proper steam sterilization to occur, the entire item needs to reach and maintain a temperature of 121 degrees Celsius for 15 to 20 minutes to ensure the items' sterility.
Note that autoclave tape and the indicators do not prove that the sterilization process has killed organisms. Instead, they demonstrate that the autoclave has reached a temperature of 121 degrees Celsius. Environmental, Health and Safety recommends that you do not use autoclave tape as the only indicator of decontamination or sterilization.
Numerous industries use autoclave tape for various applications, including the following.
Nev's Ink provides multiple sizes of autoclave tape that are appropriate for the above applications.
There are many kinds of autoclaves. Most commonly, labs use small eight-liter autoclave machines. These machines have cylinder chambers that can better withstand such extreme levels of pressure. But no matter the size of the autoclave, the sterilization process remains the same, which occurs as follows:
At the end of the cycle, the items come out fully sterilized and ready for use.
Nev's Ink — Autoclave Tape
Nev's Ink provides affordable autoclave tape in multiple sizes. All of our autoclave tapes are environmentally friendly, lead- and latex-free and well suited for healthcare and research environments. Click here to view all the autoclave tapes we offer. If you have a question or can't find what you are looking for, give us a call at 800-638-7465.