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What is Autoclave Tape and How is Autoclave Tape Used?

Published: 2020-07-29
What is Autoclave Tape and How is Autoclave Tape Used?
What is Autoclave Tape and How is Autoclave Tape Used?

What is Autoclave Tape?

Autoclave tape is an adhesive tape used to determine if an item has gone through the sterilization process and illustrate to the processor that a specific temperature has been reached. The tape features a chemical indicator (diagonal lines) that will change color after it is exposed to temperatures commonly used in sterilization processes. These black diagonal lines will appear on the tape after 10 minutes at 121°C or 2 minutes at 134°C in a steam sterilizer. Shop our autoclave tape here!

How is Autoclave Tape Used?

Autoclave tape is used as a process indicator in steam sterilizers. It is most commonly used and is very well suited in clinical and research environments. Small strips of the tape are applied to items before they are placed into the autoclave (a strong heated container used for chemical reactions and other processes using high pressures and temperatures). Though the tape may look similar to masking tape, the adhesive is stronger which allows it to adhere under the hot and moist conditions within the autoclave.

An important characteristic of autoclave tape is it’s very aggressive, pressure-sensitive adhesive that is designed for use with flexible sterile barrier systems such as wraps and plain closure bags and also adhere strongly to other surfaces such as linen. The adhesive is designed to adhere to a many different types of wraps substrates and surfaces to ensure the pack stays secure during the entire sterilization process.

It is important to note that although autoclave tape may have changed color during the sterilization process, this does not necessarily mean than 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°C for 15–20 minutes, to ensure proper steam exposure and to ensure sterility of the items.

Autoclave tape and the indicators are not designed nor intended to prove that organisms have actually been killed during the sterilization process. They indicate that a temperature of 121°C has been reached within the autoclave. EHS (Environmental, Health, and Safety) recommends that you do not use autoclave tape as the only indicator of decontamination or sterilization.

Nev’s Ink - Autoclave Tape

Nev’s Ink provides Autoclave Tape in multiple sizes and at an affordable price. 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 autoclave tapes Nev’s Ink has to offer. If you have a question or are not finding what you are looking for, give us a call 800-638-7465.


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