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What is Sterile Processing?

Sterilizing is the practice of cleaning and sterilizing something. It can also mean packaging something in a sterile environment in which contamination risks are eliminated. Sterile processing is generally used mostly by the medical industry. However, other business applications to use this type of processing as well.

What Is A Processing Technician

A technician is a certified person who is responsible for cleaning medial tools and the environment used for surgical procedures. They also gather the equipment for use, proform general maintenance and take inventory of it as well.

The Decontamination Process

First things first the solid instruments are taken from the operating room to be disassembled if the equipment calls for this. Then all of the solid tools are cleaned for solids and inspected for damage. Anything cannot be sterilized before each piece of equipment is cleaned of anything solid and inspected. When something is examined and has damage it cannot be sterilized and used again.

Different Sterilizing Processes

OEM recommends that all equipment is manually cleaned. For manual cleaning, you must have either a two-bay sink or three-bay sink to properly execute the process. In the first sink, the equipment is placed in an enzymatic solution to begin to break down anything solid on the equipment. It is then transferred to a second sink where it is placed in a detergent solution and manually brushed. Lastly, it is placed into a third sink where it is rinsed thoroughly with treated water.

The next way that equipment is sterilized is by use of an automatic washer or sanitizer. This machine usually resembles a dishwasher and is good at its job. However, this is sometimes used after manual cleaning is done. Hospital requirements require both to be done before the equipment can be used again. This is to ensure that is it up to the most strict of standards.

Ultrasonic Cleaning

Ultrasonic cleaning uses an acoustic frequency that is designed to help reach very hard to reach places. This type of cleaning is generally used to clean those instruments that are too delicate to clean manually or be put into a cleaning machine. This process forms very small air bubbles that move rapidly through the water and over the equipment to get hard to reach places. The ultrasonic cleaners vary in size from larger industrial size ones to smaller table top sizes.

Sterilization Assurance

Making sure that all equipment and instruments are sterilized is vital to the safety of the patients and the liability of the medical establishment. Once the equipment is assured to be sterilized and ready to be reused it can then be inventoried and set out for use. The way the sterilized tools are stored is also of great importance and must be carefully done when placing the equipment in the designated storage areas.


In conclusion, if you are interested in becoming a sterile technician you must have either a high school education or equivalent to begin your training to become one. It is a job that is to take very seriously as well as very rewarding. In the surgical profession, this is the most important aspect of any invasive procedure by far. The same is true noninvasive procedures as well. We hope you enjoyed this article and it helps you to have a better grasp of what sterile processing is and what means to the medical industry as well.