When medical devices have been used and require sterilization, they must go through a series of six steps:
- Pre-disinfection: this must be carried out as soon as possible after the equipment has been used by completely immersing the instruments in a detergent and disinfectant solution. This reduces the population of microorganisms and therefore facilitates the subsequent cleaning of the instruments, while preventing environmental contamination.
- Cleaning (or washing): it includes a mechanical action (to remove dirt by spraying and rubbing), a chemical action (to make dirt soluble with a detergent) and a thermal action (to speed up the cleaning and drying process).
- Packaging: medical devices must be packaged before they pass through the sterilizer.
- Sterilization: it depends on the sterilization process you choose.
- Verification: verification is carried out before, during and after sterilization.
- Storage and availability: the packaging must include information to trace the sterilization process and expiry date. Today, the use of barcodes facilitates stock management and the expiry of the sterilization of reusable medical devices.