Infection prevention and control guidelines

10. Reprocessing reusable medical devices

Steriliser maintenance

      1. Steriliser maintenance

Last revised: 18 Aug 2023

Steriliser maintenance

Maintenance is essential to ensure sterility of the equipment processed and longevity of the steriliser.

Maintenance must be performed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Refer to the steriliser operating instructions for details.

Changing the water

Demineralised (deionised or distilled) water must be used to minimise scale build-up and corrosion. Most benchtop models require connection to a water source.

Sterilisers that have a reservoir and recycle water must be topped up as required and the water drained and changed weekly.

Cleaning the steriliser

Regular cleaning of the external surface, chamber, trays and racks is required in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions for use:

  • The external surface should be wiped daily and the internal surfaces should be cleaned at least weekly with a cleaning agent recommended by the manufacturer. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for details.
  • Wiping the chamber walls weekly will reduce scale build up. Scale build-up in areas with high concentrations of calcium can be removed using commercially prepared products containing phosphoric acid (check and carefully follow the manufacturer’s recommendations). Using inappropriate cleaners may damage water tanks, filters or hoses.
  • Tape, label debris and glue may have to be removed using an approved cleaning agent and/or non-abrasive scourer.
  • The drain and other outlets must be checked to ensure they are clear of debris.

Servicing the steriliser

Scheduled maintenance, such as checking the seal, changing the filter, and oiling the hinge should be performed as recommended by the manufacturer (either by a staff member or by a service provider, as appropriate).

Full servicing, including calibration, must be performed at least annually. It should be done more frequently if recommended by the manufacturer, and repeated when repairs are needed.

The service technician checks the temperature, pressures and time achieved during a full sterilisation cycle as well as the gauges, recording devices, seals and filters.

Validation is usually scheduled at the time of annual servicing and calibration (see Validating the steriliser process).

Annual calibration and servicing to the required standard must be performed by a suitably qualified service technician, and carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Practices could contact the manufacturer or distributor to find a qualified technician authorised to service the steriliser model.


Documentation of all maintenance (apart from routine cleaning) and servicing is part of the monitoring process and is required as evidence of the correct operation of the steriliser.

Documentation of maintenance includes:

  • maintenance performed by staff as per the manufacturer’s instructions (for example, changing water, daily cleaning and checking door seal)
  • annual (or more frequently if required by heavy usage) servicing and calibration by a qualified technician.

Retain service reports.

The practice needs to have a written policy and procedure to cover all maintenance issues regarding the steriliser.