How to choose water for autoclaves?
What autoclave fluids? What water should be used in the autoclaving process?
Water used for the autoclave should have appropriate parameters and cannot come from an accidental source. The first most important issue is to assess the parameters of the water you want to use for the autoclave and whether it complies with the manufacturer's recommendations contained in the instruction manual.
How do we evaluate water properties? What is the measure of water quality in an autoclave?
Water used in the autoclave must have an appropriate indicator of current conductivity, which is measured in the so-called microsiemens. As a rule, the more purified the water from all chemical compounds, the worse its electrical conductivity. We use just such water for the autoclave, i.e. with low conductivity, and thus completely purified.
Example of water conductivity and indicator in microsiemens
Tap water cannot be used in the autoclave. This type of water reaches a level as high as about 700 microsiemens. According to the assumptions of most autoclave manufacturers, the water used for the device should have: no more than 10-15 microsiemens. The use of water with a higher level of microsiemens may result in incorrect sterilization, damage to the autoclave and loss of the manufacturer's warranty for the autoclave.
In addition, it is worth noting that no other liquids, detergents, chemicals, additives, etc. must be added to the water used in the autoclave, even if they are intended for steam generators and other similar devices. The water in the autoclave should be changed at least once every 3 months - according to the manufacturer's instructions.
What autoclave fluids? Is it distilled or demineralized water? Which one is more advisable and recommended?
Manufacturers of autoclaves most often indicate the possibility of using both of the following waters: distilled or demineralized. In order to make an informed choice, it is worth taking a closer look at the processes of their creation and water purification processes.
Distilled vs. demineralized water for autoclave - what are the main differences?
Distilled water is produced by heating it to 100 degrees Celsius in a suitable apparatus. Then it condenses again to deposit any minerals. Demineralized water is a process called osmosis, i.e. passing through appropriate filters, semi-permeable resin membranes that separate water into two solutions.
Demineralized water is produced as a result of the best available water purification methods. Thanks to this, it is completely devoid of minerals, but also other harmful substances and bacteria. Based on this, we can conclude that demineralized water is more suitable for autoclaves. In addition, it maintains the appropriate quality of acceptability for use in sterilization for longer. However, it is worth remembering that distilled water, which contains less than the mentioned 10-15 microsiemens, is also suitable for use in an autoclave and can be used.