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Materials that are to be decontaminated should be carried to the autoclave in closed, leak-proof containers. Containers used to hold material while being autoclaved are described below.
1. Secondary Containers
Polypropylene is a durable inexpensive plastic resin which is commonly used to contain material during autoclaving. Polypropylene plastic pans with 6-12 inch sides are favored over polyethylene and polystyrene because polypropylene can withstand autoclaving without melting.
Note: When using polypropylene containers, add extra processing time to the autoclave decontamination cycle because polypropylene does not conduct heat well.
Stainless Steel Containers
Stainless steel containers are durable and come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Stainless steel is a good conductor of heat. Where waste containment is mandatory, stainless steel containers may be the container of choice because it is durable. Restaurant supply companies are a good source for these pans.
2. Primary Containers
Plastic Autoclave Bags
Polypropylene bags are used to contain materials during decontamination cycles within autoclaves. Also known as “biohazard bags”, “autoclavable bags”, or [VWR bags, bio check] come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.
Autoclave bags are usually placed in polypropylene or stainless steel pans during decontamination cycles to catch liquids that may drain out of the bag.
Autoclave bags must be left open or loosely closed during decontamination procedures to allow steam to penetrate into the bag.