Autoclave Training, Odor Control, and Recordkeeping

Autoclave Training

It is imperative that supervisors provide training to qualify their staff for the use of autoclaves to decontaminate materials.  Qualified autoclave users should understand the time, temperature, and pressure relationships required for proper material decontamination.  Additional training on handling materials to be decontaminated should also be provided.  Supervisors should maintain a permanent record of the training provided to their staff.

Additional training support on the effective use of autoclaves is available from the EHS office.  For assistance, call the Biosafety Officer at (410) 706-7055.

Autoclave Odor Control

Some waste material has an extremely noxious odor, i.e., anaerobic bacteria, feces or decaying organic materials.  When decontaminating these materials, it may become necessary to add an odor control additive to the load.  A scoop-full of unused animal bedding (cedar shavings) works quite well.  These additives may produce chemical exposure symptoms for some people; if this is an issue, an alternative means of odor control should be used.

Autoclave Recordkeeping

A durable notebook should be used as a permanent record of autoclave use.  The autoclave logbook should be located in an easily accessed location near the autoclave.  The autoclave logbook should have at least the following information entered:

Autoclave Log Book Information

Autoclave Manufacturer 

Autoclave Serial Number


Room Location

Date Log Book Started

Maintenance Work Done

The main section of the autoclave record should have a log including:

Autoclave User, Date Used, Materials Decontaminated, Process Type, Run Duration (Cycle Time), Chemical/Biological Indicator Used, Chemical/Biological Indicator Results, Envelope for "Wheel Graphs" or "Data Strips".