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Dry heat sterilization

dry heat sterilization, dry heat sterilization pouches
Dry heat sterilization of an article is one of the earliest forms of sterilization practiced Dry heat, as the name indicates, utilizes hot air that is either free from water vapor, or has very little of it, and where this moisture plays a minimal or no role in the process of sterilization


  • 1 Process
    • 11 Mechanical convection process
    • 12 High Velocity Hot Air
  • 2 Instruments used for dry heat sterilization
  • 3 Effect on microorganisms
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
    • 51 Notes
    • 52 General References


The dry heat sterilization process is accomplished by conduction; that is where heat is absorbed by the exterior surface of an item and then passed inward to the next layer Eventually, the entire item reaches the proper temperature needed to achieve sterilization The proper time and temperature for dry heat sterilization is 160 °C 320 °F for 2 hours or 170 °C 340 °F for 1 hour or in the case of High Velocity Hot Air sterilisers 190°C 375°F for 6 to 12 minutes Instruments should be dry before sterilization since water will interfere with the process Dry heat destroys microorganisms by causing denaturation of proteins

The presence of moisture, such as in steam sterilization, significantly speeds up heat penetration

See also: Moist heat sterilization

There are two types of hot air convection Convection refers to the circulation of heated air within the chamber of the oven sterilizers:

  • Gravity convection
  • Mechanical convection

Mechanical convection process

A mechanical convection oven contains a blower that actively forces heated air throughout all areas of the chamber The flow created by the blower ensures uniform temperatures and the equal transfer of heat throughout the load For this reason, the mechanical convection oven is the more efficient of the two processes

High Velocity Hot Air

An even more efficient system than convection uses deturbulized hot air forced through a jet curtain at 3000ft/minute<ref>https://wwwhvhacouk/tech<ref>

Instruments used for dry heat sterilization

Instruments used for dry heat sterilization include hot air oven, incineration or burning, flaming, radiation, microwave, bunsen burner, and glass bead sterilizer

Effect on microorganisms

Dry heat denatures the proteins in any organism, causes oxidative free radical damage, causes drying of cells, and can even burn them to ashes, as in incineration

See also

  • Sterility assurance level



  1. ^ Textbook of Microbiology by Prof C P Baveja, ISBN 81-7855-266-3
  2. ^ Textbook of Microbiology by Ananthanarayan and Panikar, ISBN 81-250-2808-0
  3. ^ https://wwwcdcgov/hicpac/Disinfection_Sterilization/13_10otherSterilizationMethodshtml

General References

  • Ninemeier J Central Service Technical Manual 6th ed International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management p 159 

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