Understanding Autoclave Spore Test Strips: A Guide to Ensuring the Effectiveness of Your Sterilization Equipment

Autoclave spore test strips are small, self-contained units used to test the effectiveness of an autoclave in sterilizing equipment and materials. These test strips contain a specific type of bacteria, usually Geobacillus stearothermophilus and Bacillus atrophaeus/subtillus, that is known to be highly resistant to heat and typically used as a biological indicator of sterilization.

An example of a biological indicator test strip, contained in a glassine wrapper.

The process of using autoclave spore test strips is relatively simple. First, the test strip is placed inside the autoclave along with the equipment or materials to be sterilized. The autoclave is then run through a complete sterilization cycle, including exposure to steam, and drying phase.

It’s also important to ensure that the test strips are stored and handled properly to prevent contamination. They should be kept in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight, and should be used before the expiry date.

Need a third party lab to perform your regular spore testing? SporeAlert is a mail-in sterilizer monitoring service that makes it convenient for you to do your routine testing. All you have to do is run the strip through your sterilizer and drop it in the mail. We take care of the rest! For more information click here.

In conclusion, autoclave spore test strips are an essential tool for ensuring the effectiveness of an autoclave in sterilizing equipment and materials. Regularly using these test strips, proper storage and handling, and following the manufacturer’s instructions can help ensure that the autoclave is working effectively and that equipment and materials are properly sterilized.

Gemma Woodhouse is the Co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of Woodhouse Laboratories – a microbiology service laboratory providing remote e-commerce solutions for infection control compliance. When she isn’t in the lab, she enjoys gardening, hiking, and working on her hobby farm.