Steam sterilisation in hospitals

Frequently Asked Questions - Reducing wet packs

Angelo Giambrone, Business Development Manager, 17/08/2020

Steam provides the most reliable and efficient method of achieving effective sterilisation. It is a simple, fast and safe way to disinfect reusable equipment, but in order to be as effective as possible and reduce the potential risk of wet packs or extended sterilisation cycle times, a continuous supply of high-quality clean and dry steam is required. Angelo Giambrone, Business Development Manager answers your most asked questions related to reducing wet packs in healthcare facilities.


How do you identify contaminated packs?
Sterilised packs with interior or exterior moisture post cooling are known as wet packs or wet loads (multiple wet packs in one cycle).

Why does contamination matter?
Unsterile instruments present a contamination risk and could have an adverse effect on patients. Wet packs that are present after the sterilisation cycle can provide a pathway for bacteria onto the instruments.  Undesirable contaminants in steam can also be introduced, if the correct measures are not taken to maximise steam quality.

What can cause wet packs?
Trays of instruments must be packed and loaded into sterilisers in accordance with guidelines. Failure to do so can affect the drying process. The steam plays an important part in eliminating wet packs. The dryness of the steam must be at least 95% dry. If below this, water droplets can enter the steriliser, effecting performance.

What is the impact of wet packs?
Equipment needs to be re-sterilised, which costs time and money, reducing the efficiency of the decontamination department.  Engineers may be involved in trying to identify the source and rectify the problem.  Such issues could lead to delays or cancellation of surgical procedures.

How could I reduce wet packs?
Upgrading your steam supply can play a part in making your steam sterilisation process more reliable. Clean steam generators (CSGs) are used to produce consistently high quality clean steam to reduce the risk of wet packs and loads.

I want to find out more, what do I do?
If you are looking to identify savings, understand your steam quality and at the same time improve the efficiency of your steam system then an audit and steam quality test may be just what you need. For more information or support, please contact us at


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