If you prefer to clean your piercing instruments using a dry heat sterilization process rather than a steam autoclave, you can use nylon tubing to encase your tools before placing them in the sterilizer. The instructions below will guide you on how best to work with nylon sterilization tubing and how to perform impulse heat sealing.
General Instructions for Sterilizing With Nylon Tubing
- Cut the tubing approximately 2" longer than the instrument(s) to be wrapped. Add an additional 2" if autoclave indicator tape is being used for sealing.
- Seal one end of the tubing using a heat sealer or autoclave tape.
- Place the instrument to be sterilized inside the nylon tubing, and then remove any excess air by pressing the tubing outward toward the open end. Seal the opposite end with either a heat sealer or autoclave tape.
- Line the metal tray in the sterilizer with paper or cloth, and then place the sealed tubing flat inside the sterilizer, on top of the paper or cloth. Avoid contact with any other tubing inside the machine by inserting paper or cloth in between tubing-encased tools. Before closing the machine, double check that no nylon tubing pouch is touching any other nylon-encased tools or metal components of the machine.
- Follow the sterilization instructions provided by the manufacturer of the sterilizer.
- Allow the sterilized nylon bags to cool in the sterilizer for 5-10 minutes after the cleaning cycle ends.
Impulse Heat Sealing
To properly seal the ends of nylon tubing and create a sterilization bag, place one end of the tubing between the sealing bars of your heat sealer and press down for approximately 2 seconds. Be sure to press firmly, but don't slam the handle down. Doing so could cause unnecessary breakage of the sealing element.
Set the timer control on the impulse heat sealer according to manufacturer's specifications. (an extremely low setting will not seal the tubing properly. An extremely high setting will produce a weak seal due to excessive melting of the tubing.) Confirm that the tubing has been properly sealed after removing it from the heat sealer.
Once one end is properly sealed, you can insert your piercing tool, jewelry or other item to be sterilized, squeeze out any trapped air, and seal the opposite end.
If you find that a nylon sterilization tubing bag has burst during the sterilization process, there are several potential causes to consider before trying again. Identify which issue caused the bag to burst so you don't experience the same problem twice. Here are several possible reasons that a nylon tubing bag may burst during sterilization:
- Air was not completely removed before sealing the tubing
- Incorrect sealing was used
- An improper cycle was used for sterilization
- The instrument was too large for the tubing
If you find that the nylon tubing has melted together around your tool or jewelry, identify the cause so you can avoid it when you try again. Here are several reasons why nylon tubing may stick together during sterilization:
- The tubing was touching the metal tray and/or other tubing during the sterilization process
- Improper temperature readings of the sterilizer
- The tubing was folded over in the sterilizer
If you find that your nylon tubing has become brittle or cracked, consider these possible causes:
- The nylon tubing was used more than once (which should never be done)
- The tubing was not separated during the sterilizing process.
Moisture in your nylon tubing package could occur if...
- the tubing was removed from the sterilizer before the cycle completed;
- the door of the sterilizer was opened before the cycle completed;
- any of your instrument(s) were too large for the tubing encasing them;
- the air was not completely removed before sealing the tubing; or,
- an improper cycle was used for sterilization.
Sterilizers should be checked periodically to confirm that the correct time, temperature, and pressure are still being maintained during the sterilization process. See the manufacturer's recommendations for how to test your sterilizer, or, if you have one of our All American Electric Sterilizers, view a PDF of the manufacturer's instructions here.