Ethylene Oxide Sterilization

How Does Ethylene Oxide Sterilization Work?

Ethylene oxide sterilization is a chemical process consisting of four primary variables: gas concentration, humidity, temperature and time. Ethylene oxide is an alkylating agent that disrupts the DNA of microorganisms, which prevents them from reproducing. EO sterilization assures that a safe and sterile product will be delivered to the market each and every time.

What is Ethylene Oxide Used For?

The ethylene oxide sterilization process is ideal for:

  • Custom procedure kits
  • Cellulose and plastic products that may exhibit discoloration with irradiation
  • Devices manufactured from materials whose physical properties degrade with heat or irradiation
  • Various materials not compatible with other methods of sterilization

The Ethylene Oxide Sterilization Process

The ethylene oxide sterilization process may take place within a traditional ethylene oxide (EO or EtO) sterilization cycle or through our exclusive EOExpress® expedited processing cycle. Both options consist of three processing phases.

  • Pre-conditioning: Used to preheat and humidify product loads to predefined conditions. This will assure a repeatable EO sterilization process regardless of pre-processing load storage conditions
  • Sterilization: Performed using process phases specifically designed to provide the required level of ethylene oxide exposure to assure sterility for a device or family of devices
  • Aeration: Used to accelerate out gassing of exposed product loads and to contain and eliminate residual ethylene oxide emissions

View our TechTeam Resources to learn more about the ethylene oxide sterilization process.

Contact STERIS for more information about our ethylene oxide sterilization services.