One would wonder why a healthcare facility would have a hot air oven. Nevertheless, it is one of the places that such equipment should not lack. Hot air ovens are used in medical facilities such as laboratories to sterilize laboratory equipment which is constantly used when obtaining, analyzing, and even storing body samples. The instrument uses dry heat for sterilization. This laboratory instrument is only used to sterilize equipment of specific nature. For instance, lab technicians use the hot air oven for equipment that can catch fire when exposed to dry heat for a certain period. It is also used for equipment that can melt or change shape under constant dry heat.
Other instruments cannot be sterilized by this method. They include rubber items, surgical dressings, and plastic materials. Since the air is forced into circulation, there is an aspect of control that helps to ensure that the temperature stays as uniform as possible until the time allocated elapses. The instrument functions by first sterilizing the outside of the equipment, after which the hot air slowly enters the inside surfaces.
Hot air ovens use the principle of forced air circulating throughout the range. Sterilized equipment is kept in place for a specific amount of time, depending on the size and nature of the equipment. The mode of action can be controlled because the hot air oven has a temperature regulator. The hot air oven is designed to maintain a temperature of between 50-300 degrees Celsius.
A hot air oven is indispensable as sterilization is critical in laboratory settings. Apart from equipment that catches fire or changes form, hot air ovens can be used to sterilize glassware. Glassware equipment includes a more significant part of laboratory equipment used daily. A method that can fix them any time possible is an added advantage. It can help laboratory technicians promote lab hygiene and avoid using contaminated apparatus while performing various tests. The glassware equipment includes test tubes, Petri dishes, pipettes, and flasks. At the same time, hot air ovens can sterilize materials containing oils, such as metal objects, blades, scissors, and scalpels. These items are not always easy to clean JD; hence, sterilization is indispensable.
Hot air oven operators must understand how time and temperature contribute to the sterilization of the equipment. For instance, one can use 170 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes and obtain effective sterilization. At the same time, another laboratory technician can use 150 degrees Celsius for 150 minutes, and another one can set 160 degrees Celsius for sixty minutes. This all depends on the equipment being sterilized and its size or design. Some equipment may be too coiled to be wholly fixed within a few minutes. The aim of sterilization is also an essential factor. For instance, if the operator suspects bacterial spores or microorganisms on the equipment, they may use high temperatures for hours to eliminate microorganisms. This is because some organisms can survive even under high temperatures.
So why hot air ovens?
They are safer to work with compared to other commonly used laboratory equipment such as an autoclave
Hot air oven does not allow excessive pressure build-up
They require no water to function, which makes them easy to use at all times
Their cost of maintenance is low
Easy to manage
Well suited for the laboratory environment
Once you have purchased your hot air oven, it is essential to understand how to use it. First, ensure all the things put in the hot air oven are suitable for the dry heat method of sterilization. Before placing any item in the hot air oven, you should wrap it with paper or enclose using a container made of aluminum. Sometimes lab technicians can cover it using metal canisters or cardboard if they do not have aluminum. Some tips for ensuring good maintenance and handling of the apparatus know what to use or not. For instance, one should avoid wrappings such as cotton wool which easily plugs open the ends of test tubes if they are subjected to high heat under such circumstances.
Dry sterilization method is reliable for enhancing the disinfection of laboratory equipment. Dry sterilization method for decades goes down in history as efficient. It has proved as practical and effective as other equipment, such as an autoclave, which occupies a larger space. Hot air ovens are smaller according to the manufacturer's design. The instrument works by shifting air through the range and allowing it to become thin due to the increase in temperature. As it gets light, it rises to the top of the oven chambers, which helps with air circulation through sterilized equipment. Individuals looking to use this instrument should understand how best to operate it and the steps they should take before starting the sterilization process. This may include wrapping the items as per the requirement.