Pressure cookers come highly valued in the modern kitchen for their ability to drastically reducing the cooking time by as much as 70%. However, what you may not know is that aside from cooking, pressure cookers are also used commonly for sterilization processes. This means that where an autoclave is missing, a pressure cooker can be a great alternative to use.
What exactly is an autoclave and how does it work?
An autoclave refers to a machine that is specifically used for the purposes of destroying biohazardous waste from the surface of different instruments and tools. Autoclaves are used for sterilizing and disinfecting tools through physical means.
They rely on pressure, temperature, and steam to eliminate hazardous components from the surface of instruments. With the help of steam alongside high pressure, autoclaves maintain a temperature that is considered too high for any virus, fungi, parasite or bacteria to grow or survive in. Autoclaves are also often referred to as steam sterilization machines.
Sterilization is needed for medical procedures such as surgeries but it is also required to prevent the spread of fungal infections in various industries such as in beauty. Beauty products must be sterilized on a regular basis to prevent the spread of diseases from client to client.
Can a pressure cooker be used as an autoclave?
Autoclaves and pressure cookers work in a similar manner in that they rely on high pressure and high-temperature environment for their efficiency. Autoclaves are more effective for sterilizing processes because they create higher temperatures than pressure cookers. But this does not mean that a pressure cooker cannot be used for sterilization. In the right circumstances, pressure cookers can be used as an alternative for autoclaves, especially where minor processes are involved such as beauty and food production processes like brewing beer and not medical ones.
As a rule of thumb, you should never attempt to use a pressure cooker for sterilizing medical equipment. The high temperatures created within a pressure cooker pot may be sufficient to kill germs contained on beauty equipment, but the high temperature may not be sufficient enough for killing disease-causing bacteria. As such, where medical equipment and procedures such as surgery are involved, you should always pick an autoclave over a pressure cooker.
How to use a pressure cooker as an autoclave
Ready the pressure cooker manual first
Before you attempt to use your pressure cooker as an autoclave, ensure that you read the user manual first to ensure your safety and those around you.
Avoid medical/surgical tools
Pressure cookers are used for cooking and although they create the perfect environment for killing certain bacteria, they do not kill all types of bacteria. Pressure cookers are not designed to reach the same temperatures as autoclaves that are needed for complete sterilization to occur. As such, wherever medical or surgical tools are to be sterilized, an autoclave, which is more effective should be utilized instead.
Find the right accessories
In order for you to use your pressure cooker for sterilization, you must invest in the right accessories to allow you to do so. Some of the extra tools that are needed for sterilizing using a pressure cooker include cooling racks, trivets, steamer baskets, support trivets, and so on.