Sterilization: Packaging & Storage


Packaging materials (e.g., wrapped or container systems) allow penetration of the sterilizing agent and maintain sterility of the processed item after sterilization.


Packaging materials include wrapped perforated instrument cassettes, peel pouches of plastic or paper, and sterilization wraps (which can be either woven or unwoven). Packaging materials should be designed for the type of sterilization process being used and should be appropriate for the items being sterilized.


Before placing packaged instruments in the sterilizer, at a minimum, include the following information on the label:

  • Sterilizer used
  • Cycle or load number
  • Date of sterilization
  • Expiration date, if applicable


Sterile instruments and supplies should be stored in covered or closed cabinets. Dental instruments and supplies should not be stored under sinks or in other places where they might become wet. Wrapped packages of sterilized instruments should be inspected before opening and use to ensure that the packaging has not been compromised (i.e., wet, torn, or punctured) during storage.



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