Introduction to Sterilization Methods
Sterilization and disinfection are now gradually turning into a trend we all must observe due to the effect of COVID-19.
There is a need to observe safety measures and constantly disinfect our hands to be safe from this deadly disease. In a simple layman’s language, sterilization means to destroy or kill.
Sterilization is the process by which all microorganisms get destroyed, including spores. In other words, sterilization can be referred to as the process where all microorganisms found on an object or surface are eliminated, including bacteria spores.
According to Safetyhub.net, Sterilization is a process that is difficult to achieve; nevertheless, it can be done. Sterilization is necessary for the destruction of all forms of microorganisms, whether pathogenic or non-pathogenic. Sterilization can be achieved through several methods like the application of irradiation, filtration, and dry heat.
The popular assumption is that an object is either sterile or not sterile, but the truth is that we can only be sure of an object’s sterility up to a point.
This factor is expressed as the sterility assurance level (SAL), which is also known as the “6 Log” reduction of the viable organism.
Terms Used in Sterilization
We cannot discuss sterilization without mentioning some terms closely related to sterilization, and some are even used interchangeably with sterilization. These terms are related to the sterilization process.
Disinfection is a term that is commonly used interchangeably with sterilization, although they differ in meaning. Decontamination is the process that reduces the number of microorganisms present on a surface or an object.
It can also be defined as the process of killing or removing germs except for bacteria spores from an inanimate object.
Disinfection deals with eliminating germs, but it is not absolute as bacteria spores can still survive after a disinfection process.
Disinfection can further be defined as the killing, inhibition, and elimination of pathogenic microorganisms. The main factor of disinfection is to eliminate disease-causing microorganisms from a surface or objects.
Disinfection is less lethal than sterilization since it does not eliminate bacteria spores, and this is the main factor that distinguishes the two terms as they are closely related.
Cleaning removes physical contaminants (it may refer to an organic or inorganic material) from an object or surface. Physical contaminants may be soil, mucus, and dirt and can be accomplished manually or mechanically.
Cleaning does not necessarily mean that pathogenic microorganisms have been eliminated; in fact, cleaning says nothing about contaminants that are minute and invisible to the naked eye.
A surface can be clean and yet is still contaminated by pathogenic microorganisms like coronavirus. The purpose of cleaning is to boost a disinfectant; this is because dirt and organic material reduce the disinfectant’s effectiveness. Cleaning is more like a pre-treatment given to remove the physical barrier before the main treatment.
Decontamination is another term used concerning sterilization. It simply means removing a pathogenic organism from an object to make the object safe for use.
Sanitization is also closely related to sterilization. It involves using a chemical product to reduce microorganism’s level on an object to a level that is considered safe by the public standard.
Sanitizing is more like cleaning in that they both reduce the level of microorganisms present in a place or an object. Just like cleaning, sanitization is used as a pre-treatment for health-related industries.
Methods of Sterilizing the Home
During this pandemic period, it is vital to disinfect all surfaces and protect germs and other pathogens. However, if you are the type that doesn’t do well with chemicals, there are other ways of disinfecting your home that is natural and cheaper than those chemicals.
- Soap and water
- Tree tea oil
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Lemon juice
Soap and Water
Soap and water are the best choices if you want to keep the house clean. The soap forms lather, which attracts dirt and suspends it.
The dirt is then rinsed away from the surface, which is the best option for cleaning floors and other surfaces around the home.
Vinegar is a natural disinfectant that contains some antimicrobial properties. The antimicrobial properties are due to the acetic acid it contains, making it a good option for killing mold.
Despite its stinky nature, it has many applications around the house apart from cooking and preserving substances.
Vinegar can be used for countless things, from cleaning glass and stainless steel to mold removal from toilets and sinks. You can also add vinegar to your soap and water to disinfect floors and surfaces.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is an essential oil that is obtained from the leaves of the Australian Melaleuca tree. Due to its anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, it is often used in manufacturing skin care products.
When the tea tree oil is mixed with water, it can serve as a good disinfectant. Tea tree oil effectively eliminates germs; with just a few drops, you can create the perfect sterilant for your home.
Hydrogen peroxide is one of the ways of disinfecting your house. Apart from disinfection, it can also serve as bleach.
Bleaching agents are known to be good disinfectants and sterilant. When combined with vinegar, it can be quite deadly to germs, but it does not have any noticeable odor, unlike vinegar.
Lemon juice has so many functions other than being used to marinate food. It can be used to sanitize the non-porous surface or reduce the germs on a surface. Unlike vinegar, it does not have a distinct stinking smell.
Tips on How to Sterilise the Home
- The kitchen contains so many surfaces where germs can hide and multiply, always clean the kitchen always
- Places like the fridge and freezer doors are often overlooked during cleaning, and they provide a good breeding place for microorganism
- Store your plates and silverware in their appropriate place after washing and drying them
- Wipe all electronic device with the alcohol
- Wash your towel frequently and dry them
- All laundry should be washed with warm water, as this aids the killing of germs.