Autoclave Experiment #1

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Guest writer: Jessica Dorfam

The question was asked whether or not PUL could be autoclaved. My work at a hospital has me using a massive auto, manufactured by Getinge, model number 733 HC vacuum/gravity steam sterilizer.

I went to Joann Fabric and picked up a long strip of PUL fabric from the baby section with a pattern on one side and the lamination on the other side, and cut it into 5″x5″ squares. I took it to work and ran the following experiment:


Picture #1 is of a control swatch that would not be autoclaved, a swatch that is PUL side down, and a swatch that is PUL side up, before I ran it. The swatches are on a metal tray with a paper tray liner to protect the tray, just in case anything melted.


Picture #2 is the two test swatches after they’d been run through the typical autoclave process, and neither swatch showed any signs of delamination.


Picture #3 is of the receipt that shows the parameters of the process, read bottom to top. Anything under 14.20-ish is negative pressure, anything above is positive pressure.


Picture #4 is of a control and a test sample that went through a hospital washer at 141°F. A little worse for wear, but also did not show signs of delamination.


A little about Jessica:


I’m a certified sterile processing technician from Waterloo, Iowa. I’m 25 years old, married for just over a year, and my husband and I are expecting our first baby in April. I’ll get to stay home, so cloth makes more sense to us, financially, and doing this experiment have me a better working knowledge of the material that’ll be on my baby.