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How To Spore Test Your Autoclave

There are two ways to spore test your autoclave.

  1. Mail it out weekly or monthly to a spore test lab and get results (usually takes 1-2 weeks)
  2. Do it yourself using a small spore test ampoule (aka biological indicator). This is 100% accurate.

Here are advantages / disadvantages of both methods:

Mail-In spore testing

In-Office spore testing


90% (can be spoiled in mail or at the lab)



1-2 weeks

20 minutes

Paper result

Yes, provided by the lab

Yes, printed upon completion

FDA approved




$200 – 300 per year (weekly testing)

$468 per year


If you get a failed test, everything sterilized in the last 2 weeks is questionable

If you get a failed test, you would know this within 20 minutes

Risk High Low

Ease of use

Easy to do

Easy to do after the first test

If you get a fail

Takes another 2 weeks to find out if 2nd test is OK

Find out in 20 minutes if 2nd test is OK

Why is the risk so low with in-office spore testing?

With near instant results, your staff will know if the instruments were properly sterilized and are safe to use on patients.
You don't need to wait, which increases turnaround time for use of the instruments while minimizing human error and prevents mistakes by using tools that may not be 100% sterilized.

Does your team wait until they receive spore test results in the mail BEFORE using the tools that were sterilized?

If not, then your practice may be compromised for lack of compliance, and possibly using non-sterile instruments on patients.

If your staff does wait to receive results from the lab in the mail for spore tests, there is still the increased chance of human error and risk of contamination. Are sterilization loads properly recorded, packaged and stored in a secure place? Can you track what instruments belong to which lab result? Some companies use advanced Sterilization I.D. Labeling Systems like Labelex to record Load # with date/time stamps to track these, but there is also of holes in pouches or improper recording.

What products do we recommend for in-house spore testing?



Starter-Kit Tuttnauer MiniBio Auto-Reader and 1 Box of Steam Ultra-Rapid Biological Indicators with 20 Minute Results 50 per box

$504 per kit

Ultra-Rapid Biological Indicators for Steam Sterilizers, 20 Minute Results, 50/box

$234/box of 50

Tuttnauer Process Challenge Device w/20 Minute Results, 25/box

$448.20/box of 25

Class 5 Vapor Line Steam Integrators , 250/bag

$49/bag of 250

Twindicator 8 inch Chemical Indicator Strip , 250/box

$29/box of 250