One of the first rules of survival is “…to stay dry, is to stay alive.”
Just as there was grave concern of infection for the soccer team trapped in the damp wet cave in Thailand, the same can be applied to a wet instrument set after sterilization. Moisture trapped within an instrument set can be a breeding ground for microorganisms that can re-contaminate your sterilized load.
Wet packs are caused by a variety of factors including poor steam quality, faulty processing technique and equipment malfunctions, and even the packaging used to secure the load.
One of the most common (and easily fixed) causes of wet packs is the use of plastic containers and wrap. Plastic is a very poor conductor of heat and as a result, very hard to completely dry. You need to look no further than your dishwasher at home to see this for yourself. Loads with plastic containers, plates and cups are much wetter at the end of a cycle than loads with no plastic items at all.
As a group, rigid, reusable, metal containers are much better at conducting heat than plastic trays and "blue wrap" (also a plastic material). Plastics conduct little or no heat at all and most manufacturers require 30 minutes or more of dry time to ensure a totally dry load for patient procedures.
Case Medical’s SteriTite® rigid containers are different.
SteriTite solid bottom containers are completely dry in eight minutes; and our perforated bottom containers are completely dry in five. No empty boasts, we have the 510(K) clearance. Simply crack the door and use our paper filters.
SteriTite containers’ faster drying results are attributable to our superior materials and engineering: aircraft grade, anodized aluminum for better heat conductivity; a patented perforation pattern for better ventilation and a precision manufacturing process that ensures a proper fit between the lid and container even after years of use.
Some manufacturers may claim that wet packs are not inherently dangerous and that a little residual moisture is harmless. But with the passage of time, whether you are talking about sterilization or survival circumstances, wet conditions can turn dangerous and even deadly.