Steam or Dry Heat Sterilization? A Question of Efficiency

Marcel Dion, STERIS

Many new methods of sterilization have emerged in the market over the last 20 years.

Autoclaving with steam continues to be the method of choice for most applications, however, steam autoclaving is not a universal process. Many products that require sterilization simply cannot withstand the temperatures or the extremely high moisture conditions associated with steam. Therefore, processes such as dry heat, vaporized hydrogen peroxide, and even ethylene oxide gas have found their place in the market.

The objective of this presentation is to explore the advantages and disadvantages of two of the most common processes that are used, steam autoclaving and dry heat. Where should one use either in preference over the other? Which process will be the most efficient for my application? To help answer these questions, this presentation first describes how each process works and which application it is best suited for. Second, key selection elements such as productivity and total cost of ownership are compared.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about basic principles of sterilization for components used in the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Understand the key differences between moist heat and dry heat sterilization processes.
  • Develop the capacity to articulate the advantages/disadvantages of both approaches and identify the best process for a given application
  • Identify the sterilization method that will be the most efficient one for a given application.


Marcel Dion is Director of Marketing for Washing and Steam Sterilization Systems in the Life Sciences Division of STERIS Corporation. For the past 16 years, he has been responsible for developing and bringing on the market innovative and efficient cleaning systems for critical parts/components that are involved in the drug manufacturing process. He is also now responsible for STERIS steam sterilization product lines that are used in both research and pharmaceutical applications. Marcel is member


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