Storage of Sterilized Items and Clean Dental Supplies

The storage area should contain enclosed storage for sterile items and disposable (single use) items. Storage practices for wrapped sterilized instruments can be either date- or event related.
• Date-related storage – Some facilities indicate the date of sterilization and adopt shelf life practices
• Event-related storage – Recognizes that the product should remain sterile indefinitely unless an event causes it to become contaminated

Dental supplies and instruments should not be stored under sinks or in other locations where
they might become wet.


1. Implement practices on the basis of date- or event-related shelf-life for storage of wrapped, sterilized instruments and devices.
2. Even for event-related packaging, at a minimum, place the date of sterilization, and if multiple sterilizers are used in the facility, the sterilizer used, on the outside of the packaging material to facilitate the retrieval of processed items in the event of a sterilization failure.
3. Examine wrapped packages of sterilized instruments before opening them to ensure the barrier wrap has not been compromised during storage.
4. Reclean, repack and resterilize any instrument package that has been compromised. Store sterile items and dental supplies in covered or closed cabinets.

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