Sterilization is the killing or removal of all microorganisms, including bacterial spores, which are highly resistant. Depending on the material, sterilization can be achieved by autoclave, hot-air oven, ethylene oxide gas, or filtration.
Disinfection is the killing of many, but not all, microorganisms. During disinfection, pathogenic bacteria will be killed but some microorganisms including spores may remain viable. Use of disinfectant varies depending on the purpose of use i.e., inanimate objects or skin surfaces. Some of the popular disinfectants are phenol-containing compounds, quaternary ammonium compounds, alcohol (ethanol), chlorine, iodine, etc. Disinfectants used on the surface of the skin or mucous membrane are called antiseptics.
Filtration is the preferred method of sterilizing heat sensitive liquid and gases without exposure to denaturing heat.
Sterilization and decontamination in the medical supplies (surgical supplies, vaccines, and drugs) is done using radiation sterilization.
Disinfection is a process whereby pathogenic organisms, but not necessarily all microorganisms or spores, are destroyed.
Autoclave kills microorganisms using saturated stem under pressure. Autoclave comprises of three parts: a pressure chamber, a lid and an electrical heater.
ETO is an effective sterilizing agent for heat and moisture-sensitive materials in hospitals, industries, and laboratories.
Moist heat has better penetrating power than dry heat and at a given temperature, produces a faster reduction in the number of living organisms.