Low-temperature sterilization such as vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP), ethylene oxide (EO) plays an important role in sterile processing departments. Vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP) is the most common low-temperature sterilization process used today. So what is vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP) sterilization? Let's find out!

1. What is vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP)?

Hydrogen peroxide is a strong oxidizing agent and kills microorganisms when it comes into direct contact with them. The hydrogen peroxide molecule is by nature unstable, in that it will easily dissociate into sub-components under ambient conditions.

In addition, hydrogen peroxide sterilization processes use a vaporized form of hydrogen peroxide.

Vapor is not the same as a true gas, in that vapor will naturally condense on surfaces, like water vapor in the air condensing on the outside of a cold glass.

Gasses, like ethylene oxide, do not condense. They are always in gas form in the temperatures and pressures found in sterilization processes.

These points about hydrogen peroxide’s oxidative properties, its molecular stability, and its vapor properties are extremely important attributes that have a significant impact on how VHP sterilization processes work.

2. What is vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP) sterilization?

Vaporized hydrogen peroxide sterilization is a low-temperature sterilization process commonly used to sterilize heat-sensitive devices.

A vaporized hydrogen peroxide sterilization process usually requires less time than other forms of sterilization, like ethylene oxide sterilization.

3. Vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP) sterilization process

A vaporized hydrogen peroxide sterilization process involves:

1. Hydrogen peroxide in liquid is converted into vapor

2. Vaporized hydrogen peroxide fills the VHP sterilizer chamber (VHP pass box), and sterilizes materials surfaces.

3. When the sterilization has been finished, the vapor is sucked from the chamber and converted to water and oxygen.

4. Vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP) applications

VHP is an effective sterilization method for medical and cleanroom products such as:

  • Implants and devices with electronics
  • Pharmaceutical containers
  • Parenteral drug delivery systems such as pre-filled syringes
  • VHP pass box/ VHP sterilization chamber

  • Single-packaged assembled complex devices
  • Temperature-sensitive devices

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