How To Sterilize A Needle? (Disinfection Vs. Sterilization)

Syringe needles require sterilization.

Do you know how to sterilize a needle? In the medical field, needles are instruments with pointed tips that medical professionals use to puncture tissues, injection, and many more. Meanwhile, you can order an autoclave online to help you perform the sterilization process.

Disinfection vs. sterilization

In actuality, disinfecting and sterilizing is not the same. There are differences in the after-effects of doing any of these two. We have to keep that in mind.

Disinfecting needle at home may reduce infection risk. However, it does not eliminate it at all. In other words, disinfection only reduces the number of bacteria in an object but will not be able to remove them entirely.

On the other hand, it can remove all types of bacteria and other potentially harmful microorganisms when it comes to sterilization. Even so, it will only be successful upon the correct implementation of the sterilizing process.

Additionally, there are requirements before you can tell that the needle is sterile. An example is air. A sterilized needle will only remain sterile if you keep it in an air-tight container. Besides that, the container has also undergone sterilization.

How to sterilize a needle?

How to sterilize a needle? Use an autoclave machine

In the medical field, they use autoclave machines or other medical equipment with pressurized saturated steam to sterilize the needles. However, it is not practical to have these machines at home since they are expensive.

For this reason, sterilizing at home will be a whole different set-up and may not guarantee 100 percent sterilization. On the other hand, you can still try any of the following.

Ways on how to sterilize a needle at home

Again, we would like to remind you that home sterilization will not guarantee a 100% removal of bacteria and other potentially harmful microorganisms.

Using boiling water or steam

This option can kill many microorganisms. Unfortunately, the heat from boiling water is not sufficient to kill heat-resistant bacteria. An example of this bacteria is endospores.

However, we would still share the procedure for disinfecting your needle at home using boiling water.

  • Prepare a pot. Ensure that you meticulously cleaned this pot using disinfectant soap and hot water.
  • Secondly, place the needle inside the pot with water and boil it to at least 200 degrees Fahrenheit or 93.3 degrees Celcius. Furthermore, please leave it in boiling water for at least 30 minutes.
  • Afterwards, wear new surgical or latex gloves. Ensure to use a sterilized tool to remove the needle from the pot.

It is not preferable to boil injection needles. However, if it is necessary to reuse a syringe needle, boiling should take at least an hour before usage.

Using alcohol

You can use alcohol if the purpose of the needles is to remove splinters. To serve this purpose, you can use alcohol to sterilize the needle. We have listed down the step by step procedures below.

  • You can either use alcohol to immerse the needle or clean it with a sterilized gauze pad soaked in alcohol.
  • Before removing the splinters, wash your hands thoroughly. Afterwards, wear new surgical or latex gloves.
  • Another option to try is using tweezers to remove the splinter. You can also use alcohol to disinfect the tweezer.

After removing the splinter, you have to ensure that you have appropriately disinfected the affected area and put a clean cover on it.

Using fire

First and foremost, this option is not applicable for syringe needles. Additionally, it does not offer complete removal of bacteria and other organisms as well. On the other hand, you can apply this if the needle is for splinter removal only.

  • Use a fire that produces lesser residues, such as gas-fueled or butane lighter.
  • Place the tip of the needle towards the fire until it glows red.

This process can’t make the needle completely sterile because of air contaminants. Moreover, you have to take proper precautions when using fire for your safety.

Baking in the oven

The oven is an excellent source of heat as well. In this case, you can also use it to sterilize the needle at home.

  • Initially, wrap the needle inside multiple layers of clean cloth.
  • Place it inside the oven and bake it for an hour. Set it at 340 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • It would be best to leave it in the oven long enough to ensure sterility.

This option can sterilize the needles applicable for acupunctures, medical use, and tattooing.

Using chemicals

Another way on how to sterilize a needle at home is through the use of chemicals. You can soak the needle in any of the following chemicals.

In this case, you have to submerge the needle for at least 20 minutes. On the other hand, chemicals are not preferable for needles that you will use inside the womb.

Here is a short video to show an actual presentation on how to clean needles at home.

Importance of sterilizing needles

As you can see, there are several ways on how to sterilize a needle at home. However, home sterilization does not guarantee the complete removal of the bacteria and microorganisms present in the needle.

Given these sterilization options at home, why do we need to sterilize needles in the first place? How important is it to disinfect or sterilize a needle before usage? Let’s find out!

  • Disinfection and sterilization are essential to ensure that there will be no transmission of infectious pathogens to patients.
  • Sterilization is the best way to kill all life forms present in the needle, such as bacterial spores and viruses.
  • All medical tools, such as needles, should be ensured safe before usage. The safety of the patients is at stake.

Sterilization is an essential procedure in any medical field. Medical professionals should properly execute the sterilization process. Otherwise, the safety of the patients will be at risk.

The transmission of an infection is highly possible if the sterilization process is not adequate. This scenario should never happen to any medical facility.


various sizes of syringe needles

Overall, medical needles are intended for one-time use only. In actuality, you cannot reuse a medical needle. On the condition that reuse is necessary, you can try sterilizing it at home.

Earlier, we have already mentioned the options on how to sterilize a needle at home. You only have to select which one applies to you according to your preference.

But then again, we would like to remind you again that it will not provide you with a complete guarantee of 100% sterilization. For this reason, you still have to know whether you should proceed with the process or not.

Exposure of needles to air or unsterile surfaces are no longer sterile. Sterilization options, such as boiling water or steam, may apply but with no complete assurance of sterility.

Final thoughts

No matter how much we reuse a medical item, it is better to seek help and ask medical professionals. The reuse of any medical instrument might only put your life or another person’s life in danger.

In this case, balancing the situation is necessary. Which is safer? Is it safe to proceed with the sterilization process at home, or should we purchase another one?

Sometimes, a little expense is better than risking our life. If the cost of the medical item will not hurt you financially, then it would be best to purchase another one.

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