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Autoclave Autoclaves are the most dependable systems available for the decontamination of laboratory waste and the sterilization of laboratory glassware, media, and reagents. However because they use pressurized steam, autoclaves also present a burn hazard to users. The following 3 fact sheets provide information to users on protecting themselves from burns, proper use, and the requirements for installation of new autoclaves or relocation of existing ones.