For the professional body piercer, one of the most important piercing tools he or she can have is an autoclave. The autoclave is a specialized piece of medical equipment that is used to sterilize the tools, needles and body jewelry the body piercer uses each day. Two main types of autoclaves are offered; steam autoclaves and dry-heat sterilizers. Lower-end autoclaves are stove-top units that do not have heating elements and work just like a home pressure-cooker. Higher priced units are electric powered and have heating elements and gauges to assist in proper sterilization.
As a body-piercer, you are required to use sterile tools and materials for all body piercings. You can either autoclave your tools and body jewelry yourself, or you can use disposable (pre-sterilized) needles, tools and jewelry. If you use the pre-sterilized one-time use jewelry and tools you are not required to own an autoclave.