The most alarming source of hospital acquired (Nosocomial) infections is surgical site infections. These infections lead to the death of a patient even if the surgery had been successful. The fatality rates are higher when Operation Theatre has not been sterilized.  Surgical personnel, particularly those on the surgical team, the surgical room environment (including the air, floor, walls, OT table), and surgical instruments brought into the sterile field during surgery can act as potential exogenous sources of infections. A significant decrease has been observed in Post-operative infections by maintaining a sterile atmosphere in the operation theatre.

For decades, formaldehyde fumigation has been the most reliable technique for sterilising areas which are required to be microbiologically clean. 

Method- Electric Boiler Fumigation Technique 

For Each 1000 cubic feet, 500 ml of formaldehyde (40% solution) is added in 1000 ml of purified water (if not available use tap water) in an electric boiler. After the boiler is switched on one should move outside the Operation theatre and shut the door.  The boiler should be turned off without entering the room after 45 minutes (the exact time will depend on the volume in the heating device and how well it heats the space). 


Formaldehyde is irritating to the eyes and nose and has been identified as a potential carcinogen, thus it is important to take the necessary precautions by wearing a cap, mask, foot cover. Hence, personal protective equipment (PPE) must be given to the fumigator. It is necessary to put a warning sign stating that a fumigation is taking place on the front door of the Operation theatre.

Benefits of Fumigation 

  • It helps to eradicate all stages of Pathogen’s life cycle.
  • It is time-saving method.
  • It can reach the areas where other chemicals cannot. 
  • It leaves less residue on the articles present in fumigation zone.