A letter appearing in the AORN Journal questioned whether flash sterilization is appropriate for instruments coded with color identification tape. The reply stated that porous, colored tape required a longer time to penetrate and sterilize the area beneath, and thus if it should peel off, the zone beneath might not be sterile. This conclusion was, as far as we can determine, reached by intuitive reasoning and not by experimental evidence. Therefore, the following experimental approach was undertaken to test the hypothesis. Spores on discs were placed between the color-code tape and a metal instrument. Exposure to heat (135 degrees C) and time (3 min.) was in a gravity displacement sterilizer. We then determined whether spore kill has been achieved. The test organism was B. stearothermophilus. None of the discs that were in contact with the instruments while being sterilized showed any growth. Thus, it appears that sterility can be achieved on the instrument surfaces that are beneath color-code tape in three minutes.