A sterilization container for holding medical or surgical items during steam (or gas) sterilization procedures is formed entirely of resin-treated nonwoven material which provides a bacterial filter. The container includes a tray and a cover having correspondingly shaped seal flanges formed to provide a double seal and a tortuous path establishing a bacterial barrier. The lid and tray each have body portions adapted to be firmly gripped or handled with separate hands and the body portions are spaced from and related to the seal flanges in such a manner that the sterilized container may be opened and its contents presented or dispensed while maintaining sterile technique. The container is soft yet semi-rigid even after being subjected to steam sterilization. Ribbing on the bottom surface of the tray provides for strength, raises the contents above any collected condensate, promotes circulation of steam during sterilization to all surfaces of the item supported by the ribs, and promotes ventilation of air about the item after sterilization. The top surface of the cover may be similarly ribbed.