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Cleanrooms: Here’s What You Should Know

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If you work in the commercial, medical, or industrial industry, there’s a good chance you already know a thing or two about cleanrooms. Cleanrooms are great for product yield and improving quality control, while also ensuring the safety of your employees. These controlled areas are classified by how clean the air is, according to the quantity and size of particles per volume of air. The main purpose of a cleanroom is to control an environment by limited the presence of sub-micron particles and modifying inadequate or insufficient environmental conditions.

There are a variety of industries that utilize cleanrooms, such as: high-tech and electronic companies, pharmaceutical companies, medical facilities, and much more. Historically, a cleanroom has been defined as an enclosed area within a manufacturing or research facility that is specifically designed to control air pollutant levels as well as temperature, humidity, pressurization, and personnel access in order to meet certain environmental conditions and demands.

In its most basic form, a cleanroom is all about minimizing particulate (or tiny particles of matter) that can be found in the air. Cleanroom contamination is a very common problem across a variety of industries, and most human performance deviations or failures in a cleanroom may be linked to:

  • Changes in employees or personnel 
  • Complex aseptic processing tasks

As humans, it’s normal that we carry unwanted microorganisms. According to recent studies, there are over 200 species of different bacteria that are associated with humans and can be found in the intestines, eyes, hair, nose, mouth, and skin. This means that humans are not only a major source of contamination, they are also an agent for transferring contaminants to other locations that could pose a risk to a product. Microorganisms can be spread by coughing, sneezing, and simple touching something.

Contamination in a cleanroom can pose a variety of risks to technical processes and production activities, as well as the individuals involved in the process. Many businesses have learned that the unguarded proliferation of contamination can result in product damage, yield reduction, and even product recalls. As a result, businesses all over the world are protecting themselves from the harmful effects of contamination.

Installing A Cleanroom 

If you plan on installing a cleanroom within your business, you may feel overwhelmed by the rules and regulations in which you have to follow. You’ll have to decide where to build your cleanroom, how big to make it, and which standards you must adhere to. Some common questions to ask yourself include:

What’s My Application? 

The first thing you’ll want to identify about your cleanroom is the application. Each industry has different requirements and needs for their cleanroom and some tend to be more strict than others. It’s very important that you understand exactly what classification is required for the industry that you’re in, because if you design a cleanroom with the incorrect specifications, you may be spending too much money or your product may suffer from contamination.

What Is My Cleanroom Application? 

Another question to ask yourself is, what is my cleanroom application? Cleanrooms are classified by the number of contaminants that exist in the functioning space, and contamination is often measured in parts per cubic meter. To help you better understand this idea, let’s put it into perspective.

Let’s say your cleanroom has to measure up to an ISO (the International Standards Organization) Class 6 level, which is rated at 35,200 parts per cubic meter. In the laymans terms, this means that within your cleanroom space, you cannot have more than 35,200 particles greater than .5 microns in size, per cubic meter of space.

At SOS Cleanroom, we’re proud to be an industry leader in the distribution of cleanroom supplies used in commercial, medical, and industrial applications. For more than 33 years, we’ve been providing the best in class service to our customers and we offer some of the best brands including ITW Texwipe, Micronova, and more.

Essential Cleanroom Supplies 

Whether you’re in the process of building a cleanroom or you’re curious about the cleanroom supplies on the market, we’re here to provide you with a list of essential cleanroom supplies to keep unwanted contaminants out of your space.

Cleanroom Wipes

Cleanroom wipes differ widely by application, materials, and cleanliness. As one of the most effective and commonly used tools to remove contaminants and particulate, it’s important to have an understanding of the various wipes available on the market.

Nonwoven Wipes 

Nonwoven wipes are usually used in cleanrooms with an ISO Class 7 or above. These wipes can broadly be defined as sheet or web structures that are bonded together by fibers or filaments. The unique characteristics of these wipes can provide you with a number of beneficial outcomes when it comes to porosity. As a fairly economical choice, we offer a wonderful selection of nonwoven wipes at SOS Cleanroom. Some of our most popular nonwoven wipes include:

  • TexVantage 9" x 9" Cellulose and Polyester Cleanroom Wiper - ITW Texwipe is a worldwide leader in contamination control supplies and critical cleaning products. These nonwoven cleanroom wipers with cellulose and polyester can be used for spill control as well as general, all-purpose cleaning. These wipers are chemically resistant and they can withstand things like bleach and phenols. 
  • Chemtronics 6709 Coventry 9" x 9" Econowipes Wipes - Chemtronics has been at the forefront of electronics maintenance and repair, and we’re happy to carry a large selection of their nonwoven wipes. These nonwoven polyester wipes offer incredible durability and excellent particle entrapment. Whether you need to clean up acids or other chemical spills, these wipes won’t let you down. 
  • TechniCloth 6" x 6" Cellulose and Polyester Cleanroom Wiper - If you’re shopping for a nonwoven wipe with amazing bidirectional strength, you’ll love these cleanroom wipers. Featuring a fiber blend of 55% cellulose and 45% polyester, you’ll love how absorbent these wipes are. These wipes are ideal for general purpose cleaning and ideal for high absorbency applications.

Woven Wipes 

Woven wipes, also called knitted wipes, are great when it comes to assisting with contamination control in critical environments such as a cleanroom. These fabrics offer incredible particulate removal functionality because they are formed by knitting or looping continuous polyester or other synthetic materials. Polyester cleanroom wipers tend to be a favorite among our online customers because they have strong and durable characteristics.

Cleanroom Garments 

No matter what industry you work in, it’s important that you have the proper cleanroom garments to keep contaminants out of your cleanroom. Unlike conventional work clothes, cleanroom garments do not contaminate a cleanroom with particles. In fact, these garments tend to hold back numerous particles that are emitted by humans every second! Cleanroom garments must satisfy a number of criteria, including:

  • Reduced abrasion or smooth fabric 
  • No electrostatic chargeability 
  • No inherent particle emission 
  • High resistance to wear 
  • Decontaminable and sterilisable

At SOS Cleanroom, we carry a large and diverse array of cleanroom garments including aprons, beard covers, boot covers, gowns, and smocks. Some of our most popular cleanroom garments include:

  • DuPont Tyvek IsoClean Clean Bouffant - DuPont has been bringing world-class science and engineering products to the market for more than 200 years. Their products deliver an ideal balance of comfort, durability, and protection, and their products can be found in various markets such as electronics, construction, transportation, and apparel. 
  • DuPont Tyvek Apron - The DuPont Tyvek Apron is made of high density polyethylene, providing a wonderful balance of protection and durability. This apron features bound seams to reduce the potential for particle penetration. 
  • DuPont Tyvek IsoClean Clean Coverall - In addition to their quality cleanroom aprons, DuPont is also known for their clean-processed garments. This coverall features elastic openings for a tighter fit around the wrist and ankle and a bound neck for lower particulate shedding.

The Top Tips For Cleanroom Cleaning Success

Cleanrooms in both healthcare and pharmaceutical facilities must be kept in a state of microbiological control. This can be achieved in a few different ways, including properly gowned and trained personnel, a proper HVAC system, and effective cleaning techniques. Let’s take a look at the top tips for keeping your cleanroom spotless and free of harmful contaminants.

Cleaning & Disinfecting

In order to effectively clean your cleanroom, you should have an understanding of the difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning often involves the use of a detergent, and you should always use a detergent prior to disinfecting an area. Detergents are defined as a cleaning agent that can be used to remove soil, dirt, dust, and grease from a surface. The removal of soil is a very important step prior to the application of the disinfectant.

Detergents work by penetrating soil and reducing surface tension. A disinfectant, on the other hand, is a kind of chemical germicide that is capable of eliminating vegetative microorganisms.

Finding Appropriate Cleaning Agents

Depending on the type of facility you work in, your cleanroom manager should be confident in the best cleaning and disinfectant agents that should be used. When it comes to selecting detergents, it’s important to remember that:

A detergent is a neutral and a non-ionic solution Detergents should be non-foaming A detergent should be compatible with the disinfectant you use

Understanding Disinfectants 

There are a number of different disinfectants on the market today from which to choose, so it’s important to do your research on what’s available. This will come in handy when you have to choose between non-sporicidal and sporicidal disinfectants (or the difference between non-oxidizing and oxidizing chemicals). Some non-oxidizing disinfectants include: aldehydes, amphoterics, phenolics, and alcohols. Some oxidizing disinfectants include: halogens and other agents like chlorine dioxide and peracetic acid.

Cleaning Techniques 

Once you know what cleaning agent you would like to use in your cleanroom, it’s time to focus on your cleaning technique. If your cleaning agents or disinfectants are not being used in the proper light, your cleanroom may be at risk for microbial contamination. Your cleanroom staff should always wear full protective coverings when it comes to conducting sensitive tasks. Safety goggles and glasses should also be worn when working with chemicals as well.

SOS Cleanroom: Your Partner in Cleanroom Supplies & Garments At SOS Cleanroom, we’re passionate about providing our online customers with some of the best cleanroom products on the market. We’ve been distributing to cleanrooms since 1990, and we offer some of the best brands when it comes to cleanroom wipers, swabs, alcohol, mops, and sticky mats.