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Rules For Working in a Cleanroom

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Cleanrooms are essential in order to maintain a steady environment in which detailed work can be completed. Cleanrooms are necessary for a variety of industries, including biotechnology, food manufacturing, automotive manufacturing, and more. Each industry has different requirements for their cleanroom as well as various rules to ensure the room is properly maintained. This will limit the contaminants and prevent work from needing to be redone, saving both time and money.

Rules and regulations that are established for each room need to be strictly followed so that products, organic matter, cells, and other materials are not contaminated. Anyone new to working in a cleanroom might be surprised how many rules that need to be followed and how detailed they can be. At SOS Cleanroom, we provide government agencies, educational institutions, and a variety of other industries with cleanroom products to ensure a successful product. Shop our collection of swabs, cleanroom apparel, solutions, stick mats, wipes, and so much more. Contact our team if you need a custom product that isn’t in our online inventory.

Overview of Cleanroom Rules

Entering and Exiting

The process for entering a cleanroom facility could take its own blog post, so we’ll simply go over the basic here. Depending on the cleanroom, this process may vary slightly.

First, personnel must thoroughly wash and dry their hands before entering a non-sterile gowning area. In this area, they will put on a hair net, walk over a sticky mat to remove any particles on the bottom of their shoes, put on shoe covers, gloves, and then they enter a sterile gowning area. In this area, they will put on a hood, coveralls, boots, and goggles. There are further detailed instructions on how to put on these items without contaminating the materials.

In order to exit the cleanroom, this process is followed in reverse, throwing out disposable items and placing reusable items in a separate receptacle. Personnel may need to walk through an air shower to prevent cross-contamination.

Cleaning

Cleaning rules and regulations in cleanrooms are established to protect personnel as well as materials or products within the room. For an effective cleanroom program, there are procedures in place for effective cleaning of walls, floors, and work surfaces. Requires include:

  • Maintaining SDS (Safety Data Sheets) for any chemicals, disinfectants, or cleaning agents used in the room.
  • Thorough training on how to read SDS for new employees.
  • Reading and following of directions for the use of cleaning agents, disinfectants, etc.
  • Begin cleaning from the dirtiest to the cleanest area, working toward the exit.
  • Using the correct cleaning agent for a specific cleanroom. For example, isopropyl alcohol is an effective cleaner, but is flammable and shouldn’t be used to clean machinery that reaches high temperatures.
  • When certain chemicals are used, emergency showers or eye wash stations are required.
  • And others.

Hygiene

To properly prepare for work in a cleanroom, personnel must establish certain hygiene habits at home. They will need to regularly shower, wash their hair, brush their teeth, and use non-silicone skin moisturizers to prevent skin from flaking. Anyone in a cleanroom cannot wear any makeup, hair gel, hair spray, perfume, or scented lotions. Staff should avoid wearing contact lenses and if possible, avoid coughing or sneezing when working in a cleanroom. If an employee is a smoker, they cannot smoke for at least half an hour before entering the cleanroom.

Clothing

Depending on the cleanroom, it may be required for staff to change out of street clothes and into specific 100% polyester cleanroom apparel or suits to reduce the risk of outside contaminants. Many cleanrooms will require that at least outside shoes to be taken off and specific footwear is put on, in addition to shoe covers. No jewelry can be worn inside cleanrooms, including rings, necklaces, earrings, and other piercings. Staff also cannot use nail polish, lip balm, or even lash extensions. Cleanroom apparel can consist of full suits, coveralls, gloves, electrostatic discharge (ESD) apparel, cuff sealers, safety glasses, hairnets or beard covers, and more. In addition, there are requirements regarding changing areas, lockers, storage, soiled garment storage, laundering processes, and more.

Others

There are many other rules and regulations to ensure the success of a cleanroom and the work that is being done within it. Here are a few miscellaneous rules:

  • Staff must be mindful of how fast they walk. Walking too fast can create air movement, which can stir up particles on the floor or other surfaces into the air.
  • Anything dropped on the floor must be left and not picked up. Up to 12 inches above the floor is considered a dirty zone, so anything that has been dropped has been contaminated. Picking it up with a gloved hand would mean that the glove is also contaminated.
  • Nothing is allowed in a cleanroom except approved apparel and cleanroom products. Keys, wallet, jewelry, matches, tobacco, or food or drinks are not allowed.
  • If any personnel have any skin irritations, open sores, or respiratory issues, they are not allowed in the cleanroom.

There are a surprising number of things that are regulated when working in a cleanroom. And each rule is very specific to ensure that nothing is overlooked. Overall, a cleanroom is a space that must limit the number of contaminants and reduce the risk of cross-contamination in order to achieve an optimal environment.

At SOS Cleanroom, we’re dedicated to providing a variety of industries and organizations with high-quality, affordable cleanroom products. We offer custom swabscleanroom appareldisinfectants and other solutionsmops, anti-static products, and so much more. Get in touch with our team if you have any questions about our products or want to place a custom order.