An Overview of Cleanroom Wipes

An Overview of Cleanroom Wipes

An Overview of Cleanroom Wipes

Maintaining a cleanroom or controlled environment requires the use of products and tools designed specifically for these areas. When spills and contamination occur in these critical environments, your employees should be able to have cleanroom wipes within reach for the most effective and convenient cleaning possible.

Here, we’ll provide a basic overview of cleanroom wipes to help you determine which type your organization needs most.

 

Why Are Cleanroom Wipes Needed?

Sources of Cleanroom Product Contamination (Source: www.cemag.us)
Sources of Cleanroom Product Contamination (Source: www.cemag.us)

To understand why it’s imperative for cleanroom wipes to be used in certain environments, it’s helpful to first have an understanding of cleanrooms. A cleanroom is any sensitive environment in which the amount of pollutants must be monitored and kept to a minimum. Pollutants can include substances found naturally in the air, such as dust, microbes, particles, and even certain vapors.

Cleanroom environments are classified according to the number of particles (sized .5 micrometers or larger) allowed per cubic meter. For instance, to be classified at ISO 6, a room must have 35,200 particles or fewer per square meter; but an ISO 4 cleanroom can only have 352.

Cleanrooms are used in a broad range of industries, including pharmaceuticals and aerospace semiconductor engineering. They’re also used in manufacturing for medical devices, computer components like microchips, optics, and military applications.

To sustain the appropriate cleanroom classification, employees who work in these highly sensitive environments must follow stringent procedures on a day-to-day basis. Everything from their attire to cleaning techniques must follow a specific protocol to facilitate contamination control. Thus, using the proper cleaning materials is integral to keeping the number of pollutants down in a cleanroom.

 

How Are They Different from Ordinary Wipes?

Teknipure ESD Polyester Knit Cleanroom Wiper
Teknipure ESD Polyester Knit Cleanroom Wiper

Cleanroom wipes aren’t like ordinary wipes because they’re made differently. They feature lower levels of lint to protect against contaminants, and some boast higher levels of absorbency, resistance to chemicals and abrasion, and in general, better cleaning capabilities. They’re also softer, making them safe for use on sensitive equipment.

Like the cleanrooms themselves, cleanroom wipes have different classifications to be used in corresponding cleanrooms. For instance, many cleanroom wipes are compatible with ISO class 6 or higher. Likewise, the wipes are also produced in cleanroom environments, to ensure the highest possible quality.

 

What Are Advantages of Cleanroom Wipes?

Cleanroom wipes are handy for quickly wiping down a surface in a cleanroom environment after a spill or contamination has occurred. Some are made to handle specific cleaning solvents, such as IPA, and other types of solutions. Using cleanroom wipes allows your teams to disinfect surfaces while also ensuring sterilization and reducing the levels of endotoxins present in the environment.

 

What Are The Types of Cleanroom Wipes?

There are a few different factors to consider when seeking out the best cleanroom wipe to suit your needs. We’ll walk through each, below.

Types of Cleanroom Wipe Border/Edge Seals

Cleanroom Wipers have sealed edges to prevent particle and fiber generation and provide a clean wipe. Cleanroom wipes can have a sealed border, a sealed edge, or a cut edge. The level of fiber and particle release will depend on your wipe seal. Note the difference in sealing the border around the wipe (most clean) or just the wipe edge (most common).

Cleanroom Class 1-10 (ISO 3-4):

Sealed Border

Sealed Border wipers are the cleanest & best performing choice for your most critical tasks. Maximum cleanliness and fiber control.

A proprietary process using pressure & heat is used to create a border seal for optimum fiber and particle retention, resulting in a 5mm Ultrasonic Border Seal around the border of the wipe.

Cleanroom Class 10-100 (ISO 4-5):

Sealed Edge

Sealed Edge wipers are exceptionally clean and a common critical task wiper. The difference over border seals is that only the edging of the wipe is sealed instead of a border around the edge of the wipe. A Laser Sealed Edge is provided on all sides for maximum fiber and particle retention. A Ultrasonic Sealed Edge involves a process using pressure & heat to create an ultrasonic seal for fiber and particle retention. Ultrasonic Sealing is superior to Laser Sealing as it results in a softer edge, and lower carbon levels.

Cleanroom Class 100-10,000 (ISO 5-7):

Hot Knife or Laser Sealed Edge

Knit (Woven) Wipers

Light weight with a Laser Sealed Edge to provide effective contamination control in critical environments and offer the best value. Low levels of contamination and superb particle removal and retention make this the ideal wiper where economical and effective cleaning is required. Most economical critical use knit wipers.

Non-Woven Wipers

Excellent absorbency and particle removal in controlled environments. Commonly used in many general cleaning applications. Higher levels of fiber and contaminants than knit wipers. Excellent choice for economical cleaning & spill pick-up. These non-woven wipers have Hot Knife Sealed Edges.

Woven (Knit) Vs. Non-Woven:

Teknipure MicroFiber Cleanroom Wipe TC2MFUW
Teknipure MicroFiber Cleanroom Wipe TC2MFUW

Woven cleanroom wipes

Dry-knitted and considered to be the cleanest type. They’re often made from polyester and may be safe for use in classes ISO 4 or 5. Woven cleanroom wipes are strong, non-shedding, soft, and highly absorbent. They can even be gamma irradiated for enhanced sterility to support lower microbiological endotoxin levels.

TekniZorb Polyester/Cellulose Cleanroom Wiper TZ1PCS1-99
TekniZorb Polyester/Cellulose Cleanroom Wiper TZ1PCS1-99

Non-woven cleanroom wipes

A more economical choice for less-critical environments. They, too, are strong and low-linting. The wipes made from polypropylene/cellulose blends are resistant to acids and many other types of chemicals. Non-woven wipes are also supremely soft and thus safe for use on sensitive equipment.

 

Wet Vs. Dry:

TekniSat PreSaturated Cleanroom Wiper TS2PUI70Z-99
TekniSat PreSaturated Cleanroom Wiper TS2PUI70Z-99

Wet, or pre-saturated wipes, are already moistened with a cleaning solution such as isopropyl alcohol. The moisture levels in wet wipes may support their ability to capture pollutants, as they facilitate a stronger bond to contaminants.

Dry wipes, too, can retain particles, but without a cleaning solution, they must be strong enough to wipe up the spilled material on their own to be effective. However, cleaning solvents can be used with dry wipes separately, affording the user a better ability to achieve their desired level of saturation.

While wet cleanroom wipes boast convenience, dry wipes may be more versatile. Ultimately, both serve unique purposes and choosing which is better for your application comes down to personal preference.

 

What Are Some Best Practices for Using Cleanroom Wipes?

To get the most from your cleanroom wipes, it’s important to train employees on using them correctly. Here are some helpful tips to be mindful of:

  • Follow a Schedule: Cleanroom wipes are only effective for reducing particles if they’re being used for regular cleaning in addition to wiping up spills. To maintain sterilized surfaces, proper cleanings should be performed daily. Thus, it’s helpful to encourage your employees to closely follow a routine. While cleaning standards may vary by level, keeping track of cleanings by documenting them can be helpful in any industry and cleanroom class.

 

  • Fold Wipes: Folding wipes in half or even in quarters allows users to get the maximum use out of their surface area. Using an entire wipe to clean just one small area is wasteful, so to stretch your budget ask employees to fold wipes and then clean each space with a different side. You really shouldn’t use an un-folded wipe. Fold it at least once or twice for the most effective wipe!

    Quarter-Fold to get the most out of your wipes!
    Quarter-Fold to get the most out of your wipes!

 

  • Don’t Reuse: While folding extends the capacity of each wipe, it’s imperative to avoid spreading contaminants. Develop a specified technique which all employees should use to avoid cleaning multiple surfaces with the same wipe. Don’t risk cross-contamination by going back and forth between clean and dirty areas.

 

  • Moisten Appropriately: Finally, if you’re not using pre-saturated cleanroom wipes, make sure the wipes you use are neither too wet nor too dry. Overly wet wipes will simply saturate the surface and spread bacteria further, while using wipes that are too dry may hinder your ability to attract all of the contaminants in the area.

Whichever type of cleanroom wipe you select for your needs, Harmony Business Supplies has the perfect solution for you. You can view our vast selection of cleanroom wipes online now, or get in touch with a product specialist to learn more about identifying the proper type to support your business needs.

Prevent DNA Specimen Degradation by Choosing the Right Swabs

Prevent DNA Specimen Degradation (1)

How Choosing the Right Materials Can Prevent DNA Specimen Degradation

Whether for genetic testing or another application, preserving DNA integrity through all steps of the handling process is essential to avoiding potential errors, which can be costly and time-intensive to correct. The most effective way to proactively avoid DNA specimen degradation is selecting the right tools for your needs.

There are a few types of media transport systems available, but before you can determine the best option for your needs, it may be helpful to consider the following questions:

  1. Are you going to prepare the DNA for examination immediately after collecting it?
  2. Will the specimen be stored for use in the future, and if so, for how long?
  3. Do you expect to ship the DNA specimen to an offsite processing lab? If so, what is the anticipated time frame between collection and examination?

Most importantly, the main objective is to minimize the amount of degradation that your DNA specimen undergoes. The more time between collection and processing that passes, the more measures you’ll need to put in place to preserve the sample. Additionally, moisture is another degrading factor, so preventing increased moisture levels is  essential.

Bearing these factors in mind, here are some products you should consider n your DNA transport system:

Dry-Tip Swabs

Puritan Cap-Shure Sterile Cotton Swabs: 25-806-1WC-EC
Puritan Cap-Shure Sterile Cotton Swabs: 25-806-1WC-EC

Swabs are the first tool used in the specimen collection process, and they play an important  role in maintaining the integrity of your samples. As such, it’s important to select the right type of swab to keep DNA protected. It’s best to select a sterile dry swab, because again, keeping moisture at bay is important for safeguarding your samples.

If you’re transporting the specimen and don’t plan to use a preservative solution, it’s ideal to allow the swab to air-dry before preparing it for shipment. As long as the environment is kept at a suitable temperature and humidity level, 30 minutes of drying time should suffice.

Depending on your application, you may also wish to consider a cap to prevent DNA contamination.  Puritan offers many swabs with the the cap built in.  These swabs are called Cap-Shure® and feature an aerated tip protector over the swab tip to help the drying process and protect the specimen.

Dry Transport Tubes

Puritan Cell Collection Polyester Swab: 25-806-2PD-TT
Puritan Cell Collection Polyester Swab: 25-806-2PD-TT

Another option for keeping your swabs protected against cross-contamination is using plastic transport tubes. The swab attaches to a cap and is inserted into a tube, much like a test-tube.  A label affixed to the outside of the tube allows for data to be written about the specimen collected.  Dry Transport Swabs include their own transport tubes for safe travel and are available with different tip materials such as calcium alginate, cotton, flocked, foam, polyester, and rayon.

Whichever option you select, Harmony Business Supplies has all of the right products to help you handle and transport DNA specimens as efficiently as possible. You can view their vast array of options online now, or get in touch with a product specialist for more information.

 

Cleanroom Gloves VS Exam Gloves?

Cleanroom Gloves vs Exam Gloves

How Are Cleanroom Gloves Different From Exam Gloves?

You might think that all disposable gloves are created equal, but that’s simply not the case. In fact, disposable gloves are available in a variety of options, each made with their own distinct purposes in mind. Since 20% of on-the-job accidents involve employees’ hands, selecting the proper type is essential to safeguarding your teams’ well-being. Additionally, using the incorrect type of glove for your intended application could damage materials and equipment, which is too costly a mistake for any company to make.

Two of the most common places where disposable gloves are used are cleanrooms and environments where medical exams take place, such as doctors’ offices. Here, we’ll discuss the key differences between cleanroom gloves and exam gloves to illustrate the importance of selecting the right type.

Cleanroom Gloves

V-Clean Cleanroom Grade Nitrile Gloves
V-Clean Cleanroom Grade Nitrile Gloves

Work areas that must remain free from contaminants like dust are known as clean environments (AKA Cleanrooms, or Controlled Environments). It’s also critical for these spaces to be free of other pollutants, including chemical vapors, aerosol particles, airborne microbes, and even static electricity. Most often, these special locations are found within companies that manufacture electronic components, as intricate and sensitive parts such as microchips could become compromised if exposed to any contaminants. Other industries in which cleanrooms are used include pharmaceuticals, scientific research, and aerospace semiconductor engineering.

Minimize sub-micron particle contamination by using gloves designed and manufactured for Cleanrooms. Because the need for reducing contaminants is so great, not just any type of disposable glove will do. Cleanroom gloves are designed and processed according to stringent requirements so they’ll be safe for use in controlled sterile environments. Materials like nitrile, for instance, are known to reduce particle transfer and can be used in both wet and dry handling.

Depending on the application, certain cleanrooms have different classes. A Class 1,000 cleanroom, for instance, means that no more than 1,000 particles of .5 mm or larger are permitted per cubic foot of air. This is known as a class ISO 4 cleanroom. The lower the number, the more sensitive the environment.

Disposable cleanroom gloves are available for use in various classes of cleanrooms. Most importantly, when purchasing gloves, it’s a good idea to make sure they were produced in cleanroom environments; otherwise, they could contain contaminants. The V-Clean cleanroom nitrile gloves carried by Harmony Business Supplies, for instance, were produced at ISO 5 levels and are thus considered safe for use in class 1,000 to 10,000 cleanrooms. Choosing the most appropriate glove is one of the most important cleanroom consumable decisions.

Exam Gloves

Synguard Medical Exam Grade Nitrile Gloves
Synguard Medical Exam Grade Nitrile Gloves

This variation is typically the first to come to mind when we think of disposable gloves. While they can be made from a variety of materials, the primary purpose they serve is to keep both the medical professional and the patient protected against transfer of bacteria, microbes, or any other substances. At the most basic level, they are simply a barrier to block the wearer’s hands from coming into contact with pathogens.

Because keeping the wearer’s hands safe is of utmost importance, the primary quality to look for in exam gloves should be thickness. Gloves should thus not tear easily, even when friction is applied. Nonetheless, mobility is another factor to consider, so the thickness of the glove should not impede the wearer’s ability to use their hands freely.

Additionally, for the patient’s protection, gloves should be switched out in between every new exam. Due to the frequency of changing them, exam gloves should be cost-effective enough to replace them often, which is why disposable options are the go-to choice among medical facilities worldwide. Gloves used in the medical field should also be easy for the wearer to put on and take off quickly.

Another factor to consider when purchasing exam gloves is the material. Latex, which is a natural material made from rubber, has been a leading choice for many years. Latex gloves are an excellent option for a number of reasons: they boast exceptional comfort and dexterity are a cost-effective choice, are lightly powdered to be put on and off with ease, and are biodegradable.

Nonetheless, some people are allergic or sensitive to latex, and increased exposure to the material can actually make a person more susceptible to developing an allergy to it, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (acaai.org). For this reason, alternate materials such as vinyl and nitrile are becoming increasingly popular in medical settings, and are at least a good idea to have “on hand.” Nitrile is also significantly more puncture resistant than latex, providing extra protection against needles and sharps.

Whether you need cleanroom gloves or exam gloves, Harmony Business Supplies has you covered. With a large selection of options to choose from, their online store features gloves in various materials and sizes to suit every application imaginable. You can place your order now or speak with a knowledgeable product specialist for additional information.