7 Ways to Reduce Contamination in Cleanrooms

Reduce Contamination in Cleanrooms

A cleanroom bears its name for a reason: its very purpose is to stay sanitary and free of contaminants to maintain a stable work environment. Because employees handle sensitive equipment and components in these critical areas, keeping contaminants at bay is essential to everyday workflow, and ultimately, maintaining profitability.

It may come as no surprise that your employees are the most common source of contamination in your cleanrooms. What you may find surprising, however, are the simple steps you can take to minimize contamination risks. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective tips, below.

1.       Practice Good Hygiene

Practice Good Hygiene
Practice Good Hygiene

Humans naturally produce particles. Our bodies shed contaminants, producing detritus like skin flakes and particles from hair products, cosmetics, and lotions. Thus, while good hygiene can limit the level of contaminants spread in the cleanroom, it’s also important to consider ways in which certain steps of getting ready might be skipped or altered for the purpose of limiting contaminants. Even perfume and cologne, for instance, can produce contaminants. Since 75-80% of particles found in cleanroom inspections are produced by personnel, it’s a good idea to establish a set of hygiene recommendations for your employees to follow.


2.       Be Especially Mindful of Hands

TechniGlove Nitrile Cleanroom Glove
TechniGlove Nitrile Cleanroom Glove

A good portion of cleanliness violations result from bare hands touching surfaces, then transferring these particles onto garments before they enter the cleanroom. To make sure your employees aren’t contaminating anything that will be worn inside your critical environments, consider installing no-touch sensors in the areas where your employees don their cleanroom gear. This will allow them to still wash their hands without picking up any excess particles in the process. Cleanroom Gloves are used in areas that have specific requirements for low contamination risk.

Cleanroom Gloves are disposable gloves designed and clean-processed for contamination control and sterility required work environments including cleanrooms, laboratory and ESD work areas. Minimize sub-micron particle contamination by using gloves designed and manufactured for Cleanrooms.

3.       Don Gear Properly

Don from Top to Bottom
Don from Top to Bottom

The way your employees put their disposable apparel on is just as important as the garments themselves. Because particles are also impacted by the pull of gravity, donning procedures should start at the top. Employees can then work their way down. While each company’s donning procedures may be unique to its specific needs, it’s a good idea to adopt a head-to-toe procedure to prevent contaminants from falling and settling on clean shoe covers.


4.       Limit Speaking

Limit Speaking
Limit Speaking

A quiet cleanroom doesn’t just boost productivity; it also has the power to reduce contaminants. Consider the fact that loud speaking of just 100 words (less than a minute of normal conversation!) can produce up to 250 particles of saliva. Of course, there are also some contaminants which may not be avoided, such as coughs and sneezes, which produce roughly 5,000 and 1,000,000 saliva particles, respectively. What’s a simple way to limit contamination from saliva particles in your cleanroom? Wear a face mask designed for Cleanrooms.

5.       Designate “Cleanroom Only” Supplies

Cleanroom Pens
Cleanroom Pens

Taking a pen from outside the cleanroom into the critical work environment might seem harmless, but employees who do so will also unintentionally bring a plethora of contaminants inside with it. Not only should you have cleanroom pens, cleanroom notebooks, and any other tools or instruments designated specifically for cleanroom use only, but you should also make sure they’re compliant with your standards. In other words, the supplies you’re using should also have been produced in a cleanroom environment.

Cleanroom paper packaged in class 10 cleanrooms, for instance, is considered safe for use in class 10 cleanrooms or higher. Cleanroom paper products are impregnated and coated with a polymer. This keeps the paper from generating tiny particulates when written on. Keep your area clean of paper contaminants by using documentation designed just for Cleanrooms.

6.       Take Care When Entering & Exiting

Take Care When Entering & Exiting Cleanrooms
Take Care When Entering & Exiting Cleanrooms

After employees enter and exit cleanrooms, encourage them to take an extra moment to ensure doors are tightly shut. It’s a good practice to make sure the door leading to the changing room is also closed before the cleanroom door is opened to prevent additional particles from making their way into the buffer area. In fact, you can further eliminate the spread of contaminants by separating your gowning room into three distinct areas. One for the non-sterile space directly outside of the room, where employees can keep personal items and clean shoes. The second space is the sterile “dirty” area, where employees prepare for gowning. Finally, the last space should be designated for gowning and taking final preparations before entering.

7.       Move Slowly

Move Slowly in Cleanrooms
Move Slowly in Cleanrooms

The more rapidly movement occurs inside the cleanroom, the more particles will be given off. To combat excess contamination, employees should move slowly and deliberately as they approach work stations. They should also be encouraged to enter and exit cleanrooms slowly.


By incorporating these tips into your cleanroom protocol, you might be able to significantly reduce the number of contaminants inside. You can find cleanroom documentation, cleanroom disposable apparel, and more supplies suitable for cleanroom use online through Harmony Business Supplies. If there’s a specific item you need help with, a product specialist will be happy to assist you.

Harmony Business Supplies

3 Common Respirator Myths Debunked

3 Common Respirator Myths Debunked

Respirators are used to protect the wearer from inhaling harmful substances, including infectious particles and chemical vapors. With varying degrees of protection, respirators are available in many different types. While particulate respirators are used to filter only particles (dust and mist, for instance), chemical cartridge respirators (also known as “gas masks”) actually purify the air while you inhale.

Finding the right respirator to suit your needs will depend on the nature of your application. Just as importantly, you’ll also need to carefully follow the device’s guidelines to ensure full protection during use. There are some myths surrounding the proper ways to wear, use, and enforce respirators, many of which can actually be dangerous if believed. Here, we’ve collected and debunked some of the most common respirator myths:

3 Safety Respirator Myths:


MYTH: My company doesn’t need a respiratory protection program if employees wear masks voluntarily.

MYTH: My company doesn’t need a respiratory protection program if employees wear masks voluntarily.


TRUTH: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets forth requirements which employers must follow to keep individuals safe against the exposure of harmful air pollutants. Specifically, OHSA has a Respiratory Protection Standard which enforces respirator regulations. For instance, in settings where employees could be exposed to harmful fumes, vapors, smokes, sprays, and mists, the company must have a documented plan to explain how their respiratory protection program will be governed. This should also include procedures, specific types of equipment to be worn, care and use of the equipment, and medical evaluations for employees to verify their ability to wear respirators. Thus, even if your employees willingly wear respirators, government regulations still require you to have a plan in place.



MYTH: My facial hair won’t hinder respirator effectiveness.

MYTH: My facial hair won’t hinder respirator effectiveness.


TRUTH: It’s possible beards and mustaches could leave you more exposed to air pollutants. Here’s why: in order to keep you fully protected, the respirator needs to form an air-tight seal against your skin. Beards, clothing, and any other blockage preventing the seal from coming into direct contact with your skin can become an issue. By preventing a tight seal or blocking the exhalation valve, facial hair can allow contaminated air to leak into your respirator.



MYTH: I don’t need to change my respirator’s cartridge until I can smell the chemical while wearing it

MYTH: I don’t need to change my respirator’s cartridge until I can smell the chemical while wearing it.

TRUTH: Certain types of respirators use cartridges to purify the air. While they offer a high level of protection, they become less effective over time as the cartridge wears out. Thus, waiting until the cartridge is no longer working essentially defeats the purpose of wearing a respirator, as it no longer protects the wearer effectively. Moreover, using employees’ ability to detect smells is an unreliable method for changing cartridges, as they may be less sensitive to the fumes after working with them for a long time. OHSA mandates that employers should have a cartridge change schedule in place, so they can be replaced prior to losing their effectiveness.


If you’re in need of reusable respirators and cartridges to keep your employees protected, look no further than Harmony Business Supplies. Dozens of options are available online to accommodate every application, and a product specialist can help you if you’re not sure which model is right for your needs.

Industrial Uses for Foam-Tipped Applicators

Industrial Uses for Foam-Tipped Applicators

Industrial Uses for Foam-Tipped Applicators

There are countless areas throughout manufacturing and industrial environments which need to be cleaned regularly. However, many of these are tight, hard-to-reach or delicate spots, and regular cleaning tools are simply too large or cumbersome to do the job. For these reasons, many companies turn to foam-tipped applicators for precise, effective cleaning.

Foam swabs are the right tool for any jobs that demand precision, detailing, and cleanliness. The foam is soft and non-abrasive, making it safe for use on even your most sensitive manufacturing or industrial components. They’re also ideal for cleanroom use, as they feature thermal bonding to prevent contamination. While foam applicators are soft enough for gentle cleaning, they’re still sturdy enough to avoid bending, flexing, and folding during regular use. They can be used either wet or dry. With many different configurations available, there’s a specific swab available to meet the needs of any application.

Some industries that can benefit from foam-tipped applicators include printing, precision manufacturing, electronics, semiconductors, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology. Below, we’ll discuss some of the many of the general purposes these swabs are used for.

Apply Solutions with Foam Applicators

When you need to precisely apply cleaning solvents, adhesives, paints, or lubricants, a regular cleaning cloth won’t do. Foam swabs like the Puritan foam-tipped applicator or the CleanTex Large Foam Swab have an open-cell structure which creates an optimal holding capacity, making it easier for you to perform precise cleanings and applications. They’re also free of adhesives and shred-resistant to keep contaminants away from small machine components.

Clean Small Parts with Foam Swabs

Small, grooved areas in fiber optics can benefit from non-abrasive foam applicators like the TekniSwab cleanroom foam swab or the Chemtronics Foam Flextip Swab. With a conical screw tip, the applicator can successfully remove buildup and excess production material from extremely tight spaces.

Foam Tipped Swabs to Remove Contaminants

Virtually any industrial or manufacturing setting has surfaces and components that need to be cleaned regularly for optimal efficiency. Chemtronics Foamtips Swabs are lint-free and non-abrasive; perfect for cleaning. In the manufacturing of electronic components, for instance, few particles can be present during critical phases of production, and even the presence of static could compromise your products. To limit contaminants and control static in these environments, swabs like the Puritan anti-static foam swab are a leading choice.

Now that we’ve discussed some of the general ways foam tipped swabs can be used in the industrial or manufacturing sectors, let’s look briefly at just a few specific solutions they provide by industry:

Some Foam Tip Swab Uses by Industry

Circuit Boards & Flat Panels (& Electronics)

During the production and handling of flat-panels and circuit boards, small components like the interiors of orifices and tubes must be cleaned. Because they are inaccessible by larger cleaning instruments, foam-tipped swabs are often the go-to cleaning tool for these minute spaces.


In industries like aerospace, employees may handle coated lenses regularly. To perform a thorough surface cleaning without impacting the lens coating, you’ll need to use a nonabrasive foam tip. They’re also useful for cleaning small mirrored surfaces and fiber-optic sensors.

Semi-Conductor Manufacturing

Before devices produced in semi-conductor manufacturing can be sealed, their O-ring chambers must be cleaned. Many manufacturers turn to static-free foam-tip swabs to perform the task safely and efficiently.


No matter your needs, Harmony Business Supplies has dozens of foam tip applicators to help you maintain a clean, sanitary work environment. To explore their options, browse through our swabs online now or get in touch with a product specialist today.

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.