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.

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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.

The 4 Most Common Cleanroom Contaminators

The 4 Most Common Cleanroom Contaminators

Maintaining a cleanroom environment has unique challenges because it’s constantly being exposed to a number of contaminants. To stabilize your company’s particle count, identifying your leading sources of contamination is critical. While these sources may vary from one organization to the next, the most common contaminators tend to be similar across most industries.

Here, we discuss four of the most widespread culprits of contamination in cleanroom environments, along with strategies for combating each source:

Cleanroom Operators: While they’re likely the most highly-trained on reducing contamination, operators actually tend to be the leading source of it in cleanroom environments. Employees can compromise your particle count by neglecting to wear the required disposable apparel to maintain your cleanroom environment. Consider how an operator who just left the building for their lunch break might contaminate an environment by neglecting to wear the proper shoe covers, face masks, or other protective apparel. Frequent reinforcement of procedures, coupled with availability of necessary disposable resources, can help to prevent contamination by operators.

HVAC Systems: Inadequate air volume or velocity can impact your environment, exposing it to a rising number of particles. Even if your cleanroom is stable, it’s possible that HVAC systems working below capacity could be pulling in particles from nearby non-cleanroom environments and contaminating your critical areas. To prevent HVAC-related contamination, make sure you’re following the prescribed maintenance schedule for your HEPA filters. A general rule of thumb to follow is to have your pre-filters replaced at least twice per year.

Supplies: Wipes, gloves, and other cleanroom supplies can either help or hurt you in controlling contaminants. If you’re not using the proper shoe covers, for example, you could actually be increasing ESD risks instead of limiting them. The same goes for the gloves and wipes you select. Make sure that the supplies you choose are intended for use in your cleanroom level. For instance, wipes made from a polyester/cellulose blend are ideal for cleaning spills in controlled environments, and many are available for environments of varying classes. There are contaminant-reducing gloves designed specifically for cleanrooms. Using cleanroom documentation, such as paper and notepads, intended for use in cleanrooms is also helpful for reduce particle generation.

Cleaning Procedures: Maintaining a regular cleaning schedule is imperative in cleanrooms, and without strict adherence to procedures and schedules, your risk for contamination increases substantially. In addition to scheduling airborne particle counts, regular inspections should also be performed on work surfaces and in critical places. Also, while general cleanings should be performed frequently, you should also be following a schedule of deep cleanses to keep particle and bacterial counts down.

From cleanroom pens to wipes and apparel, Harmony Business Supplies has everything you need to help control contamination in your company’s cleanroom. Check out our extensive selection of particle-reducing products.

Disposable Apparel in Cleanrooms

Disposable Apparel in Cleanrooms

What is a Cleanroom?

A cleanroom is a controlled environment used in manufacturing, laboratories, scientific research, pharmaceutical, and other industrial applications. Cleanroom environments have controlled, low levels of environment pollutants and contaminates. The cleanliness of cleanrooms are measured by the number of particles per cubic meter in the air. An ISO 1 Cleanroom has only 12 particles per cubic meter, opposed to a typical urban environment that has 35,000,000 particles per cubic meter.

Why do Cleanrooms matter?

When constructing delicate equipment or doing specific scientific research, controlling the environment you are in is paramount to consistent and reliable results and manufacturing.

The modern cleanroom was invented by American physicist Willis Whitfield. Whitfield designed his cleanroom with a constant, highly filtered air flow to flush out impurities. Within a few years of its invention in the 1960s, Whitfield’s modern cleanroom spawned a revolution in high tech manufacturing.

Cleanrooms can be very large. Entire manufacturing facilities can be contained within a cleanroom with factory floors covering thousands of square meters. They are used extensively in semiconductor manufacturing, biotechnology, the life sciences, and other fields that are very sensitive to environmental contamination. There are also modular cleanrooms.

In the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors, control of microorganisms is important, especially microorganisms likely to be deposited into the air stream from skin shedding.

How do you keep a Cleanroom clean?

Besides regular cleanroom cleaning and maintenance, once a cleanroom is established, personnel must wear special apparel when entering the cleanroom, in order to maintain its particle levels and not generate more particles.

What do you wear in a Cleanroom?

Disposable cleanroom apparel is a popular choice because you don’t have to launder the clothing, you can just toss it out and use a fresh new set, saving time and money.

Disposable Coveralls

Disposable Coveralls help provide overall protection from chemicals and particles in cleanrooms, laboratories, production environments, and more. They also greatly reduce particles generated from skin shedding and personal clothing.

Disposable Coveralls come with attached hood and boot configurations lending themselves to Cleanroom uses, offering more complete covering and protection.

Cleanroom Gloves

Wearing disposable gloves in cleanrooms are required to prevent contamination. Special Cleanroom Gloves are clean-processed and designed to meet the demands of pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotech manufacturers in controlled environments, as well as professionals in lab environments. Cleanroom Gloves are designed to protect both the personnel and the products being made/handled. Wearing Cleanroom Gloves minimizes sub-micron particle contamination of the product or process from the operator’s hands.

Cleanroom Gloves serve a critical function inside a cleanroom or controlled-environment ensuring product quality and safety.

Disposable Shoe Covers & Disposable Boot Covers

Keeps floors clean and safe and prevents tracking dirt and particles into the cleanroom. Wearing shoe covers are essential to maintaining a cleanroom environment.

Cleanroom Face Masks

People are a significant source of contamination in Cleanrooms. Having the right mask for the job, can make a critical difference. Cleanroom Face Masks are used in many different industries and controlled environments, including laboratories, research facilities, aerospace, and semiconductor industries.

Cleanroom Face Masks provide comfort with excellent filtration to avoid contamination in Cleanrooms. Cleanroom Face Masks are engineered for protection against the entry of particulates into a cleanroom or other controlled environments.

Disposable Bouffants & Beard Covers

Disposable Bouffant Caps are worn on the head to provide defense against contamination from hair while remaining comfortable to wear. Bouffant Caps are light weight, strong, durable, and non-linting caps. Keeps hair out of your eyes and out of your work area. These tear resistant bouffant caps are ideal for clean rooms and other sensitive environments.

Disposable Beard Covers are necessary items to have in stock in plants, manufacturing, etc. and are often required by the FDA. After use, employees can simply throw them away. Made of lightweight polypropylene beard covers are comfortable and cool enough for employees to wear all day.

Adhesive Mats in Cleanrooms

Adhesive mats are also used in Cleanrooms. While not an apparel item, adhesive mats play a vital role. Placed on the floor at traffic entrances and exits, this adhesive film instantly captures dirt and particles from the bottom of shoes and equipment wheels, helping to keep the floors clean and maintain the clean environment.

With the right disposable apparel from head to toe, you can prevent contamination in your cleanroom and clean environments and keep your cleanroom operating at the right state, guaranteeing reliable performance for your applications or testing.

If you have questions about cleanroom disposable apparel, feel free to give us a call at 800-899-1255 or email us at info@harmonycr.com.