A Guide to Cleanroom Maintenance and Disinfection
01 February 2024

A Guide to Cleanroom Maintenance and Disinfection

Cleanrooms are critical environments that require consistent and comprehensive cleaning and disinfection processes to maintain the integrity of the controlled environment. The use of cleanrooms spans a wide range of industries, from medical facilities to semiconductor manufacturing plants. As a result, it is essential to understand and implement effective cleaning protocols to ensure a clean, sanitized, and sterile environment for cleanroom maintenance. This guide covers the top contamination found in Cleanrooms, cleaning procedure, and disinfection agents required to maintain a sterile and contaminant-free environment.

Sources of Contamination in Cleanrooms
Cleanrooms are specially designed environments that are controlled to minimize the presence of airborne particles and other contaminants. However, even in the most well-maintained cleanrooms, contamination can occur. Here are sources of contamination in cleanrooms:

Cleaning supplies
Cleaning supplies are an essential component of maintaining a cleanroom environment. However, if not used and stored properly in ways like improper storage, inadequate labeling, improper mixing and more, they can become a source of contamination themselves.

People
Humans are a significant source of contamination in cleanrooms. Even when they wear protective clothing, people shed skin cells, hair, and other particles that can contaminate the cleanroom environment. People can also introduce contaminants from outside the cleanroom, such as dust and dirt on their shoes.

Equipment
Equipment used in cleanrooms can also be a source of contamination. Equipment that is not properly cleaned and maintained can release particles and other contaminants into the air. In addition, equipment that generates heat can create air currents that spread contaminants throughout the cleanroom.

Raw Materials
The materials used in cleanroom processes can also be a source of contamination. Raw materials that are not properly stored or handled can introduce particles and other contaminants into the cleanroom environment.

Airflow
Cleanrooms rely on carefully controlled airflow to maintain a clean environment. However, if the airflow is not properly designed or maintained, contaminants can be carried throughout the cleanroom. In addition, changes in airflow caused by doors opening or closing or equipment being moved can disturb settled particles and cause them to become airborne.

Packaging
The packaging used to transport materials and products into and out of the cleanroom can also be a source of contamination. If the packaging is not properly sealed or has been contaminated during transport, it can introduce particles and other contaminants into the cleanroom environment.

Cleanroom Cleaning Procedure
Cleanroom cleaning procedure involves a series of steps that are followed to ensure the thorough cleaning of the room. The importance of following a strict cleanroom cleaning procedure cannot be overstated. Any contamination in a cleanroom can have serious consequences, leading to product defects, equipment damage, costly rework, and even compromise the safety of personnel.

Cleanroom Cleaning Procedure helps to mitigate such risks by ensuring that the environment is free of contaminants that can cause harm. Furthermore, adherence to a Cleanroom Cleaning Procedure is essential for regulatory compliance. Regulatory bodies such as the FDA, require firms in industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and electronics to meet strict standards for cleanroom cleanliness. Noncompliance can result in significant legal and financial penalties. In summary, Cleanroom Cleaning Procedure is critical for maintaining the integrity of the products or processes being protected, ensuring the safety of personnel, reducing costly rework, and maintaining compliance with regulatory standards.

The following steps are involved in the Cleanroom Cleaning Procedure:

  • Preparation: The cleaning personnel should wear cleanroom-appropriate clothing and equipment, such as gowns, gloves, masks, and hairnets. They should also ensure that all cleaning equipment and supplies are sterile and approved for use in a cleanroom environment.
  • Cleaning: Cleaning of the cleanroom should be done from top to bottom, starting with the ceiling and walls, and then moving on to the floors. A HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner should be used to remove dust, particles, and other contaminants from surfaces. All surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned with an approved cleaning agent to remove any residue.
  • Disinfection: After cleaning, all surfaces and equipment should be disinfected with an approved disinfectant. This step is crucial to eliminate any remaining bacteria or viruses that were not removed during the cleaning process.
  • Drying: After disinfection, all surfaces should be allowed to air dry. Towels should not be used to wipe down surfaces as they can introduce contaminants.
  • Inspection: Once the cleaning and disinfection process is complete, a final inspection should be performed to ensure that the cleanroom is ready for use.

The Bottom Line
Cleanroom contamination can not only be costly but it can be deadly. Using NanoRAD in these environments helps ensure that bacteria and viruses introduced to surfaces are eradicated within minutes with protection lasting for weeks and months depending on the application. Although cleanrooms typically have very low bioburden, it only takes one incident to introduce bacteria, virus or fungus to surfaces leading to contamination. Cleanroom maintenance is important in creating a sterile environment.