How "clean rooms" are turned into "cleanrooms"
When manufacturing various products, many industries want them to be done in the in the cleanest of places with as minimum contamination as possible, especially when even the smallest of contaminated particles can hurt the manufacturing process.
Whether it is the food industry that provides us meat prepared in a contamination-free environment to give us peace of mind while being free of bacteria, to the medical industry procuring medical equipment while ensuring that impurities and defects on the products are avoided as much as possible, cleanrooms serve a major purpose here in ensuring that contamination of any sort is controlled all the way down to the molecular level.
To that end, cleanrooms are always monitored vigorously. They are created with strict adherence to protocol and methods, while also having the highest standards when it comes to its own maintenance. Spills, leaks, foreign particles, human dead cells, hair and even air from a different environment can all contribute to contaminating a room, no matter how small.
Therefore, it is imperative to always keep an eye out while using special cleaning products, equipment, and methods, all the while committing properly to maintenance protocols.
How are cleanrooms cleaned?
To ensure the utmost of cleanliness, multiple methods of cleaning and equipment are utilised. Such equipment includes:
As electrical equipment will likely be present in the room, vacuums that can be safely operated around them are ideal. Said vacuums must also be able to capture as much dust, grime, and debris as possible, and as such should include HEPA and other powerful filters.
In addition, mops with low contamination characteristics are important in keeping cleanrooms clean. Daily, a damp mop is enough when cleaning floors. However, once a week, they must use cleanroom specific detergent and distilled water while mopping floors to ensure proper cleanliness.
Damp sponges dipped under distilled water are used to wipe the walls of a cleanroom once per week.
As they say, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Even when the cleanroom has been scrubbed, mopped, and vacuumed vigorously, it does not just end there.
Now, contaminated particles must be prevented from entering the room as much as possible. Otherwise, it would render the cleaning efforts pointless. To ensure this, vigilance and proper actions are important. Such actions include:
Wiping small surface-areas
Using cleanroom wipes and swabs that are low particulate are immensely helpful in keeping small surfaces clean.
Restricting access to the cleanroom
Only certain individuals should be allowed entry into the cleanroom to reduce having to expose the room to outside environments, as well as lessen the chance of contamination from different people.
Removing any foreign contaminants from a person and outside equipment
Utilisation of adhesive mats on the entrances of cleanrooms can help remove particles from shoes and wheels.
Using furniture specially designed for cleanrooms
Chairs, tables, and other furniture can be specially made and designed for use in different types of cleanrooms to reduce the chances of particle generation from potential material deterioration.
Wearing proper apparel, ones ideally designed for cleanrooms
Going in with proper apparel is essential in ensuring that cleanrooms are not contaminated when entered. Personnel who enter are required to wear apparel that covers the body, such as full body suits, gloves, masks, and glasses.
To that end, certain apparels are designed with cleanrooms in mind, such as cleanroom gloves and antistatic finger cots. Boot covers can also have a microporous film layer, which is extremely helpful in reducing the number of particles that footwear may carry.
Apparel must be of the highest quality, as even a miniscule tear can be disastrous in the microscopical level in the particles that might be released in the environment. It should also be noted that apparel quality deteriorates over time and may eventually lead to wears and tears.
Controlling air contaminants
Contaminants found on the air are the hardest to locate and properly contain, especially if a room is especially large. However, certain equipment can help monitor and test air contamination, which can help in locating as well as determining how clean the air is.
For instance, particle counters can test air contamination, while anemometers and thermo anemometers monitor the direction and rates of the air flow. Air measurement meters test the velocity, volume flow, and temperature of the air. Ventilation test instruments can also measure temperature, while also measuring humidity and carbon dioxide.
In other words, to ensure that as much ground in the room is covered, multiple types of equipment are used for monitoring purposes.
Cleaning and properly maintaining the cleanroom takes a lot of effort, and for good reason. As cleanrooms differ in size, the scope of the cleaning will differ as well, but the end goal of any cleanroom remains the same nonetheless: to be sterile for production of anything that requires such a room, which is a lot more industries than you might think at first.