Cleaning your Cleanroom: How Often Should You Have Your Cleanroom Cleaned?

Cleaning your Cleanroom: How Often Should You Have Your Cleanroom Cleaned?

After you’ve dedicated your time and resources to outfit your cleanroom with the best materials and equipment, you want to make sure to maintain an exceptionally clean environment so your cleanroom can function at peak performance. A lot of factors go into making sure your cleanroom is as clean as possible, from the products you use to the staff that use them. No matter what class rating your cleanroom has, cleaning your cleanroom will ensure longevity and improve efficiency.

All cleanrooms require continual maintenance to be able to operate their best. Cleanrooms should be cleaned according to a regular schedule, meeting daily and weekly tasks.

 

Industry Standards Vary

Cleanrooms vary widely in use. Manufacturing cleanrooms don’t have the same functions or standards as pharmaceutical or laboratory cleanrooms. Depending on the industry you’re in, your cleanroom will have a specific layout, ISO rating, and cleanliness standard. Therefore, its cleaning schedule and procedure will also differ. Cleanrooms with higher ISO ratings must be kept at much higher levels of sanitation to reduce the chance of interference of minute particles and contaminants. Conversely, cleanrooms with lower class ratings, while they may be less threatened by certain contaminants or smaller particle sizes, still require regular cleaning to maintain standards and efficiency.

 

Prevention is Key

The best way to keep your cleanroom clean is to follow proper sanitation techniques before entering a cleanroom. These include things like washing and drying hands completely, using sterile and not powdered gloves, following the proper gowning procedure for your ISO class, and making sure that all employees have access to garments and tools that fit them.

In a perfect world, we would prevent contamination by introducing zero contaminants into your cleanroom environment. Of course, this is virtually impossible, which is why regular cleaning and maintenance of your cleanroom and its systems is critical.

 

Cleanroom Cleaning Procedure:

Keeping your workspace clean requires diligent adherence to daily and weekly cleaning tasks. Depending on the strictness of your class standard, more rigorous objectives may need to be added, or these tasks will need to be completed more frequently. Whatever your facility requires, create and follow a cleaning schedule that clearly defines all assignments, making them easy to understand and follow. Here are the general cleaning protocols recommended for broad cleanroom needs.

 

Daily

  • Before shift begins, use a damp mop on floors and vacuum to dry.
  • Vacuum all walls using a HEPA filter vacuum.
  • Wash and wipe dry all windows and pass-throughs.
  • At the end of every shift, wipe down all work areas. This may need to occur more frequently with high class standards.
  • Put away products and supplies between shifts to prevent further contamination.

 

Weekly

  • Mop floors with a cleanroom-specific detergent, distilled water, and a HEPA filter vacuum.
  • Wipe walls with a damp sponge and distilled water, then vacuum dry.

 

As Needed

  • Ceiling should be washed with detergent and distilled water to remove any residue or deposits.
  • Using a damp sponge, wipe off all light lenses.
  • Change sticky mats as soon as you notice wear.

Remember, your specific cleanroom may have specialized cleaning requirements. If you can keep and follow methodical cleaning procedures, you can enhance your cleanroom’s ability to serve you and your facility.

 

Cleaning your Cleanroom: What to Know

It’s important to note that even if you follow a regular cleaning schedule, contaminants call still infiltrate your cleanroom and interrupt your processes. Cleaning your cleanroom is more than just the protocol; it also relies on your products, people, and regular performance checks.

 

Products Matter

Cleaning products that are improperly sterilized or unsuitable for cleanroom use can be a cause of contamination. It’s recommended that you use deionized and distilled water for mopping and wiping surfaces and use only cleanroom-specified cleaning agents. All chemicals and solvents for cleaning must be neutral and non-ionic, and also non-foaming so as to avoid buildup on surfaces over time. High ISO class cleanrooms (ISO level 5-7) often require disinfectants to be sterilized before use, further protecting the cleanroom from any contaminants.

Never use scrubs or rags that could shed or corrode surfaces. Instead, only use woven polyester that is specified for cleanroom use. Employ a mopping system that separates dirty and clean water and will not scratch or contaminate the floor or walls. Follow a mopping protocol that efficiently cleans floors without spreading dirty water over cleaned areas.

It’s also a good practice to bring all materials that will be needed — such as brooms, mops, and cleaning agents — into the cleanroom before beginning to clean. This way, once the process is complete, you only need to exit once, reducing the possibility of contamination.

 

Staff Training

All staff members and janitorial personnel should be well-educated on gowning procedures, environmental sterilization practices, and general equipment maintenance. It is important that they have a thorough understanding of the best methods for maintaining the cleanroom’s class standards.

Staff should also know what to do in case of a spill. Tools and cleaning supplies should be accessible, but not out in the open where cross-contamination could occur. Having guides and cleaning checklists posted visibly in the room will help staff maintain a sanitary environment.

 

Regular Checkups

Even if you’re doing everything right, continue to check your systems and air to monitor their quality and maintain particle levels. Air samplers or settle plates can be used to test for organisms and measure particles per cubic feet.

Additionally, regular checkups of your HVAC system will make sure it is maintaining a steady temperature, level of humidity, and consistently changing air to your ISO specifications.

 

Other Factors

Many other variables can impede the cleaning process. Your cleanroom’s layout should enable a uniform changing of air, free of any obstacles that could interrupt airflow. Furniture, cleaning materials, and even personnel can accidentally block HEPA filters that are responsible for cleaning the air, causing contaminants to build up. Instruct staff to maintain clear airways during cleaning or talk with cleanroom design experts if you’re concerned that your structure is not promoting efficiency.

Your cleanroom’s cleaning needs depend on your specific requirements, ISO rating and level of use of your facility. Keeping a regular cleaning schedule, using cleanroom-specific cleaning agents and properly training staff in sanitization techniques will help you protect your cleanroom environment and boost the efficiency of your facility.

If you’re cleaning your cleanroom, and still not getting the results you want, it might be time for a bit of maintenance. Talk to the experts at Angstrom for help making sure everything in your cleanroom is working the way it should.

Everything You Need to Know About Cleanroom Classifications

Everything You Need to Know About Cleanroom Classifications

Cleanroom classification is both the most important and most complicated aspect of cleanroom design, especially for those who are just beginning their cleanroom design or redesign process. Here are some of the most helpful resources that will tell you everything you need to know about different types of cleanroom classifications to make your cleanroom design project a success.

What You Need to Know About Cleanroom Classifications (link: https://angstromtechnology.com/need-know-cleanroom-classifications/)

What You Need to Know About Cleanroom Classifications is the perfect primer on cleanroom classification. It explains the classification systems, how classification relates to industry and application, cleanroom states, how cleanrooms work, and how to build a cleanroom to meet a specific cleanroom classification. If you’re getting started with your cleanroom project and know nothing about classifications, start here.

Understanding Cleanroom ISO Classes (link: https://angstromtechnology.com/understanding-cleanroom-iso-classes/)

This post explains the ISO classification based on the maximum number of particles in the air by particle size for ISO classes 1 through 8. It also explains why ISO classification is so crucial as a standard for controlling the cleanroom environment.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cleanroom Classifications (link: https://angstromtechnology.com/frequently-asked-questions-cleanroom-classifications/)

All the FAQs about classifications are in this blog post: What classification do I need? How are cleanrooms classified? How does classification affect my budget? How are cleanrooms tested? How often do cleanrooms have to be inspected? etc.

How Does Cleanroom Classification Affect Your Cleanroom Budget? (link: https://angstromtechnology.com/cleanroom-classification-affect-cleanroom-budget/)

Cleanroom classification is so critical to cleanroom design and operation, and maintaining the necessary controlled environment to your classification’s standards requires a lot of intentional design choices, equipment, and electricity. So naturally, your classification will affect your budget. This blog breaks down where some of that additional cost will come from as your cleanroom classification increases.

Angstrom Technology can design a cleanroom to meet any cleanroom classification. Contact one of our expert engineers to get started on your design.

Cleanroom Terminology 101

Cleanroom Terminology 101

If you’re new to cleanrooms, the terminology surrounding them might seem like a foreign language, but it’s crucial to understand in order to design and run an effective cleanroom. Here’s a run-down on the most basic terms you need to know when it comes to cleanroom terminology.

What’s a cleanroom?

A cleanroom is a controlled environment that limits contamination and particles, as well as temperature, humidity, static, and other factors, in some cases. Specialized air circulation and filtration systems filter out particles and contaminants from the air. Cleanrooms can be used in a variety of industries and for a variety of applications, including storage, manufacturing, and testing and analysis. Read more about the various types of cleanrooms here.

What’s classification?

Cleanroom classification is a way of identifying the level of contamination control within a cleanroom. The classes are defined by the number of particles of certain sizes that are present in a cubic foot of air within the cleanroom. Cleanrooms are usually classified to either the ISO standard or Federal Standard 209E. Read more about cleanroom classifications here.

What’s ISO?

ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization, which is an international scientific body that creates standards for organizations for manufacturing, organizational success, and workplace conditions, among other things. ISO has created a standard for cleanroom classification that classifies cleanrooms into eight classes. Read more about the cleanroom ISO standards here.

What’s certification?

Certification is a process of testing and verifying cleanroom environmental controls to ensure that they meet the standard required for the industry and the application. This includes testing of the major components including filters, air flow equipment, HVAC, ionization equipment, etc. Read more about cleanroom certification and validation here.

 

Need to learn more about cleanrooms or need help designing one? Contact the cleanroom experts at Angstrom Technology. For more on cleanroom terminology, check out our cleanroom glossary.

Understanding Cleanroom ISO Classes

Understanding Cleanroom ISO Classes

Cleanroom classification can be confusing, especially when there are multiple standards used in multiple industries and even multiple types of cleanrooms, and when there is overlap in those standards. Here we’ll focus specifically on ISO classes: what they are and why they matter.

What are the ISO classes?

The ISO classification system has eight classes, ISO Class 8 being the least controlled and ISO Class 1 being the most controlled.

Maximum Number of Particles in Air by Particle Size

ISO Class ≥ 0.1μm ≥ 0.2μm ≥ 0.3μm ≥ 0.5μm ≥ 1μm ≥ 5μm
ISO 1 10 2 0 0 0 0
ISO 2 100 24 10 4 0 0
ISO 3 1000 237 102 35 8 0
ISO 4 10000 2370 1020 352 83 0
ISO 5 100000 23700 10200 3520 832 29
ISO 6 1000000 237000 102000 35200 8320 293
ISO 7 352000 83200 2930
ISO 8 3520000 832000 29300

 

Why does ISO classification matter?

Most laboratory and cleanroom applications require a controlled environment. The level of control depends on both the industry and the specific application. Cleanroom classes serve as a standard that can be easily referenced for the required level of environmental control. Additionally, they serve as a standard for certification to ensure that a cleanroom meets the proper level of control for the industry and the specific tasks performed in that cleanroom.

To create a cleanroom that meets your required ISO standard, contact Angstrom Technology. For more on cleanroom classifications and standards, including Federal Standard 209E, check out our guide.

When Should you Replace your Cleanroom Tech?

When Should you Replace your Cleanroom Tech?

Cleanroom equipment is expensive, but that’s because it’s high functioning, specialized equipment for an extremely important and sensitive job: maintaining your cleanroom’s integrity and required classification standards. But like all equipment, it breaks down, wears out, and slows down with time. So how do you know when to replace it?

Like your household appliances, your cleanroom equipment will have a general lifespan, after which you should replace it. Here are some general lifespan guidelines for common cleanroom equipment:

Equipment Expected Lifespan
Prefilters 2 months
HEPA filters 7 years
ULPA filters 7 years
HVAC system 10-12 years
Major analyzers/ automated equipment 7-10 years
Fridges/Freezers 5 – 12 years
Fumehoods 20 years
Autoclave 20 years
Centrifuges 7 -10 years
Microscopes 20 years
Microtomes 20 years
Waterbaths 7-10 years
Incubators 7-10 years
Balances 20 years
Warming Plates 10 years

 

You should always replace equipment as soon as something goes wrong with it that’s not repairable or when it becomes inefficient. If you have a piece of equipment that still technically “works” but isn’t performing at top efficiency, the money you think you’re saving by waiting to replace it is just going to be eaten up in energy costs.

No matter your cleanroom needs, Angstrom Technology can meet them with a modular cleanroom.

 

What Not to Wear: Cleanroom Edition

What Not to Wear: Cleanroom Edition

Obviously, your cleanroom’s construction and air filtration system are critical factors in keeping your cleanroom contamination-free, but so is what people wear in the cleanroom. People and fabrics are major sources of contaminants, and it’s crucial your control those sources with proper attire. Here’s what (and what not) to wear in a cleanroom:

Do’s:

  • Hoods
  • Hair Covers
  • Coveralls
  • Intersuits
  • Boots or shoe covers
  • Facial Covers
  • Gloves
  • Frocks

Depending on the classification of your cleanroom, there may be different requirements for the garments you have to wear. For instance, an ISO 3 Class (Fed Std. Class 1) cleanroom will likely require all of the garments listed in the “do’s” above, and will likely require that those garments be changed for new or cleaned ones every time you enter the cleanroom, whereas an ISO Class 5 cleanroom will require most of those garments, to be changed every day, and an ISO Class 8 cleanroom will require only some of those garments and that they be changed every two weeks.

Don’ts:

  • Makeup
  • Long hair (uncovered or not pulled back)
  • Fibrous sweaters or materials that shed
  • Materials that cause static
  • Dirty clothes or shoes
  • Extremely loose or baggy clothing
  • Shorts, tank tops, or other clothing that has cutouts or exposes skin

The “don’ts” here are don’ts because these items can bring contamination into the cleanroom. Dirty clothes and shoes are the most obvious of these contaminators, but a lot of contamination can come from the skin and hair cells we lose every day without us even knowing. Makeup can also shed from the skin and cause contamination, as can the fibers from clothing.

If you’re updating your current cleanroom, or starting from scratch, call the experts at Angstrom Technology.