Cleanroom microfiber wiper products have been around for a while, but most people do not realize just how revolutionary and useful this technology is.
As with household cleaning, many people still do it the way they always have. And, while it may follow “standard operating procedure”, the benefits of cleanroom microfiber wipes are worth a serious look.
Here is an overview of these amazing cleanroom wipes’ features, benefits,and available formats.
Microfiber cleanroom wipes are used to clean surfaces in diverse industries including compounding pharmacy and pharma manufacturing cleanrooms, medical lab environments, infection control in healthcare facilities, and ESD-sensitive electronics manufacturing and assembly cleanrooms. The microfiber itself is key to delivering the ultra-cleaning benefits that prevent smudging, smearing, and generally spreading contaminants around instead of removing them.
To explain what microfiber is and how it works, let us explain how arachnids, insects, and many other animals including some amphibians and reptiles such as tree frogs and geckos can scale vertical or inverted surfaces, even extremely smooth surfaces such as oily or wet glass windows. These creatures all have sticky pads on their feet that with some differences generally are all hairy nano-structures.
The gecko is the largest animal that can stick to a smooth vertical surface. So let’s take a look at this reptile’s specific very “sticky” foot anatomy. Microscopic hairs, called spatulae, that are about 200 nanometers wide cover the foot surface.
To provide insight into just how “micro” that is, an average strand of human hair is 100,000 nanometers wide so a gecko’s foot microhair is 200/100,000 (.002) of a human hair. The spatulae grow in structures called setae that are basically groups of 1000 hairs. Each square millimeter of a gecko’s foot pad has about 14,000 setae for a total of 14 million spatulae hairs in that tiny area. It can be challenging especially for those more familiar with inches than centimeters to understand how small a square millimeter is. If you are not sure, take a look at these images from an educational site that help to fathom the size of a millimeter.
This dizzying array of microhairs form bonds with atoms at the molecular level giving the gecko its gravity-defying ability to climb. The hairs actually wedge between the atoms of a surface enabling capillary adhesion and exploiting Van der Waals force, a physical force in which very weak electrostatic forces create an attraction that holds two surfaces together. The millions of microhairs attract the climbing surface’s atoms to the gecko’s feet pads enabling it to scamper up slippery surfaces.
Microfiber cloths work the same way to attract and hold dust and dirt particles without adding chemical cleaners. A microfiber cloth’s construction is structured such that particulates and even germs are drawn into the cloth. Adding a small amount of water makes a microfiber cloth’s mechanical adhesive properties stronger.
Clearoom microfiber wipers work the same way. Millions of ultra-tiny threads sweep lint, dust, dirt, grime, oil, spills, and germs up via the adhesive power of van der Waals forces. Once trapped by the threads, the contaminants remain captured within the material.
The size and concentration of the individual microfiber threads determine the adhesion power, but most microfiber cloths and all microfiber cleanroom wipes are constructed with nano-fibers of about 3-5 microns making them perfect for removing microbial contamination in your cleanroom environment. But with viruses being about 0.5 microns, microfiber is not antiviral.
Benefits of Cleanroom Microfiber Wipers
These feats of nano-engineering deliver key benefits that other cleanroom wipes cannot:
- Superior “grab and hold” efficiency of surface contamination
- Removes up to 99.9999999% of surface contamination
- Cleans effectively and efficiently with minimal chemical solutions
- Cleans with lower VOC solutions, even simple water in environments where sterility is not a concern
There are always trade-offs and the one downside to microfiber cleanroom wipes is their higher cost compared to other cleanroom wipe materials. However, when you factor in the efficient cleaning that saves time for your team and the effective contamination removal that reduces risks especially in healthcare-related environment where stakes are high, the higher cost is likely offset by gains from the microfiber technology. Plus, our low price guarantee on our cleanroom consumables and free samples to try before you buy make using microfiber wipers and excellent choice.
Some of Our Microfiber Wipes
We offer a wide variety of cleanroom wipers made from lint-free microfiber:
- Sterile microfiber wipes – efficient cleaning capabilities and when combined with a sterilant/disinfectant, an excellent choice for healthcare-related critical environments
- Sterile polyamide microfiber wipes – extra thick microfiber construction offers additional scratch protection for highly sensitive surfaces and exceptional fluid absorption
- Sterile nonwoven microfiber wipe – the cleanest non-woven wipes for the most critical areas
- Sterile presaturated microfiber wipe – cleanest presaturated IPA wipe with the benefits of knowing your wiping is using the optimal saturation rate.
Talk with our cleanroom consultants about the right cleanroom wipes for your applications throughout your controlled environment facility. Ask for free samples to try the wipes before you buy.