Presaturated cleanroom wipes make the necessary wiping tasks easier and more effective. Wiping is the most effective method of cleaning surfaces in your cleanroom so they are a key part of your facility’s repeatable and validated processes. Lint-free wipes that are pre-wetted with low surface-tension fluids such as alcohols, efficiently trap and remove particles, oils, and dirt as well as removing residues and breaking down biofilms.
Contaminating particles are bound to your cleanroom surfaces by capillary force. The use of a wipe presaturated with alcohol provides moisture that through capillary hydroscopic force lowers the surface tension of the binding force making it easier and more likely to completely remove the particle. A cleanroom wipe’s ability to trap and remove particles depends on the structure of the wipe and the size of the contaminant.
A study published by The Society for Applied Microbiology in its Letters in Applied Microbiology compared the microbial cross-contamination on surfaces cleaned with dry wipes sprayed with alcohol to those cleaned with presaturated IPA wipes. The study showed that wiping with presaturated wipes minimized the spread of contaminants.
Manually wetting a wipe with a spray bottle makes the cleanroom worker a critical part of the process and one that most certainly means that every wipe is not saturated with the same amount of solution. Applying solution via spray cannot be reproduced.
Also, when separate solutions are used they must be brought separately into the cleanroom creating the need to define, follow, and validate separate logistical processes for the multiple products.
Through use of a high-quality lint-free presaturated wipe using proper wiping techniques, contaminants are removed from hard surfaces and once the wipe is removed from the cleanroom, the critical environment’s efficacy is maintained. The biggest reason that presaturated cleanroom wipes are more effective is because under-saturated wipes do not effectively trap and remove contaminants while over-saturated wipes tend to re-deposit the contaminants on the surface you are cleaning. Prewetted wipes have the right amount of fluid making them the most effective wiping tools.
In addition to being the most effective cleaning tools, presatured wipes save money and time because they:
- reduce solvent use from 15 to 50% depending on the method of saturation
- help your cleanroom stay within emission limits and avoid penalties
- are only one product, the presaturated wipe, that needs to be qualified, validated, and written into the cleanroom’s SOP compared to two products (wipe and solution)
- increase productivity and compliance because of convenience
- are more consistently repeatable than using a dry wipe with separate solvent
- reduce product contamination which improves quality.
One of our top brands offers additional information about why prewetted wipes are more effective and not as expensive as most people think.
Using wetted wipes significantly enhances particle capture and removal. Proper wiping technique is vital to prevent the trapped contamination being re-deposited on a surface.
For the wiping process to successfully decontaminate the surface, it must come into direct contact with the unwanted particles in a consistent and repeatable manner. Areas that are difficult to clean such as where 2 different planes of materials meet or there are indentations or curves should always be cleaned first. Also, if areas are difficult to reach, they should be cleaned first as they often harbor contamination.
Wiping should be begin in the the cleanest area and end in the dirtiest, and/or from the most critical area to least critical area. Typically, this means wiping occurs from top to bottom, from back to front, from driest to wettest. In cabinets and isolators work away from the filters. This ensures that the area “upstream” in the filtered air column receives the most effective cleaning.
Technique is also key to avoid re-depositing the trapped contamination on a surface:
Folding the wipe is the best method to ensure no contaminants are re-deposited on the surface because it:
- promotes use of even pressure across the wipe
- enables use of a clean side of the wipe with every stroke.
Best folding technique to use for cleanroom wiping:
- Fold a wipe in half and then half again to create 8 clean sides for wiping.
- Pick up the quarter-folded wipe at the open edges grasping the unfolded edges between the thumb and forefinger to ensure that you can hold the open edges away from the surface as you wipe.
- As you wipe, place equal pressure using the edge of your hand with fingers together then pull across the surface as you angle your hand slightly to keep the wipe’s folded edge in consistent contact with the surface.
- At the end of each stroke, lift so that contaminants are removed from the surface.
- Before making the next stroke, flip or refold the wipe to expose a clean surface.
In addition to using technique to ensure good contact with the surface, it is vital to ensure that no area of the surface is missed. Wiping in straight lines with overlapping strokes helps to cover all areas completely. Each stroke should overlap the previous by 10 to 25%.
In conclusion, the hand-wiping of surfaces and equipment is an integral part of the manufacturing process in many cleanrooms. Cleaning and disinfection in a pharma cleanroom and many other controlled environments are critical processes to protect patient safety and product quality. More effective and consistent hand cleaning and disinfection will result in greater consistency, quality and safety in the overall process and the resulting product.
Using presaturated cleanroom wipes offers many benefits to critical environments. Talk with our cleanroom consultants to about what wipes and solvents work best for your protocols. We offer free samples to ensure that your presaturated wipes work well for your facility and staff.