4 Guidelines to Proper Use of a Face Mask in a Cleanroom

The purpose of wearing a face mask in a controlled environment is to prevent contaminants from entering the space through a personnel’s nose or mouth. However, incorrectly using a mask can increase the risk of transmission rather than minimize it.

It is therefore paramount that you understand how to correctly use and breathe in a face mask. Here are 4 important guidelines to follow:

  1. Begin and end with proper hygiene. To avoid the risk of contamination, always thoroughly wash your hands with antibacterial soap before you put your mask on. If soap is unavailable, use an alcohol disinfectant. If you feel that the mask has become contaminated at any point during its use, leave the room and take it off. Be sure to completely wash your hands again after touching it, before putting on a new one.
  1. Cover both your mouth and nose. A properly-fit mask will cover both your nose and your mouth, not just your mouth.
  1. Check for leakages. Once the mask is affixed over both your mouth and nose, check the sides to ensure that no air is escaping. In some cases, you can conform the mask to fit around your face.
  1. Breathe the right way. The correct way to breathe in a face mask is in through your nose and out through your mouth. The hair inside your nose catch particles as you breathe in, protecting you from risking the particles going into your lungs as they would with mouth inhalation. Exhaling through your mouth allows you to release your air quickly and comfortably.

All rules and protocols for working in a cleanroom are deliberate and necessary. It’s why cleanroom validation and certification are essential. If you need these services, Gerbig Cleanrooms is a long-standing team of experts who will deliver all the appropriate tests, plans, reports, and tools to complete your project. We also manufacture AireCell cleanrooms in hardwall and softwall styles. Contact us to help you maintain compliance: 888-628-0056; info@gerbig.com.

Sustainable Cleanroom Practices: Washable Sticky Mats

Efforts to go green in a controlled environment range from large to small. Something as simple as using a washable sticky mat can have a huge effect.

Cleanrooms require a large amount of energy and resources to function properly, which can make it difficult for environmentally-conscientious managers to make their facilities more eco-friendly. We’ve discussed some ideas about recycling and modular cleanrooms as they relate to going green, but there are certainly smaller-scale steps you can take, too. One example is considering washable sticky mats.

Sticky mats remove particulate matter form casters, wheel carts, and shoes before they enter a controlled environment. The mats come in various sizes and styles. Peel up sticky mats are sometimes changed as often as every couple of hours. The amount of polyethylene one facility is putting into a landfill adds up quickly with pull up mats. Washable mats, however, are easy to care for, very effective, and last years.

Washable sticky mats are changed as often as needed depending on the number of people who walk over it and the overall cleanliness of the area. You don’t need a frame for a sticky mat, but it does make it easier to remove the mat without leaving adhesive residue on the cleanroom floor. Frames can simply be laid on the floor, held in place with double-sided tape, or even permanently affixed to the floor.

Cleaning this kind of mat is simple. You mop the top of the mat using a high-quality detergent, squeegee the excess water off, and then when the mat has finished drying, it will be rejuvenated. The mats are resistant to most chemicals, unaffected by gamma or x-rays, and with proper maintenance, will regenerate 100% for 2-4 years.

In addition to the eco-friendly benefits, you save money reusing these mats. Every step you take towards a green cleanroom, no matter how small, has a significant impact on your footprint.

When it’s time for cleanroom validation or certification, Gerbig provides all the services and expertise you need. We’ve been working with cleanrooms for thirty years, and we know what you need to be compliant. Gerbig also manufactures softwall and hardwall cleanrooms. Let us know how we can help you succeed: 888-628-0056; info@gerbig.com

Chemicals to Avoid when Cleaning Cleanrooms

When choosing your cleaning solvents, ensure you’re not using solutions with either of these agents.

It should go without saying that keeping a cleanroom and cleanroom components clean is a top priority for any industry. The obstacle is that if you can’t physically clean surfaces, which is the most fastidious yet successful method, you have to choose chemicals, all of which leave behind some sort of residue. The key, then, is to choose a chemical that leaves the “right” kind of residue behind.

In looking at your many options, there are chemicals that you should certainly avoid. MaryBeth DiDonna wrote an article for Controlled Environments, “Choosing Your Cleaning Chemicals,” that offers guidance on this. She includes the expertise of Dr. Robert Baier, head of the biomaterials program at the University of Buffalo, and Ed and Barbara Kanegsberg of BFK Solutions in Pacific Palisades, CA.

Baier warns against silicones because they’re strong surface-active materials. He’s quoted in the article: “If you have a small contaminant in one corner of a table, by the next week the entire table will be covered [along with] anything on it. It will change the surface properties of a material like silicon or germanium or anything else you may be working on. In, say, an integrated circuit fabrication facility — everything will be siliconized and nearly impossible to be removed.”

The other caution that experts mention in the article is ultrapure water.

Ed Kanegsberg explains that this level of purity acts both as a strong base and strong acid simultaneously, looking to extract ions wherever possible. Barbara Kanegsberg explains where ultrapure water finds the ions:

“In part from the thing that you’re trying to wash or rinse, whatever you’re trying to do. That doesn’t mean that we should be using impure water, but it’s a matter of being mindful of what the chemical is. And water in itself, depending on the situation, can be a rather harsh chemical in terms of the quality of the surface.”

So when you’re doing the research to find the best chemical solvents for your facility, heed the warnings to avoid silicones and ultrapure water. When it’s time for cleanroom validation or certification, turn to a company with the right experience and knowhow. Gerbig Engineering Company has been a trusted expert on cleanrooms for thirty years. We offer many services for cleanroom validation, certification, and construction. Contact us at 888-628-0056 or info@gerbig.com.

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