Properly Selecting and Using a Cleanroom Vacuum

What you need to know about one of the most important pieces of equipment in your cleanroom.

We recently posted a comparison to help you choose between a central and portable vacuum system for your cleanroom. Once you decide which system is right for you, there are a few more things to know about picking out your vacuum.

Crucial Elements of the Equipment

The absolute first thing you must ensure is that your vacuum cleaner is HEPA-filtered. This is the only way to know that 99.97% of particles down to and including 0.3 microns are collected and retained.

Another critical piece of the filtration system is when the HEPA filter goes in. It should be installed after the motor to filter the exhaust stream. The commutator and carbon brushes in the motor generate dust; if the exhaust stream isn’t filtered, that dust will be released into the room.

You will also need a multi-stage, graduated filtration system. This uses a series of finer filters to trap and retain particles moving through the system. It will also protect the HEPA filters from blockage and excessive wear and tear.

The filters should be oversized to slow airflow and optimize the air-to-cloth ratio. The vacuum will be able to collect large volumes of debris over long periods of time with minimal maintenance this way.

The unit itself should be constructed of non-particle-generating materials. Stainless steel vacuums, for example, should have smooth hoses and attachments so personnel may quickly wipe down and decontaminate equipment.

Another important component of your selection process is the manufacturer. Select one that offers a complete line of vacuums that are specifically designed for cleanroom applications. These manufacturers will offer other essentials: FDA-approved hoses, cleanroom-packaged vacuums, explosion-proof vacuums, and wet/dry vacuums.

Keeping it Clean

Once you have the right unit(s) for your controlled environment, there are things you can do to maintain optimal cleanliness:

  • Educate your staff on proper use of the equipment as well as protocol for hygiene
  • Maintain your equipment with regular cleaning and checkups on all the parts
  • Develop a schedule and enforce it to ensure comprehensive vacuuming of the entire facility after each shift

Vacuums are a key piece of keeping a cleanroom clean and compliant. When it’s time for validation, certification, or expansion of your cleanroom, choose Gerbig Engineering Company. We have a solid reputation and understanding of the industry. Call us at 888-628-0056 or email

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