Cleaning a cleanroom sounds redundant, but routine maintenance and cleaning are a big part of what keeps these environments compliant. Of course, cleaning procedures will differ according to required cleanliness levels, processes occurring in the cleanroom, and the individual company. However, experts agree that there are some universal steps to follow.
1. Establish Environmental Monitoring (EM) and identify viable and/or nonviable contaminates.
2. Using the results from the EM program, select cleaning chemicals and disinfectants. Choose appropriate cleaning materials for your specific class of cleanroom. This includes everything from buckets to vacuums. Remember that ESD materials are available for those environments concerned with static discharge. Test that all solvents and materials perform as expected.
3. Establish Standard Operational Procedures. The Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST) is a great resource for protocol. Create your SOP based on your needs. You want to verify your protocol once it is written and make any necessary changes.
4. Train your cleaning staff. It is important to know in what order and fashion all cleaning responsibilities should be done. Some things to detail:
- Always empty the trash first
- General purpose equipment should be cleaned outside the cleanroom and covered with clean bagging material
- Know and follow instructions for the proper amounts, methods, and allotted time to use for all cleaners and solvents. It is important to use cleaning agents exactly the way they are intended for your specific needs.
- Extra caution is necessary when cleaning delicate ceiling HEPA filters
- The 4 main aspects to a cleanroom – the ceiling, walls, surfaces, and floors – each requires very specific cleaning processes. Tools and cleaning agents will vary for each.
5. Self-audit to ensure that all protocols are followed and remain appropriate.
Since most surfaces are cleaned with hand wipes, one tip Karen Henke offers in Controlled Environment’s “Proper Maintenance for Compliance” is to implement wipe dispensers. This ensures easy storage and distribution of the wipes while eliminating cross contamination.
Remember, these are basic guidelines; each organization’s specific cleanroom specifications will affect individual protocols. Different areas may require different procedures as well. For example, the cleanliness levels in gowning areas may be less strict but also require more frequent cleaning.
Overall, compliance depends on a properly maintained cleanroom. People along with cleaning agents and materials will impact contamination levels, so it is important to be vigilant about getting it right from the start.
Gerbig Engineering Company manufactures Airecell cleanrooms. Its expert staff also performs cleanroom certification and validation. For questions about cleanroom equipment or services, call: 888-628-0056 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.