Acceptable Cleanroom Materials

October 31, 2022

Keeping a cleanroom free from contamination requires attention to every last detail, including the materials that are allowed to be brought in and used in the cleanroom. Without a holistic, 360-degree approach to controlling and monitoring every aspect of the cleanroom, it is much more likely to become compromised, which can put personnel at risk, along with testing samples, products and any of the other critical processes that occur in the cleanroom.

The design and infrastructure of the cleanroom is only the beginning. In order to confidently meet cleanroom standards, the facility must maintain the correct processes and practices — including acceptable cleanroom materials. Here, we will go into further detail on cleanroom suitable materials and also take a look at what should never be brought into a cleanroom.

What Materials Are Suitable in a Cleanroom?

In order to maintain the integrity and safety of the cleanroom, personnel must adhere to a strict list of acceptable materials. These materials must generally be designed to prevent or inhibit the introduction of potential contaminants, particularly those from personnel, such as hair, bacteria and skin cells. Such materials include:

  • Personal protective and safety equipment, such as:
    • Hair coverings
    • Face masks
    • Gloves
    • Gowns
    • Shoe covers
  • Cleaning materials — which must meet cleanroom standards — including:
    • Wipes
    • Mops
    • Disinfectants
    • Vacuum cleaners
    • Low-lint towels
  • Work materials that meet cleanroom standards, including:
    • Notebooks
    • Indelible pens
    • Cleanroom paper
    • Tape that does not leave residue when removed
    • Containers
  • Construction materials exposed to the room
    • Smooth, corrosion-resistant wall and ceiling materials
    • Anti-static, corrosion- and impact-resistant hydrophobic flooring
    • Air-tight windows with no sill or inclined sill to prevent dust and water accumulation
    • Doors without crevices that can ideally be interlocked
    • Flame-retardant, waterproof, mold-free two-part solvent/oil-based epoxy paint
    • Aluminum, plastic, stainless steel (preferably 300 series) and chrome plated metal

What Materials Shouldn’t Be Allowed in Cleanrooms?

Conversely, personnel should never introduce potential contaminants into cleanrooms. Materials that should never be allowed in cleanrooms include:

  • Food
  • Beverages
  • Mints
  • Gum
  • Jewelry
  • Painted or fake nails
  • Makeup
  • Cologne or perfume
  • Cardboard
  • Wood
  • Particle board
  • Residential cabinetry
  • Galvanized steel
  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Leather
  • Velcro
  • Door sweeps and gaskets

Technical Safety Services is a testing and certification leader, performing services for controlled environments, including cleanrooms, to determine whether the cleanroom is in compliance.

These services include viable environmental monitoring, which tests ambient cleanroom air, as well as cleanroom surfaces, to determine if any bacterial and/or fungal contamination is present. Following the steps in this article will help to ensure that cleanrooms remain safe and compliant. To learn more, contact us today.

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