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Laboratory Supplies for Your Clean Room Protocol

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Specialty Optical is a well-known supplier of scientific laboratory and cleanroom supplies. Our products are used by schools and labs all over the country. If you are new to the field of cleanrooms, you may be behind the curve relative to the knowledge of your coworkers or fellow students. In this week’s article, we’ll cover some basic cleanroom protocol so you can make sure that any contamination of the cleanroom is not from a simple avoidable mistake. When you are looking for the highest quality cleanroom and laboratory supplies, turn to Specialty Optical. We carry gloves, gowns, ESD supplies, and cleaning supplies to help you maintain a contamination-free laboratory.

Contaminants

Contamination in the world of cleanrooms means even the smallest of impurities on surfaces and materials. Impurities can be from a wide range of particulates including dust, tiny glass splinters, or product residues. One important category of contaminants is pathogens. This category encompasses microorganisms such as fungi, viruses, and bacteria. As they are invisible to the naked eye, you have to use wipes and swabs to ensure you’ve cleaned all your cleanroom surfaces adequately. Besides being invisible, they reproduce quickly, which means you can’t afford to let them sit on any surface. Speed and efficiency are of the essence when dealing with pathogens. Any pathogen left behind will populate on your surface and quickly create an even bigger problem.

Whether it is particles or pathogens you are attempting to control, you might be surprised to learn that one of the biggest factors in the spread, and therefore, the control of these impurities, is human behavior. In this week’s article, we’ll take a closer look at how human behavior affects cleanroom compliance levels and how laboratory supplies from Specialty Optical can help reduce contaminants in your cleanroom environment.

Before You Leave Home

The protocol for entering a cleanroom must begin at home. When you shower before coming to work, be sure to use unscented products. Do not use any makeup because it can flake off and enter the airflow of the room and land on a sensitive surface, and in a cleanroom every surface is a sensitive surface. Do not use any nail polish, after shaves, or hair spray. Only lotions that will help decrease the sloughing off of dead skin are permissible. Do not wear any jewelry. Only smooth wedding rings are allowed. Make sure more than a half an hour has passed since you smoked a cigarette because the particles cling to clothes and hair. Be sure to wear appropriate clothes under your cleanroom garb so that you can be comfortable and can perform your job. Do not wear contact lenses, as they can trap vapors that, if they escape, can contaminate the room.

Dressing

When you are in the dressing room, you need to follow protocol. You’ll need to use hand sanitizer as soon as you enter the room. Put all your personal items in your storage area. Empty your pockets of all items, including keys and phones, and empty your mouth or any gum or sweets. Blow your nose before you get dressed, and wash your hands afterward. A hair net will be put on and put on a facemask, blue side out, and make sure you squeeze the metal around your nose. Put on the intended gowns. Some labs have reusable gowns, while other use disposable gowns. Fully close your gown while still in dressing room. Retrieve shoe covers and make sure you stay within the safe zone once you have shoe covers on. Finally, put on your gloves and use hand sanitizer again if your protocol requires it. You’ll walk on the sticky mats to make sure that no contaminants from the dressing room floor are brought into the clean room.

Clean Room Behavior

How you behave once you have entered the clean room environment every motion you make must be purposeful and performed slowly and carefully. Even the slightest movement creates unseen whirls and jetties in the air. Every motion a person makes sends the air swirling. Just sitting motionless, a person introduces 100,000 particles a minute. These particles are 0.3 microns and bigger. Walking at 2mph introduces 5 million particles a minute and at 5mph a total of 10 million particles per minute are introduced. Additionally, no horseplay or leaning on anything is allowed. Never touch another person, even when transferring an object from person to person.

Take all precautions to avoid contact with anything you absolutely do not need to touch. Personnel must not touch anything that is not work-related. Moving slowly and smoothly is important since moving creates particulate stimulation, which could result in a particle landing on a critical part of an electronic component. Consequently, no quick motions, or horseplay is permitted in a clean room. Removing things from an underlayer or your pocket, for example, is not allowed.

Also, making any motions that require any friction can create an electrostatic discharge so care must be taken when doing anything that involves friction. When using a tool, it must never be placed directly on a surface in the cleanroom but rather placed on a cleaning wipe. Personal gestures such as scratching your nose or your head are also prohibited since they could loosen skin flakes that could become a killer defect causing the failure of a device. A killer, or terminal, defect costs time, money, and damages your reputation. If you find you have touched your nose or skin or any surface in the room that you should not have, you will need to change your gloves. Selecting your cleaning commodities is an essential part of maintaining clear room integrity. Everything from your ball point pen to the cleaning swab must be approved and cleaned before entering the cleanroom. It is far better to follow protocol and use the highest quality cleaning product like those available from Specialty Optical.