If you’re working in a cleanroom, it’s a constant effort to keep the workspace as pristine as possible. Unfortunately, people are the biggest source of contaminants in cleanrooms. As such, it’s crucial we wear cleanroom clothing in these highly cleaned areas. You won’t see any scientists wearing sneakers and an old shirt while conducting their work in the cleanroom, you can be sure of that!

Sterile clothing is used in cleanrooms to ensure particle and microbiological levels are kept below the limits for the chosen grade of area. This should be straightforward, but unfortunately some garments simply can’t provide the amount of sterility necessary in an environment such as this.

What is cleanroom clothing?

There are a few things that those working in cleanrooms can wear with no issue. Standard cleanroom apparel can be as simple as a set of coveralls, gloves and goggles. Hoods with ties, boots, lab coats, or sleeves depending on the size of the room or experiment are all appropriate kinds of cleanroom clothing.

The important thing to remember is sterility. Having a lab coat that one has been wearing through the halls will not do in a cleanroom. The lab coats, hoods, gloves and other clothing provided in the cleanroom sometimes comes packed in sterile bags, to be opened only by the person wearing them that day. This cleanroom apparel will usually have gone through a rigorous cleaning regime before being packed in the cleanroom. They are also to be put on in a sterile environment, so as not to get them contaminated.

The barrier performance of the clothing is important as well. With disposable clothing, the user will have no issues with recontamination. This is because the user will more than likely throw the clothing away after its use in the cleanroom as opposed to re-wearing it. Should the user re-wear it, the opportunity for tears in the fabric and contamination rise exponentially. On the other hand, thicker material gloves and suits can be re-worn and will have less chance of seal breakage. These are articles that would require extensive cleaning after each use.

What factors should be considered when selecting cleanroom garments?

Overall, the type of work you are performing will weigh heavily on the sterile clothing chosen. The clothing will have to mesh well with the actions you are performing. If you require more precision, gloves with higher tactile sensitivity and dexterity will be required. If you’re working with highly sensitive items, or dangerous goods, then more precautions should be in place and clothing regarded as ‘more sterile’ should be worn. The make of the clothing is important too. Always be sure to purchase your sterile clothing from a trusted manufacturer. This ensures your cleanroom clothes meet industry standards as well as any specific requirements you may have depending on what environment you will be working in.

Having the right clothing for the task at hand makes the task that much simpler. Don’t risk contamination, instead get the right gear for the job.