Keeping cleanrooms contaminant-free is a fundamentally crucial goal. When contaminants enter a cleanroom, it can cost a significant amount of money to remediate the facility. In extreme cases, the cost of a fast-spreading fungal, viral or bacterial infection can be human lives.
What is a cleanroom?
Cleanrooms are designed to prevent particle entry, purge and filter air, provide different areas for different levels of cleanliness, and isolate spaces and air pressure as needed. However, the design of the cleanroom is not enough to keep it clean.
Why is a consistent gowning procedure important?
Some of the biggest contaminators in a cleanroom are people. Without a strict and consistent gowning and degowning procedure, you risk undoing all your cleanroom cleaning process does to protect your critical environments.
Everyone entering a cleanroom must understand the importance of following the procedures put in place to keep cleanrooms safe and free from contamination. The first step is a detailed plan for gowning.
Cleanroom Gowning Procedure: Best Practices
Covering Up (Gowning) Steps
Prepare for cleanroom gowning:
- Remove jewelry, makeup, heavy coats, sweatshirts, and other "extra" items
- Check that the tacky mat is fresh: if not, slowly pull it up toward the center and replace it with a clean tacky mat.
- Step on the tacky mat three times, rotating to ensure your entire shoe contacts the mat.
- Inside the room, prepare all the materials you'll need.
As you gown, take a "top-down" approach, starting at your head and working your way down.
- Put on a cap and beard cover.
- Check to make sure all hair is covered.
- Select, inspect, clean, and then put on safety glasses or goggles.
- Put on one layer of gloves (this set of gloves is considered your "gowning gloves" set).
- Put on a coverall gown.
- Ensure that the gown never touches the floor by gathering leg and arm cuffs and then releasing them one at a time.
- If a separate hood is part of the gown, tuck the shoulder panels inside and under the gown before you zip.
- Don shoe covers one at a time as you step over the line or bench. Note: Take extreme care to avoid contaminating the room's clean side with any contact from the dirty side.
- Put on the second pair of gloves over the first and stretch them over the gown sleeve cuffs.
Now, you're ready to enter the cleanroom, but first, follow these steps:
- Use hand sanitizer or another cleaning agent approved by your employer.
- Enter the air shower and use it until it turns off, making sure to turn so the air can get to every spot.
- Enter cleanroom.
Cleanroom Protocol for De-gowning: Best Practices
- Remove boot or shoe covers. If they are to be used again, store them in the designated container or bag.
- If you're wearing two sets of gloves, discard the outer pair. Otherwise, remove gloves last.
- De-gown by removing the coverall gown. Hang in the approved area or discard.
- Remove eyewear and place it in the proper storage container.
- Remove hood and place in an approved area, or discard.
- Exit the gowning room and enter the antechamber.
- Remove and discard the face mask.
- Remove and discard the cap.
- Remove and discard the inner pair of gloves.
- Place disposable items and recyclable items into the appropriate receptacles.
Helpful Cleanroom Resources
Use this Pegasus Building Services cleanroom cleaning guide for step-by-step instructions to maintain your cleanroom properly. You'll also find several handy tips to keep the process streamlined and straightforward.