There are many complexities around cleanroom disinfectants and/or cleaning agents when both viable and non-viable contamination must be considered. Greg Heiland, president and CEO of Valutek, Phoenix, and director of the Global Society for Contamination Control (GSFCC), explains that, where viable contamination is an issue, organisms can find ways to “outsmart” the cleaning agent, so disinfectants are typically rotated every 30 days. Perhaps in part because organisms are adaptable, the emphasis is on guidance documents. So, for example, ASTM E26142 includes considerations in selection of disinfectants for cleanrooms and recommendations for appropriate test methods rather than “musts” and “must nots.”
Kevina O’Donoghue, microbiologist at Micro Matters, Galway, Ireland, comments that while she is not aware of a requirement to use only a narrow range of cleaning agents, chlorine-based cleaning agents predominate “due to their high efficacy for cleaning everything.” O’Donoghue adds that her current cleaning programs designed for individual companies involve cleaning cleanrooms, choosing disinfectants, and putting in place an effective cleaning plan. This involves “choosing the correct disinfectant, rotation pattern, frequency of use, and evaluating the current environmental monitoring plan as it relates to the type of contamination present in your cleanroom. In other words, it is specific for you.”
O’Donoghue states, “There is lack of knowledge surrounding the use of and rotation of correct disinfectants. When asking people who work in cleanrooms why they use a certain disinfectant, the most common reply is ‘because the SOP says to’ or ‘another company uses them and says they are great’. There is a lack of awareness as to why we need to choose and rotate disinfectants correctly—not just to meet regulations.”
This cleanroom tip was taken from “Chemicals in Cleanrooms” which appeared in the April 2013 issue of Controlled Environments.