The Science of Cleanroom Wiper Usage

Wrong way to wipe

Our cleanrooms, laboratories, and other controlled environments routinely offer a broad range of cleaning, disinfecting, and decontaminating equipment such as mops and mats, and consumables, including sprays, swabs, and the ever-popular wipers. But the availability of such tools is, in itself, not sufficient to ensure sterility and hygiene. The missing component? An understanding of best practices in usage. Did you know, for instance, that there is a correct way to fold a wiper in order to maximize cleaning efficiency? And efficiency is not solely about ridding the cleanroom of pathogens: it’s also about cost – both to your organization and to the planet. After all, following the correct procedure for wiper use will not only result in fewer wipes being used, thereby keeping inventory costs down, but will also lead to less waste in our landfills. But what is the correct procedure in wiper usage? Let’s examine it step-by-step…

Proper Wiper Usage

Unlike the sponges, cloths, and paper towels we all use in our homes, cleanroom wipers are designed to be used in a very specific way. Having opened one up, the first step is to hold it by its edges and, avoiding contact with any surface, create a neat fold down the middle. Next, rotate the wiper through 90 degrees and fold it in half again so that you now have a total of four usable faces.

Step #2: While it is a natural impulse to address the dirtiest part of the soiled surface first, this approach risks further contamination and wiper waste. Best practices dictate that any area should be cleaned from the least soilage to the most soiled area, using each face of the wiper for one stroke.

Step #3: After the initial stroke, turn the wiper over to use the next face to perform the same operation, making sure to overlap the first stroke to prevent recontamination. Don’t forget: Each stroke should be unidirectional and parallel to the preceding one – never wipe in a circular manner!

Step #4: Refold the wiper so that the used surfaces are enclosed inside it and the remaining two clean faces are revealed. Repeat steps 2 and 3, always remaining vigilant about using overlapping, unidirectional strokes.

Step #5: When all four initial faces have been used, the wiper may be opened up again and refolded such that the unused side now creates an additional four cleaning faces. In this way, a single wiper is sufficient for a total of eight stokes – four per side.

Step 6: Be sure to dispose of the soiled wiper according to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) or other guidelines of your institution or organization.

Proper folder and wiping guide

Our downloadable, illustrated step-by-step guide is an ideal resource for any cleanroom or contamination-controlled environment, and it’s available here. In addition to customer guides that make product selection quick and easy, supplemental brochures and informational posters are also available at our website. Or contact us directly to learn how we can assist you!