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    Four Steps to Close the Cleanliness-Comfort Gap in Cleanroom Apparel

    There are trade-offs between cleanliness and comfort when it comes to cleanroom apparel. The substrate materials that are most effective at encapsulating operator-generated contaminants can be hot and uncomfortable for operators to wear. The cleanest apparel is ineffective if the operator unzips a little, lowers the face cover, or rolls up a sleeve because they are hot or the material restricts their movement too much. 


    Cleanroom Apparel Selection Fundamental Series - Part 3



    How do you keep operators comfortable in caps, face covers, and garments that are designed NOT to be breathable?  

    We’ll review four steps to close the gap between cleanliness and comfort for the best outcome. 

    1. Address Operator Comfort in Your Internal Specifications and Involve Operators in the Selection Process

    Let’s face it, wearing gloves, gowns, bouffant caps, masks, and beard covers are restrictive and uncomfortable. Cleanroom operators are also limited in the type of clothing, makeup, accessories, and other items they can wear in a cleanroom.

    Shouldn’t they have a say in the products they are required to wear?

    The answer is yes. Involving operators in the process is the first step to selecting the apparel that meets your internal specifications for cleanliness while keeping their comfort a top priority. Implementation and adherence to product use requirements are more successful when cleanroom operators have the opportunity to contribute their input during apparel selection.

    2. Train Operators in Donning and Gowning.

    Contamination generated by operators is a significant risk if apparel is not donned and worn properly throughout the shift. Having a training program in place to teach operators how to don and wear apparel along with why the practice is important helps improve outcomes through adoption.

    For best practices, IEST publishes recommended practices for establishing personnel procedures and developing training programs in IEST-RP-CC027


       Explore and Download the Cleanroom Gowning Procedure Guide for More Information


    3. Add Undergarments to Your Specifications

    During your internal specification process, work with your operators to test what type of undergarments are the coolest, most comfortable, and least restrictive when worn under cleanroom garments. For example, cleanroom operators may be more comfortable in woven, reusable surgical scrubs under coveralls, gowns, or lab coats than in their various weights and fits of street clothes.

    Selecting lightweight scrubs has the added benefit of reducing the burden of cleanroom apparel to encapsulate particles from fibrous fabrics common in street clothes like wool, fleece, and chenille.

    4. Consider Cleanroom Temperature for Comfort in Your Facility’s Operating Procedures

    It’s simple but keeping your cleanroom cooler for operators wearing apparel that can be hot will increase compliance with proper wear for the entire shift. Along with apparel selection and comfort testing, the operators involved in specification can test and provide feedback on comfortable temperatures.

    Your operators are key decision-makers.

    These four points all require operator involvement and input into the specification and selection process. Since they need to wear often hot and restrictive apparel, comfort from the operator’s perspective is a crucial factor in maintaining your facility’s cleanliness standards.

    Prioritizing comfort is an often overlooked variable that can have profound impacts on yield, compliance, and success in any cleanroom operation. 


    Explore More Sources:

    Cleanroom Gowning Procedure

    Cleanroom Apparel Selection Fundamentals: What You Need to Know

    Cleanroom Apparel - All You Need to Know [Video]

    Cleanroom Apparel Best Practices [Video]

    Disposable Apparel - Comparison of Substrate Materials [Video]

    Valutek’s Cleanliness Classifications

    IEST Recommended Practice-CC027: Personnel Practices and Procedures in Cleanrooms and Controlled Environments





    Valutek is one of the first and few manufacturers to offer a full product portfolio of best-in-class cleanroom products. Since 1988, our controlled environment consumables are helping leading organizations operate their cleanrooms in a consistently stable state.