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cleaning the cleanroom – disposable or reusable mops?

When we think of cleanrooms, the only things that come to our mind are gloves, wipes, and garments. But to keep a cleanroom efficient and functional, one must identify in a proper mopping system based on class 2 category.

Cleanroom cleaning may be a tedious process what with being fully gowned and indulging in a manual task. Different areas need different cleaning methods and contamination that can’t be seen, is particularly challenging to handle.

According to several GMP guidelines, the cleaning systems, including mops, must already be sterile or sterilisable, resistant to common disinfecting agents and easy to clean. They must meet purity requisites and must not hamper the production process or the product produced.

A mop cleaning system must ensure reduced costs while maintaining the required environmental standards. With two types of mop cleaning systems – disposable and reusable, it’s always a tussle between which one is better suited for your cleanroom environment.

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Disposable mops are hassle free to use. They’re used to clean certain areas and are then downgraded to be used in less critical areas or discarded away. By sampling metrics of the area cleaned, it is validated if the area is sterile.

Disposable mops, in such cases, provide consistent performance and since they are less likely to be exposed to variable contaminants and conditions, their validation process is simplified.

Disposable mops ensure high efficacy. They reduce the risk of cross contamination and ensures that there is no contamination in the cleanroom environment at the end of a session

Disposable mops may reduce cross contamination, but they do not come cheap.

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Reusable mops too are required to undergo initial testing to see if they match the environment and application requirements. But with reusable mops, there are long term risks that must be considered.

There is no way for a laundry to know which contaminants a reusable mop has been exposed to. Also, with each wash and reuse, the quality of a reusable mop will eventually be degraded.

The quality and performance of reusable mops deviates over time from its initial performance projection because conditions (surfaces, frequency, etc.) for each consumer are different. This can put the customer’s cleanroom at risk and this risk can only be assessed through periodic revalidation.

Reusable mops are cost-effective, but should meet all the validation requirements, must be barcoded and their efficacy must be regularly tested as the autoclave or irradiation cleaning process could render some materials brittle and wear the mop out sooner than predicted.

To choose mops, one must consider coverage, cleanliness of fibres and particles, ease of use, compatibility with the selected disinfectants, type of floor, amount of residue needed to be removed, packaging and cost.

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