What type of clothing should be worn inside a clean room?
What kind of clothing you'll need in a clean room depends on the type of clean room you're entering.
Even clean rooms of the same level will have different features. The appropriate apparel will also change in response to the type of work carried out inside it. Laboratory analysis, for instance, might require different apparel than a clean room used for assembling electronics.
(Learn more about Addressing Safety Challenges in Clean Room Environments)
Clean Room Standards
At a broad level, the different classes of clean room reflect how clean these spaces need to be kept. In general, the cleaner the room must be kept, the stricter the clothing standards for those who work inside that area.
Consider, for example, the clothing requirements for the cleanest of clean rooms (Class 1 - ISO 03):
- Bouffant hat
- Intersuit under coverall
- Boot covers
The standard also recommend changing garments with every entry into the space.
Now, compare those to the least restrictive clean rooms (Class 100,000 - ISO 8):
- Bouffant cap
- Frock or lab coat
- Shoe cover
- Face mask (optional)
- Gloves (optional)
For areas in this category, the recommendation is to change these garments at least twice a week.
Other Clothing Considerations
What type of clothing you'll be using in your facility will also depend on a few other factors, including:
- Whether the apparel is reusable or not
- Worker comfort and serviceability
- Disposal procedures
- Laundry and PPE, including the need for santizing or sterilization
(Find out How to Properly Launder and Clean FR Protective Clothing)
Getting More Information
With so many variables, it can be challenging to make the right decision when purchasing clean room apparel. Thankfully, there is excellent information available to help you make an informed selection.
The best source of information will be the standards themselves. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the primary authority for clean room classification. ISO-14644-1 classifies clean rooms based on their size and the number of airborne particles per cubic meter of air.
In your clean room research, you might come across the United States Federal Standard 209-E (FED-STD-209E). This standard also provides standards for cleanroom and, while it is still widely used, it was officially cancelled on November 29, 2001.
If you're still unsure, you can also consult manufacturers and suppliers of clean room apparel. They will have the experience and expertise required to help you find the right product for your facility.
Written by Henry Skjerven
Mr. Skjerven has consulted professionally for over 27 years, with extensive Canadian experience, literally from coast to coast but with a home base in Western Canada. His experience ranges from marketing, adult education, and heavy transportation (rail) to municipal public works, fleet and transportation, oil and gas construction in the tar sands, emergency response (Fire and Ambulance), Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Security, as well as human resources and software systems, including enterprise style projects.
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