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Jo Fabb-Ansell
Jo Fabb January 30, 2024

Choosing Cleanroom PPE: Key differences explained

PPE’s role in life sciences and cleanroom environments is critical. Ansell, a leader in manufacturing PPE, offers a wide range of products designed to meet the specific needs of these controlled and critical environments. This article provides a detailed look at the differences between cleanroom and medical gloves, as well as between disposable and reusable cleanroom garments. Our aim is to help you make informed decisions on your PPE needs, ensuring safety and compliance in your workspace. 


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What’s the difference between Clean & sterile cleanroom gloves vs. medical sterile gloves? 

When it comes to selecting single-use gloves for life sciences applications, it is important to recognize that while surgical gloves are sterile, they are not processed to be cleanroom compatible. Significant differences in the packaging and processing of sterile clean gloves make them the only suitable option for use in critical life sciences applications. 

By selecting the appropriate glove for the application, manufacturers can better protect their valuable products and processes from contaminants such as fine particles and ions which is vital for cleanroom product protection; improve overall product integrity; and minimize risk. 

The Critical Differences 

  1. Goals: Clean gloves aim to protect the product, process, and environment from contamination. In contrast, medical gloves are designed to prevent cross-contamination between the wearer and the patient. 

  1. Post-Processing and Packaging: Clean gloves are processed using deionized water and packed in a cleanroom with plastic packaging (non-linting) that meets cleanroom requirements, including a double bagged system and carton liners. Medical gloves do not undergo clean processing. Their packaging components and configurations do not consider cleanroom transfer and handling requirements.  

  1. Quality Testing: Enhanced quality performance control is a hallmark of clean gloves, focusing on particle and ion counts. This level of testing is not a factor for medical gloves. 

In summary, while sterile, medical gloves are not cleanroom compatible. For life sciences, selecting the appropriate sterile cleanroom gloves is key to minimizing contamination risks. 

Explore Ansell’s range of clean and sterile cleanroom gloves, each designed to meet the highest standards of protection and compatibility for your specific cleanroom environments. Discover our selection at Ansell’s Clean and Sterile Gloves

Additionally, finding the right fit for your gloves is crucial for both comfort and effectiveness. To ensure you select the perfect size, try our glove size finder at Ansell’s Glove Size Finder


For more detailed insights and technical specifications, download our Technical Release

 

What’s the difference between Disposable vs. Reusable Cleanroom Garments 

The biggest cause of contamination in cleanrooms are people so it’s critical that the right garments are worn to maintain the cleanroom standards and performance. When it comes to selecting cleanroom garments for life sciences applications, it is important to recognize that while reusable garments and disposable garments fulfill the same purpose and need, there are fundamental differences which need to be highlighted so you can make an informed choice. 

Significant differences in the material and processing of sterile cleanroom garments make them completely different. By selecting the appropriate garment for the application, employers can better protect their valuable products and processes from harmful particles and ions; improve overall product integrity; and minimize risk as well as protecting their workforce with appropriate PPE. 

Understanding the Differences 

  1. Material and Post-Processing: Disposable garments, such as BioClean™ Disposable Garments, typically feature a polyethylene film outer layer and a non-woven polypropylene inner layer, sterilized once by gamma irradiation without water usage in post-processing. Reusable garments are generally made of woven polyester, sterilized multiple times by gamma irradiation or autoclaving, and washed in deionized water. However, repeated irradiation cycles can lead to the breakdown of garment fibers and degrade the fabric causing it to relax and the pore size to become larger.  

  1. Bacterial Filtration Efficiency: For disposable garments, such as those in our BioClean™ range, testing for bacterial filtration efficiency is not applicable due to the laminated nature of the material (not able to generate filtration effect).  In contrast, reusable garments initially show a bacterial filtration efficiency of less than 70%, which can drop to below 40% after several washes. 

  1. Chemical and Particle Protection: Disposable garments, offer TYPE 6 limited protection against liquid spray and splash, ensuring a barrier against chemical splashes. Provide TYPE 5 protection against solid particulates. Constructed from spun-bonded non-woven polypropylene laminated with a film of polyethylene, sealing any holes between the warp and weft of the fabric. This design allows for comfort and flexibility during use while creating a solid barrier against skin particles, hair, lint, and other particles escaping from the garment. Reusable garments, do not offer effective protection against chemicals, as these substances can easily penetrate the garment, leading to contamination of the wearer. Reusable garments function as filters, made from woven polyester with microscopic holes between the warp and weft, known as the PORE-SIZE. The pore-size can significantly vary due to the fabric’s construction type and manufacturing methods but is typically larger than 0.5 microns. 

  1. Repairs and Rental Agreement: Disposable garments require no repairs or rental agreements, offering a one-off payment system. Reusable garments necessitate repairs for even minor damage and involve long-term rental contracts with fixed weekly costs, irrespective of garment usage. 

  1. Benefits of Disposable Cleanroom Garments: They mitigate micro-organism cross-contamination risks, provide higher chemical protection, and are categorized as Class III PPE. With no long-term rental commitments, they offer flexibility in quantity adjustment and ease of size changes. They also come with consistent performance, physical characteristics, and recycling options, depending on your business or location. 

In conclusion, understanding the distinct advantages and applications of disposable versus reusable garments is critical for maintaining the highest standards in cleanroom environments. As a leading PPE manufacturing company specializing in disposable cleanroom garments, we are committed to providing solutions that is specifically designed to address the unique challenges of cleanrooms, offering robust chemical protection and ease of use. 

Explore our extensive range of disposable cleanroom coveralls, each crafted to support the highest standards of cleanroom performance and worker safety. Discover our innovative and protective clothing solutions at Ansell’s Life Sciences Protective Clothing


For an in-depth understanding of these differences and to make the most informed choice for your cleanroom needs, download our Technical Release

 

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