With so many different wipes on the market, choosing the correct product for the application in hand has become more complex. Karen Rossington provides the basics of which wipes to select and how best to use them

Environments  require  stringent control of particles, residues and micro-organisms to ensure desired product or process outcomes. Each industry has its own critical parameters: ions and particles in electronics;  microbes,  endotoxins  and particles in life-sciences; fibres and silicone in  automotive  painting  and  graphics printing.

The control of these critical parameters is very often achieved by the use of wipes, either dry or pre-saturated. There is a huge range of wipes available to cleanroom users, manufactured from a wide variety of substrates, made with different manufacturing methods, finished with different surface treatments to enhance particle pick-up or increase sorbency, differing weights and size, level of cleanliness, and choice of impregnate. This is before we consider pack size, packaging or sterility. Most users know exactly what they need the wipe to achieve, e.g. remove a disinfectant residue in an EU GMP Grade A zone without adding to the overall level of contamination, but it is less easy to identify which wipe provides the parameters they require.

Various studies have shown that wiping is a very effective way to control contamination on a hard surface. Initial work carried out by I F Stowers and H G Patton in 19781 looked at seven different surface cleaning techniques for removing contaminants from optical surfaces and concluded that wiping with a saturated lens tissue was the most effective particle removal process.

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