Pre-saturated Wipes - Ensuring Consistent Processes and Higher Product Quality

Cleaning surfaces and equipment in controlled environments  has  historically  involved   a   variety   of methods, but usually involves some manner of moving a cleaning material (wipe, mop, etc.) across a surface, often in the presence of a liquid solution. In operations in controlled environments, the challenge is in maximizing the ability, consistency, and efficiency to remove contaminants that are usually invisible to the people doing the cleaning – with serious consequences to process and product quality.


In a study conducted some years ago, various commonly used methods for cleaning surfaces were compared for their ability to remove dry particles from a known surface. In this study, particle removal by each method was measured against an ideal 100% removal of particles from the surface. It was clearly demonstrated that cleaning a surface with a wetted wipe removes the most contaminants from the surface compared to other methods.

First introduced by Contec, Inc. in 1988, presaturated wipes for controlled environments were initially developed to reduce solvent usage and increase convenience in hand wiping at IBM. Little did anyone realize at the time the full range of benefits presaturated wipes could ultimately offer, or the extent to which they would be used in unrelated industries.

Because they provide exceptional solvent control, pre- saturated wipes were soon adopted by aerospace, semi- conductor, pharmaceutical, automotive, and other in- dustries in order to meet increasingly stringent VOC emission and solvent reduction regulations. Based on feedback from end users in multiple industries, a comparison of common methods of applying cleaning and other process solutions to wipes shows that solvent us- age can be reduced between fifteen and fifty percent, depending on the method of saturation.

This has been a significant benefit to companies looking to manage solvent usage and emissions while retain- ing familiar work practices that involve hand wiping.