The thought of using a garment once and throwing it away may seem like an expensive option for your cleanroom operations, but do you know the risks of using launderable garments within your critical processes?
In an ISO Class 5 pharmaceutical cleanroom,
the average usage is four garments per day per
person, but the protocol dictates that changes
must be made each time the cleanroom is re-entered.1 In contrast, a worker in an ISO Class 8
cleanroom might change garments once or twice
With this in mind, the decision to use reusable garments may appear to be more cost effective, but in the long run they could cost you time
and money. Launderable garments carry with
them many hidden costs and risks.
The cost variables associated with reusable
garments in addition to the internal cost of effectively managing a reusable garment system and
the weekly rental fee, such as laundering, sterilization, repair of garments, replacement of lost
or ruined garments, barcode charges, fuel surcharges, and additional unplanned garment usage
charges may be included in your contracted cost.
The laundering process for reusable clean-
room garments involves multiple processing
steps such as sorting, multiple wash cycles, dry-
ing, cool down, and inspection, all of which will
put the fabric under additional stress. This is
repeated each time the gown is serviced; there-
fore the laundering process itself can create chan-
nels for bacteria to penetrate the fabric. Product
degradation is a very real concern to your mis-
sion critical environments.
Impact of repeated laundering and sterilization
Reusable solutions are subjected to cycles of
repeated laundering and sterilization. Are their
performance garments the same for every cycle?
To aid in garment decision-making, Dupont, a
supplier of single-use cleanroom garments and
accessories, conducted a study to map the properties of polyester reusable garments typically
worn in cleanrooms, including information
about how properties of these garments can
vary after multiple cycles of laundering and
exposure to gamma radiation. The study measured such performance measurements as fabric
barrier properties (including bacterial filtration
efficiency), resistance to breaking and tear, and
garment cleanliness and particle generation.
The study, along with other research results,
shows that reusable garments are vulnerable