Appropriate hygiene is vital for maintaining any contaminant free cleanroom including cleanrooms that process foods. There are many necessary steps to take when preventing contamination; the first steps involved are proper hand washing and dressing. Following the proper protocol cannot totally eliminate all particles but they can decrease the risk of particles being released in the cleanroom environment.
· Begin the garbing process by removing all outer clothing such as coats, hats, jewellery, cosmetics, sweaters, and scarves, prior to entering the cleanroom.
· Scrubs aren’t required as underwear for cleanrooms but they are usually considered lighter and more comfortable. If you choose to wear scrubs, change into them after entering the facility to reduce contamination entering the cleanroom.
· Artificial nails are forbidden. Natural nails should be neat and trimmed at all times.
· When donning your cleanroom gear, they should be donned from dirtiest to cleanest.
· Don dedicated shoes, wellingtons or shoe covers. Wellingtons are particularly useful in food processing cleanrooms. They are great when handling fluids. If you have shoes that are specifically for cleanroom use, they should be resistant to disinfectants and stored in the changing area and should never be taken out of the facility. They should be cleaned on a regular basis. Shoe covers should be worn only once and then disposed of properly.
· Don facial cover if needed and a head cover. This is especially important when dealing with food.
· Don facemask and eye shield if necessary.
· Wash your hands. These are the first steps of hygiene and they should be done before donning the non-shedding gown. Tap water can contain contamination, being the reason to don the gown after hand washing. It minimises the chance of water-borne bacteria splashing onto the gown.
1. Remove dirt from underneath fingernails with a nail cleaner and warm water.
2. Wash hands and forearms all the way up to the elbow for at least 30 seconds with antimicrobial soap and water. Be sure to wash your hands vigorously and thoroughly.
3. Do not use scrub brushes on the skin, these can damage the skin and increase skin shedding.
4. Completely dry hands and forearms using lint-free disposable wipes or a cleanroom safe electronic hand dryer.
5. Continue with the garbing process.
· Now you are ready to don your non-shedding gown. Make sure you have oversleeves that fit tightly around your wrists. It’s preferable to use a disposable gown when handling food. But if reusable gowns are worn, they should be laundered correctly for cleanroom use.
· Enter the cleanroom.
· Use a waterless alcohol-based hand scrub to further clean your hands. Allow hands to dry before putting on sterile gloves.
· Put on sterile, powder-free gloves.
· Sterile gloves should still be disinfected using isopropyl alcohol on every inch of the glove.
These are the first steps to keeping your food processing cleanroom contaminant free. As most contamination comes from humans, we need to take extra care to not increase the risk of particles into our cleanroom environment and possibly harming others. Follow these proper steps to garbing and hand washing and eliminate contamination before entering a food processing cleanroom.