Swabs and wipers are essential for cleaning critical surfaces in the cleanroom, and with today’s strict contamination control regulations, it’s important to know what products are available to meet your cleanliness requirements. Here’s a selection of the market’s latest swabs and wipers.
Compiled by Angela Godwin
Critical surface wipers
KIMTECH PURE* CL3 Wipers with patent-pending Clean-Dry Technology from Kimberly-Clark Professional can be used for the most critical surface wiping tasks in ISO Class 3 or higher cleanroom environments. The wipers are 100 percent continuous filament double-knit polyester. They absorb liquids on contact while still delivering the low particle and extractable levels expected from polyester wipers. KIMTECH PURE* CL3 Wipers are solvent- and abrasion-resistant, have four laser-sealed edges to minimize particle generation, are cleanroom laundered in water filtered to 0.2 micron to minimize the potential for ion contamination, and are double-bagged to maintain cleanliness. The wipers are also compliant with AAMI guidelines and gamma irradiated to a 10-6 Sterility Assurance Level (SAL).
Convenient wiper packaging
Contec’s new QuickPickTM packaging addresses two expensive problems in one convenient package: wiper waste and proper wiping technique. Sealed-edge wipers are traditionally packaged in either a flat-stacked or a bulk configuration, both of which make it difficult for a gloved operator to remove one wiper from a bag at a time, meaning more wipes are often picked up than are needed. In addition, wipes come out of the package in an inconsistent fashion, meaning operators must either take time to properly fold them or use them improperly. The QuickPick package uses a convenient, blue dispensing bag as the innermost package for Contec’s Polynit Heatseal wipes. The wipes inside the bag are half-folded inside with the folded edge of each wipe easily accessible through the dispensing hole in the package. This convenient package addresses both wiper waste and proper wiping technique and helps reduce risks of cross-contamination from gloves and dispenser boxes. Currently the QuickPick configuration is only available for the company’s Polynit Heatseal 9 x 9 wipes.
Wipers with Particle Attraction Technology
Milliken, a vertical manufacturer of polyester wipers, has launched its new wiper innovation, Anticon® with Particle Attraction Technology (P.A.T.). Testing protocol has produced data that shows these wipers (right) attract 35 times more particles than traditional wipers (left). In addition, they retain 95 percent of the particles captured, so there’s less chance of recontamination. This wiping technology is available in various fabric bases and weights, works well with solvents, and has been designed utilizing an economical bulk packaging system. Anticon with P.A.T. wipers are intended for use in the electronics and life sciences (pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device) markets and are fit for use in Class 1 to 1,000 (ISO Class 1 to 6) cleanroom environments.
Milliken & Company
Wipes for hospital-level disinfection
Sporicidin Disinfectant Wipes provide complete kill of disease-causing vegetative organisms within 10 minutes. They are bactericidal, including MRSA and VRE, tuberculocidal, fungicidal, and virucidal (both lipophilic and hydrophilic), including HIV-1 (AIDS virus), and oral, ocular, and genital herpes. Sporicidin Wipes are alcohol-free and safe for metal, plastic, Formica, vinyl, glass, and porcelain surfaces. They are recommended for equipment and working surfaces such as counters, control panels, door knobs, etc., and they are available individually wrapped or in canisters containing 180 sturdy, no-tear wipes that are compliant with EPA, OSHA and FDA to clean, disinfect and deodorize. The towelettes are EPA-registered to provide “six months continuous residual bacteriostatic activity” if allowed to remain on surfaces, and are categorized as “Very Low Toxicity,” the lowest toxicity category.
Cleaning validation kits
ITW Texwipe, a leading manufacturer of cleanroom products for the life sciences industry, offers the TOC Cleaning Validation Kit (TX3340), designed to simplify sampling for cleaning validation. The kit is compatible with the Anatel ANATOCTM, the Teledyne Tekmar OI Analytical Model 1010 and the Sievers Model 800 TOC Analyzers. All kits contain the components necessary to sample 12 different areas in the production environment and provide for efficient transport of the samples from production to the laboratory. In addition to the 12-sample kit, a bulk kit (TX3342) is also available with 72 vials. The precleaned vials reduce TOC background and eliminate in-house processing costs. The large SnapSwabTM has a breakaway handle that allows the swab head to be placed into the vial with minimal handling and contamination. Additionally, the company provides products with low particle levels, products pre-wetted with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol, wipers with high sorption, and autoclavable stationery.
Value-Tek has developed a proprietary process that provides for a border seal on its critical-use polyester wipes. The border is achieved by using pressure and heat to create a soft, pressed edge, which virtually eliminates the chance of fibers being released during use. In addition, the wipes have improved absorptive capacity, providing a higher level of efficiency. These products have been processed to provide the lowest levels of particulate and extractable contamination available today. The border-sealed wipes are available in two types: a double-knit, single-ply wipe (VTPNWPHS) meeting most applications (140g/m2); and a double-knit, two-ply wipe (VT2PNWPHS), which, at 260g/m2, is the heaviest-weight polyester wipe available and is suitable for applications requiring more absorptive capacity. These wipes are available in both 9-inch x 9-inch, and 12-inch x 12‑inch sizes. In addition, Value-Tek products offer lot number traceability.
Wipes with user-friendly packaging
FREE SAT wipes from High-Tech Conversions are made of absorbent cellulose reinforced with polyester, and have four clean-cut edges. The wipes feature a user-friendly packaging design that offers several advantages. It allows the user to open the container, remove a wipe, and close the container with just one hand. Also, unlike pouch wipers that can dry out quickly when the resealable label wears out, these wipes never come in contact with the glue side of the label, which also eliminates contamination concerns. Unlike containers with a “pull-out-of-the top” design, FREE SAT wipes don’t leave a tail protruding out of the top, which can wick out the highly volatile solution inside. And, you don’t have to pull the wipe through four sharp points, which can rough up the surface and cause loose fibers. Lastly, there are no perforated edges, which, when wipes are torn off, can leave long loose, stringy fibers that can contaminate the very object you’re trying to clean.
High-Tech Conversions, Inc.
East Windsor, CT
Polyester knit wipers
In response to the changing demands and dynamics in the cleanroom wiper industry, Lymtech is pleased to introduce a new addition to its Purity Wipe Line. Series 3400 Wipers are a value-added and economic choice for polyester knit wiper applications. They have been third-party tested and evaluated by end users to confirm performance integrity and consistent property characteristics. Series 3400 Wipers are available in various sizes with sealed edge or knife edge, and come in stacked or loose-pack configurations. The company is now accepting full production orders for immediate shipment. In addition, Lymtech offers other capabilities such as customization, contract converting, specialty products, business flexibility, price stability, managed in-stock inventories, quick response and controlled lead-times. Its experienced team of global sales managers and customer service staff provide specialized solutions, training, and technical support for product compliance to meet today’s demanding end-user requirements.
Expanded line of wipers
Micronova Manufacturing Inc. introduces its expanded line of wipers, including the PolyMitt handheld wiper, SilSat Silicone Wipers and NovaHol presaturated wipers. PolyMitt is a polyester ‘mitten’ that combines the versatility of a high-quality polyester wipe with the security of a glove, for general cleaning in cleanrooms and pharmaceutical processing. The PolyMitt is designed to fit comfortably over the operator’s gloved hand, making it easier to clean around shelving, tanks, piping and other awkward areas. Offered as one-size-fits-all, the PolyMitt allows for more dexterity as the mitt is virtually attached to the operator’s hand. It can also save time and money, replacing standard wipers that often get dropped or lost behind or below equipment. By offering high-grade silicone on a presaturated wipe, SilSat Wipes address the challenge of using lubricant in a controlled environment. Offering an alternative to spray cans and bottles, each polyester wipe is lightly impregnated with enough silicone to service gears and rollers on fill lines, without the likely transfer of silicone onto product or other critical surfaces. These wipes also present an ideal medium for mold-release applications in medical device and manufacturing applications. SilSat Wipes are irradiated at 45 kGy and come in a resealable 8-pack pouch. Lastly, NovaHol Wipes offer a cleanroom detergent that combines the clean, efficient formula of NovaClean detergent with the fast-drying properties of alcohol in a convenient, ready-to-use wipe. Intended for general and surface cleaning in cleanrooms, NovaHol Wipes feature a special solvent/surfactant blend that emulsifies and removes submicron particulate, leaving cleanroom surfaces dry and residue free. The formula is low in extractables and is filtered to 0.1 micron. NovaHol Wipes can be used on most cleanroom surfaces, glass panels and vinyl curtains.
Micronova Manufacturing, Inc.