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The Essential Guide to Cleanroom Protocol: What’s Not Allowed

Published by Harmony Lab & Safety Supplies on Jan 09, 2024

What is Not Allowed in a Cleanroom

Cleanrooms are pivotal to pharmaceuticals, biotech, semiconductor, and electronics industries, where contamination can have catastrophic consequences. However, maintaining a cleanroom environment necessitates a stringent set of rules. This article explores cleanroom protocol’s essentials, particularly inappropriate items and behaviors.

Understanding Cleanrooms

Cleanrooms are specialized environments where the concentration of airborne particles is strictly controlled to avoid contamination. They’re not just cleaner versions of regular rooms but engineered spaces where Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and particulate shedding are minimized. To uphold this standard, cleanroom-approved materials are a must.

Cleanroom-Approved Materials

Regular office supplies like pens, paper, sticky notes, and tissue are typically prohibited in cleanrooms. Instead, cleanroom-certified documentation is used. These materials are specially processed and packaged for cleanroom use.

Even less obvious items such as chairs, workbenches, floors, adhesive tacky mats, pens, paper, and mouse pads must be cleanroom-approved. Any item not explicitly made for cleanrooms should be officially approved and properly cleaned with a disinfectant.

Pre-Entry Protocol

Cleanroom personnel must follow certain pre-entry rules. Generally, personal items are stored in lockers or desks before entering the cleanroom. Equipment, like carts, must also be prepared according to specific cleanroom protocols.

Prohibited Items in Cleanrooms

Many materials are not suited for a cleanroom environment under any circumstances. Here’s a substantial list of common items not approved in cleanrooms:

  1. Cardboard, unapproved paper, bubble wrap, Styrofoam, tissues, paper towels, unapproved tape
  2. Personal electronics, including phones, headphones, and computers
  3. Jewelry, such as earrings, necklaces, bracelets, watches
  4. Wood products
  5. Rusty items or those with flaking paint
  6. Leather or unapproved synthetic materials
  7. Velcro
  8. Unapproved chemicals like grease, oils, aerosol, or lubricants
  9. Powders
  10. Unapproved plastics

Unacceptable Behaviors

Curious about what’s not allowed in a cleanroom? It’s essential to maintain a stringent protocol to prevent contamination. The list of prohibited items includes personal belongings like jewelry, watches, and electronics, and extends to certain materials such as cardboard, unapproved paper products, Styrofoam, and more. Rusty items, leather or unapproved synthetic materials, and unapproved chemicals also have no place in a cleanroom.

Beyond items, certain behaviors are also strictly off-limits. Smoking, eating, drinking, touching surfaces with bare hands, or any quick movements that disturb air flow are frowned upon. The use of unclean tools or improper removal of cleanroom garments is also prohibited. It’s crucial to remember that specific cleanroom regulations may vary, so always consult your company’s procedural manual.

Cleanroom Garments

Proper cleanroom attire is a must to prevent the release of contaminants. These garments include coveralls, boots, gloves, and face masks. Before entering a cleanroom, personnel must change these garments in a designated changing room.

Cleanroom Maintenance

Regular and thorough cleaning is crucial to maintain the integrity of a cleanroom. Surfaces, tools, and equipment should be cleaned using cleanroom-approved cleaning agents and materials.

Cleanroom Training

Personnel are a significant potential source of contamination. Hence, regular training sessions are necessary to educate staff about the importance of cleanroom protocols and the consequences of non-compliance.


Cleanrooms play a vital role in many industries. Maintaining their integrity requires strict adherence to cleanroom protocols, including using cleanroom-approved materials and prohibiting certain items and behaviors. With proper protocol and training, cleanrooms can serve their purpose effectively, ensuring the quality and safety of the products manufactured within them.

Remember, the rules may vary depending on the specific requirements of your cleanroom or company. Always refer to your company’s procedural manual for precise guidelines.