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Choosing the perfect cleanroom wipe:

An In-Depth investigation


In pharmaceutical environments, upholding stringent cleanliness standards is essential to safeguarding product integrity and ensuring consumer safety.

Cleanroom wipes play a critical role in maintaining the integrity of controlled environments across various industries. This paper provides a thorough analysis of selecting the optimal cleanroom wipe specifically tailored to the requirements of pharmaceutical environments. Let’s delve into the key considerations for choosing the right cleanroom wipe, exploring the differences in fabric types, structures, edge configurations, and the diverse functions these wipes serve. By comprehending these factors, decisions tailored to meet the precise demands can easily be made.


Cleanroom wipes are fundamental tools in environments where contamination control is important. The selection of the appropriate cleanroom wipe is key to ensure optimal cleaning, disinfection, and particle retention. This paper provides comprehensive guidance through the complexities of cleanroom wipes, emphasizing the importance of material composition, wipe structures, edge types, compatibility, and functional characteristics in both cleaning and disinfection processes(1).

Material Types:

Cleanroom wipes are manufactured from a variety of materials, each with unique properties that influence their performance(2). These materials include both natural and synthetic fibers, each bringing unique benefits to the variety of cleanroom wipes available.
Understanding the disparities among these material types helps in selecting cleanroom wipes that align with the requirements of their specific applications. 

Polyester (Synthetic):
  • Offers high strength and durability for demanding applications.
  • Exhibits low particle generation, rendering it suitable for strict cleanliness requirements.
  • Demonstrate excellent chemical resistance to guard against reactions with cleaning & disinfection agents(2).
  • Available as virgin material or recycled option for a more sustainable solution.
  • Appropriate for disinfection steps due to its compatibility with a wide range of chemicals.
Cellulose (Natural):
  • Derived from plants, offering excellent absorbency.
  • Biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
  • Ideal for applications requiring a balance between absorbency and disposability but is not the optimal choice for cleanroom environments where cleanliness and contamination control are of utmost importance. Cellulose fibers can be prone to shedding and may not be compatible with certain chemicals used in disinfection procedures, leading to degradation and potential contamination risks.
Lyocell (Semi-synthetic):
  • Produced from sustainably sourced wood pulp.
  • Exhibits exceptional absorbency, making them highly effective for cleaning up liquids and spills in cleanroom settings.
  • Biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
  • lyocell wipes are typically soft and gentle on surfaces, making them suitable for delicate applications where abrasive materials could cause damage.
Blended materials (Combination of Natural and Synthetic):
  • Combines advantages of both natural and synthetic fibers.
  • Customizable for versatility in various cleanroom environments.
  • Provides tailored solutions by leveraging different materials for optimal performance.
Microfiber (Synthetic):
  • Features fine fibers that enhance cleaning efficiency.
  • Provide superior particle entrapment, making ideal for critical cleaning.
  • Delivers exceptional performance in precision and thorough cleaning applications.
  • Polypropylene (Synthetic):
  • Offers an economical option for general-purpose cleaning.
  • Exhibits low linting characteristics to minimize contamination risks.
  • Suited for cost-effective, reliable solutions in various applications(2).

Polypropylene (Synthetic):

  • Offers an economical option for general-purpose cleaning.
  • Exhibits low linting characteristics to minimize contamination risks.
  • Suited for cost-effective, reliable solutions in various applications(2).
Viscose (Semi-synthetic): 
  • Derived from wood pulp, offering a natural origin.
  • Demonstrate high absorbency, making it effective for cleaning liquids.
  • Soft and gentle on surfaces, suitable for delicate applications.
  • Viscose wipes may generate more particles compared to synthetic wipes like polyester or polypropylene and while viscose wipes are soft, they may produce lint during use,. This particle release and lint could potentially compromise the cleanliness of the environment, especially in critical cleanroom applications. 

Wipe structures

Cleanroom wipes come in various structures, each designed to meet specific performance needs in both cleaning and disinfection processes. These different structures offer varying characteristics like absorbency, abrasion resistance, and particle release. Tailoring the wipe structure to specific cleanroom requirements ensures effective cleaning and disinfection, particle control, and durability, aligning the wipe with the demands of the controlled environment.

Knitted Wipes: produced by interlocking loops of long fibers, knitted wipes offer stretchability and conformability. They are suitable for applications where wiping irregular surfaces is necessary and provide good absorbency. The 3D structure gives excellent absorption qualities and increased dirt absorption.

Woven Wipes: constructed by weaving long fibers together, woven wipes are durable and have high tensile strength. They are not elastic and have a 2D structure. The tighter structure than knitted material results in a lower absorption. They are suitable for applications requiring abrasion resistance and repeated use.


 Non-Woven Wipes: most high-quality nonwovens are made with a spunlaced process which hydroentangles short fibers together using high-pressure jets of filtered water to clean the fabric during the manufacturing process.

Edge configurations

The edge configuration of a cleanroom wipe plays a significant role in preventing particle release and ensuring effective cleaning(3). The most common edge types include:


  • Cut from a master roll of material with a knife, featuring edges that are not sealed and can release fibers and particles.
  • Wipe with soft edges where the entire surface can be used without risk of scratches


  • Material is burned via the arc of the laser and cut by fusing the material, resulting in a hard edge with risk of scratches.
  • Easy to tear (releasing fibers and particles)


Ultrasonic Sealed:

  • Sound waves generate heat and fuse the material that is cut in half with a knife, resulting in sealed borders (wide) or edges (narrow) that reduce particle and fiber release.
  • Generates a softer edge than a leaser seal, minimizing contamination risks.

Sealed Border:

  • Features reinforced edges for increased durability.
  • Reduces fraying and particle release.

Choosing the right wipe:

Selecting the right cleanroom wipe involves a careful evaluation of the specific needs of the application(1). Consider the following factors:

Cleanroom Class:
match the wipe's cleanliness level to the cleanroom classification.

Material compatibility:
ensure the wipe is compatible with the surfaces and chemicals in use. Pure synthetics such as polyester nonwovens and knitted fabrics offer the greatest range of chemical compatibility. Wipes containing natural fibers like cellulose are susceptible to degradation caustic solutions and are not suitable for use with all disinfectants
Task requirements:
choose the appropriate fabric, edge, and size based on the task at hand.

Environmental considerations:
Wipes made out of recycled 100% knitted polyester provide a sustainable solution for critical environments without jeopardizing quality or performance

Budget considerations:
balance performance with cost-effectiveness

Selecting the right cleanroom wipe is crucial for optimal cleaning, disinfection, and particle retention in controlled environments. This involves considering material types, wipe structures, edge configurations, and specific application needs. Material options range from synthetic (polyester, microfiber, polypropylene) to natural (cellulose) and semi-synthetic (viscose, lyocell), each with unique properties. Understanding wipe structures, such as knitted, woven, and non-woven, helps tailor the choice to performance requirements. Edge configurations, like knife-cut, laser-cut and ultrasonic sealed, play a significant role in particle release prevention and cleaning effectiveness. 

To make the right choice for a cleanroom wipe, factors such as cleanroom class, material compatibility, task requirements, environmental considerations, and budget must be carefully evaluated. Matching the wipe's cleanliness level according to the ISO 14644 classification to the cleanroom classification, considering material compatibility with surfaces and chemicals, and selecting the appropriate fabric, edge, and size based on the task are critical steps. Additionally, environmental sustainability and budget considerations should be balanced with performance needs. A comprehensive understanding of material properties, wipe structures, and edge configurations is essential for informed decision-making in the complex landscape of cleanroom wipes.


Understanding the nuances of cleanroom wipes is essential for maintaining the integrity of your controlled environments(1). By considering all the different factors you can make informed choices to ensure optimal cleanliness and contamination control. The right cleanroom wipe not only enhances operational efficiency but also safeguards the integrity of critical processes.

(1) ISO 14644: Cleanrooms and Associated Controlled Environments
(2) C.L. Ward, S.P. Richardson, K. Warwick, "Fundamentals of Cleanroom Wipe Selection"
(3) M.K. Alam, S. Kumar, "Cleanroom Technology: Fundamentals of Design, Testing and Operation"