The first part of your body that contacts a cleanroom surface is your foot. For this reason, it is imperative your cleanroom shoe protectors are not only sterile but able to handle the rigors of a cleanroom environment and the lowest cost. So, which is the better choice? Disposable or reusable cleanroom shoe covers?
Disposable Cleanroom Shoe Covers
We are all familiar with the disposable blue slip on booties that are common in cleanrooms. They provide solid non-skid support, light barrier protection, and ease of use with all forms and sizes of shoes or boots.
While individually inexpensive, many blue booties get used each day; especially if you have a large cleanroom staff. Between replacement every time a user leaves and reenters the cleanroom, degradation when they come in contact with harsh liquids, and the sense that they are less valuable leading workers to dispose of them more readable, their cost can rise rapidly. This, along with the cost of their disposal, quickly changes their economic impact.
Then there is the environmental cost of their disposal to consider, especially if they are used in a cleanroom setting with biohazardous materials. They also tend to provide lower physical protection than reusable shoe covers.
Reusable Cleanroom Shoe Covers and Booties
Reusable cleanroom shoe covers and booties start with a larger economic impact than disposable covers, but this is rapidly offset by their reliability. Designed to provide sterile service in many cleanroom industries, reusable covers are breathable and have little weight. They differ from disposable shoe covers in their durability and the level of provided protection.
In general, reusable shoe covers provide higher filtration efficiency, surface resistivity and better abrasion wear. Put simply, they can handle the wear and tear of a cleanroom than their disposal cousins. Cleanroom workers tend to treat them with greater care than disposable boot covers as reusability relays a message of value to the user. This is just human nature.
Finding a Quality Cleanroom Laundry Service
Regular and consistent laundering will keep reusable shoe covers in optimal working condition. Removal of particulates and chemicals generated in cleanroom manufacturing is not only important for maintaining sterility but improves the life cycle of your shoe covers. While you may fear serious expense from laundering, these costs can be significantly reduced by contracting with a reputable cleanroom laundry service.
In addition to lower costs, a professional cleanroom laundry service provides greater reliability and accountability. Look for a service that not only cleans and sterilizes but assesses the condition of your shoe covers to keep them in peak performance as protocol requires. Quality matters, so make sure the laundry service is ISO certified.