The choice of mopping system can be crucial to the successful cleaning and disinfection regime for a cleanroom environment. With the advent of new substrates and advances in hardware there is more choice than ever when it comes to cleanroom mopping systems and the mop heads offered for use with them.
A variety of methods are available for cleaning and disinfecting large areas of a cleanroom, including fogging systems, pressurized sprays, gassing modules or manual disinfection with mops and buckets.
However, even when using a more automated system, physical removal of soil and residues should ideally be carried out on a routine basis, as over time a build-up can affect the efficacy of any disinfectants used. So what considerations need to be given the choice of a manual system used?
The mopping systems currently available can be divided into six main categories (see table below):
Table 1: mopping systems currently available
Single use, dry, disposable mop heads:
Used with a traditional bucket system of detergent or disinfectant. Allow for re-application of fluid. Used on a sessional basis and disposed of.
Single use, presaturated mop wipes:
Presaturated with disinfectant or detergent. Cannot be recharged. Used once and disposed of.
Reusable, dry mop heads:
Used with a traditional bucket system of detergent or disinfectant. Allow for reapplication of fluid. After each use mop heads are sent for laundering and where relevant sterilisation and reused for a validated number of times.
Reusable, presaturated mop heads:
Presaturated with disinfectant or detergent. Cannot be recharged during a session. After each use mop heads are sent for laundering and where relevant sterilisation and reused for a validated number of times.
Single use, dry mop heads presaturated at point of use:
Used with a mop preparation trolley, dry mops are saturated at the start of a session. Mops cannot be resaturated during the session. Used once and disposed of.
Reusable, dry mop heads presaturated at point of use:
Used with a mop preparation trolley, dry mops are saturated at the start of session. Mops cannot be recharged during the session. After each use, mop heads are sent for laundering (and where relevant sterilisation) and reused for a validated number of times.
Within these broad categories sits a further sub-division of mop head types.
Cleanroom mop heads are available in a range of shapes and sizes: flat mops, string or Kentucky mops, self-wringing mops, t-bar mops, mop wipe frames and speciality tools for isolators, curtain cleaning, vessels etc.
Considerations for mopping system
As the cleanroom classification gets higher, the amount of space available for cleaning equipment tends to reduce, so the ideal system for one area of the facility may not be the same as it is for another.
Previous work carried out has shown that the use of multiple bucket systems significantly improves the effectiveness of the cleaning process.
Work carried out by Dr Smith of Aston1 showed that the use of a multiple bucket cleaning system can have a significant effect on the environmental results achieved.
He concluded from work carried out over three months, in three different grades of room (using a single bucket system, a triple bucket system with standard hospital disinfectant and a triple bucket with sterile specialist cleanroom disinfectants), that the use of a triple bucket system and specialist cleanroom disinfectants significantly improved the environmental results compared with traditional cleaning methods.
The use of a double bucket system allows one bucket to be designated as the waste bucket that the mop is wrung into.
The mop is never placed into this bucket. The second bucket holds the disinfect or detergent solution, the mop is recharged from this bucket once it has been wrung into the waste bucket.
A triple bucket system with a clean water rinse bucket further improves this system, as the ‘dirty’ mop can be rinsed and wrung out prior to being recharged in the disinfectant or detergent solution, completely protecting the application solution from contamination.
Various designs of multiple bucket system are available, but consideration needs to be given to the size of the cleanroom and the space available for the storage of the bucket system.