Top no-touch tech for mitigating contamination in a cleanroom

Published: 9-Apr-2024

Dr Ronald Brown from AeroClave discusses the three most commonly used no-touch decontamination (NTD) methods for mitigating contaminants in cleanrooms

Following the pandemic, cleanroom technology gained significant traction and heightened awareness. According to, the industry is expected to reach $5.6 billion by 2030.

Industries have been forced to pay closer attention to high-quality, contamination-free products and encourage sterilisation throughout all manufacturing processes and technological advancements.

Cleanroom facilities are utilised by a variety of industries, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, microelectronics and growing, all with varying ISO class standards (ISO 1 to ISO 9).

As the demand for these facilities grows and assembly increases, how will these facilities maintain the crucial contamination standards required of them? Cleanrooms with higher ISO ratings (ISO 1) are kept at significantly higher levels of sanitation to reduce the chance of interference from contaminants.

Cleanrooms with lower class ratings (ISO 9), while less threatened by certain impurities, still require routine cleaning to maintain efficiency and abide by specific protocols.

In the microelectronics industry wet decontamination methods can pose a threat

Decontamination technology is a vital part of this puzzle, enabling the market for these facilities to expand and develop while maintaining extreme levels of sterilisation.

There are a variety of decontamination methods used in maintaining cleanrooms. Depending on the specific ISO classification of the facility, certain equipment and conditions as well as techniques and tactics are more effective than others in preserving the integrity of these environments.

Some of the most common decon technologies include no-touch decontamination (NTD) which refers to technology that disinfects surfaces without any physical contact.

This decontamination method removes or reduces human involvement or error, eliminating the risk of cross-contamination. Discussed here are the three most commonly used NTD methods for mitigating contaminants in cleanrooms.

Aerosolised fogging systems

Aerosolised fogging systems are considered one of the top decontamination methods available for cleanroom sanitation and other settings that require sterile conditions.

This method works by turning powerful chemicals into a thick fog, which a machine then disperses. Certain high-grade machines can fill up an environment and settle into every nook and cranny of every room in just under 16 minutes.

Electrostatic disinfection utilises positively charged particles

That powerful disinfectant then eliminates viruses, germs, and fungi – not just on visible surfaces but behind cabinets, in between floor tiles, and in every other out-of-sight spot that might be overlooked during a conventional cleaning routine. In pharmacies and data centres specifically, fogging is a clear choice.

Electrostatic spraying

Electrostatic disinfection utilises positively charged particles that allow disinfectants and other chemicals to cling to targeted surfaces with a negative charge.

While this technology is incredibly useful in mitigating viral spread and eliminating surface contaminants, well-trained personnel are essential for the optimal application process and the safety of staff.

According to the EPA, there are also several parameters that can impact the disinfectant's ability to inactivate or eliminate viruses on surfaces.

For example, the amount of disinfectant that is applied, its deposition rate and the electrostatic charge imparted to the spray, can all drastically impact this technology’s efficacy.

Some of the most common decon technologies include no-touch decontamination

With less control over these variables, this method of decontamination is proven valuable for cleanrooms with lower-class ISO ratings.

UV light 

In the microelectronics industry – one of the top industries fuelling the demand for cleanrooms wet decontamination methods can pose a threat to the production process.

This is where UV light decon technology is key to maintaining a contamination-free environment. UV light disinfection is a proven solution against a wide range of microorganisms and most importantly effective in total organic carbon (TOC) reduction.

This form of decontamination technology also requires no storage, handling, or transportation of chemicals.

Looking to the future

In 2020, the global pandemic opened the door to conversations about the status of decontamination protocols and industry-specific regulations.

Aerosolised fogging systems are considered one of the top decontamination methods

While cleanroom facilities are not a necessity within every industry, those that fuel it have greatly increased demand for proper and adequately maintained facilities.

As new regulations and protocols develop to meet this need, advanced technologies and innovations within decontamination will inevitably transpire, playing a critical role in mitigating viral threats and contaminants within cleanrooms.

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