HOUSEHOLD BLEACH is well known for its ability to remove stains and whiten clothes during laundering. Bleach also finds application in health care facilities with cleanrooms. Such applications include aseptic pharmaceutical suites, biomedical device manufacturing and compounding pharmaceutical facilities that require the biocidal and sterilant capabilities of bleach.
Bleach solutions, which are active against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and spores, are applied to cleanroom surfaces with either polyester knitted wipers or wipers made from a blend of polyester and cellulose. Both fabric types are compatible with bleach for the required application process.
Limitations of Bleach
Typically, bleach solutions are reserved for their sporicidal activity. Cleanroom surfaces in the above-mentioned facilities are typically cleaned with either phenolic or quaternary ammonium salt solutions to remove bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Periodic treatment of surfaces with bleach then ensures that spores are also killed. The obvious question arises: Why not use bleach all the time since it gets rid of all the bad actors?
Two reasons: Bleach solutions have a strong, irritating odor, and long exposure times are undesirable. Also, bleach solutions, because they contain the hypochlorite ion, are strong oxidants and will cause corrosion of metallic surfaces, including stainless steel.
What’s the Ideal Bleach Concentration?
Bleach solutions usually contain between 1 percent and 5 percent sodium hypochlorite. End-use concentration will depend on the Standard Operating Procedure for each facility. Note that diluted bleach solutions can degrade in concentration over time. Do not pre-wet cleanroom wipers with bleach solution and store them for future use; use them the same day they are prepared.
Did You Know?
There is much to learn about the cleaning and maintenance of controlled environments. Berkshire’s team of highly trained representatives can help you understand the best practices and products for your application.