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Disinfecting surfaces to kill traces of microbes and disease is a critical concern right now. A common misconception is that simply disinfecting a surface is enough to sanitize it. This is not the case, cleaning and disinfecting are both important parts of a thorough sanitizing process.
Why do both?
Surfaces must be properly cleaned prior to disinfecting. Removing traces of dirt, debris, and dust primes surfaces and equipment for disinfection. Soils can harbor germs and bacteria. Disinfection becomes less effective if surface soils are present.
What happens if I disinfect without cleaning?
If a surface is disinfected before it is cleaned, the remaining soils can still contribute to the growth of harmful microbes and lead to further contamination. The residual soils may also serve as a barrier, preventing the disinfectant from reaching the surface and doing its job. Lingering soils on the surface may affect the active chemicals in a disinfectant, impacting their efficiency. If the surface is thoroughly cleaned first, and validated for cleanliness, the disinfection step becomes much more effective.
What are the steps for proper cleaning and disinfecting?
3 Things to Consider When Selecting the Right Detergent for Your Ultrasonic Cleaner
1. What are the Soils?
Understanding which soils you need to remove will guide you in choosing the right detergent. Micro-90® is an alkaline cleaner that is designed to work well on a broad spectrum of soils. It is extremely effective for removing oil, grease, wax, tar, flux, particulates, and biological debris.
Most commercial critical cleaners are effective in removing dirt, but many are also corrosive, harmful if inhaled, and environmentally hazardous. Safer cleaning detergents will be free of phosphates, solvents, silicates, phenols, and substances of very high concern.
View this video to see the effectiveness of Micro-90 in ultrasonic cleaning.
Using Micro-90 in Ultrasonic Cleaning
Micro-90 is a multipurpose, alkaline concentrate that provides superior performance in ultrasonic cleaning. The ingredients in Micro-90 penetrate tough oils and greasy films, allowing the soil to become suspended in the solution without the risk of redepositing. These properties make Micro-90 just as effective as corrosive cleaners without the health or environmental risks. Micro-90 does not contain solvents, phosphates, or heavy metals. In fact, Micro-90 removes hard metals in water that would otherwise detract from the detergency of the solution.
The ingredients in Micro-90 were chosen for easy validation in an FDA process. Reports can be provided upon request. It is also NSF registered as a USDA-A1 Cleaner. Micro-90 can be used in concentrations as low as 0.5% up to 5%, and concentration can be easily determined by conductivity. Micro-90 has a high cloud point, making it easy to see when parts are clean. When properly rinsed, Micro-90 leaves no residue.
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What Is One Of A Lab Tech’s Biggest Challenges?
Cleaning lab equipment, of course! Everyone knows that labware must be properly cleaned, but what’s the best way to achieve that goal? And, why is cleaning so important?
Why Clean Lab Equipment?
Regular cleaning is one of the easiest ways to keep your equipment functioning properly. Apparatus that is not thoroughly cleaned can yield inaccurate and inconsistent results. Trace ingredients from previous use must be removed to avoid cross-contamination and to ensure that all future test results are error-free.
Proper maintenance of labware and apparatus helps to ensure that your equipment is working correctly and your lab is functioning efficiently. Analyzers, centrifuges, microscopes, pipettes, beakers, slides and flasks all need to be kept clean to provide accurate readings. Failure to properly maintain lab equipment can have a direct impact on test results.
How To Set Up A Cleaning Regimen?
Since regular cleaning is one of the easiest ways to keep your equipment functioning properly, it’s important to establish a cleaning procedure and stick to it. The exterior surfaces of all equipment should be wiped down on a daily basis, after each use. A complete cleaning should be performed at least once a week.
Consider these factors when setting up your cleaning process:
Selecting the right cleaner for your lab equipment is extremely important. There are many different kinds of products available, so it’s important to consider all of the above factors when making your decision.
Micro-90…The Lab Tech’s Best Friend
Many labs rely on Micro-90 for manual and ultrasonic cleaning of glassware and equipment. Micro-90 is a mild, yet powerful, multipurpose, alkaline cleaning concentrate that is excellent for removing a vast array of soils from flasks, pipettes, slides, stainless steel, plastic, glass, and other laboratory equipment and surfaces. Micro-90 contains ionic and non-ionic ingredients which combine to produce a variety of cleaning actions. Micro-90 lifts, disperses, emulsifies, sequesters, suspends, and decomposes soils, then rinses away leaving the surface absolutely clean. When properly rinsed, Micro-90 does not leave any residue.
Why Lab Tech’s Love Micro-90:
Effective on a wide range of soils
Compatible with most hard surfaces
Manufactured in a dedicated system
Filtered to 1 Micron
Can be used for manual, CIP, and ultrasonic cleaning applications
Free rinsing, does not leave residue or product build-up
Cleaning validation methods are available
Safe, environmentally friendly formula
Economical, concentrated formula that is easy to dilute
NSF registered as USDA-A1 Cleaner
Still not convinced? Request afree sample for testing and try Micro-90 for your most challenging lab cleaning applications!
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What is Cleaning Validation?
Cleaning validation is used to ensure that a cleaning procedure removes all trace soils, cutting fluids, fingerprints, particulates and cleaning agents from surfaces in regulated processes. Any residue must be removed to a predetermined level of cleanliness. Cleaning validation processes protect against the cross-contamination of ingredients from one batch to another, ensure that surfaces or devices are free of residue prior to any further sterilization process, and assist in ensuring product quality.
Cleaning validation is required for use in industries following Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) as outlined by the US FDA. Manufacturers in the pharmaceutical, medical device and food and beverage industries all use cleaning validation methods to ensure that their equipment is free of waste and that subsequent products manufactured on that equipment are not jeopardized by any remaining soils or soap residue.
FDA guidelines for cleaning validation require specific written procedures detailing how cleaning processes will be validated. These should include:
Who is responsible for performing and approving the validation
When revalidation is required
Analytical methods to be used
Documentation of the studies and results
A final conclusive report stating that all residues have been removed to the predetermined level
If any part of the cleaning process is changed, the cleaning validation process must also be updated.
Cleaning Validation Methods
Various analytical methods can be used to detect cleaner residues on equipment. Each method is unique to the specific cleaner used. Cleaner manufacturers should be able to provide detailed validation methods for their products.
Regulated industries rely, in most cases, on quantitative validation methods. Quantitative validation methods provide measurable and exact results, whereas qualitative validation methods involve more subjective methods, such as visual observations.
HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography)
HPLC stands for high performance liquid chromatography. HPLC validation methods can pinpoint exact ingredients. This validation method uses pressure to force a solution through columns to separate, identify and quantify each of its components.
The columns are filled with a solid adsorbent substance. As the solution is forced through the column, each of its components reacts differently to this substance. This results in varying flow rates for each component in the solution. The sample solution is separated into its individual elements by the rate at which they flow out of the column.
Once the individual components of the sample solution are separated, various types of detectors can be used for identification. Some common detectors include:
CAD – charged aerosol detector
DAD – diode array detector
MS – mass spectrometry
HPLC validation methods separate liquids into their individual components. This information is then used to determine the level of residue of an individual component so that predetermined acceptable levels of cleanliness are met. HPLC is the most common type of quantitative cleaning validation method currently used.
TOC (Total Organic Carbon)
TOC stands for total organic compound. TOC validation methods detect carbon content in a tested sample. The results are not ingredient specific. The amount of carbon in the sample can come from any one of a number of varying sources including contamination, a dirty tank, testing equipment, ingredient residue or cleaner residue. The objective is that the overall results of TOC testing meet the predetermined acceptable levels. Results that exceed the predetermined levels are not acceptable.
UV VIS stands for ultraviolet visible spectroscopy. This detection method relies upon the absorption of light to quantitate chemicals at specific wavelengths. Sometimes, a chemical agent is added to the rinse water sample to make key ingredients visible. Chemicals absorb light differently at different wavelengths.
Methylene blue, for example, is routinely used to react to sulfonate surfactants and detect detergent residue. The intensity of the color is an indication of how much sulfonate remains in the sample.
In the illustration above, the fluid at the top of the tubes shows the water in the solution. The fluid on the bottom indicates the amount of chloroform in the test sample. As the concentration of Micro-90 increases, more sulfonate is being pulled out of the top water level by methylene blue and the methylene blue-sulfonate complex enters the bottom chloroform layer resulting in an increasing blue intensity.
UV VIS is an older technology and is not as used as often as HPLC.
The Role Of The Cleaner Manufacturer
Cleaning validation is a critical part of the manufacturing process in regulated industries. Validation methods must be developed, planned and included in the production method. Since cleaning validation methods are unique to the cleaner used, it makes sense to expect the manufacturer to provide support. By relying on the cleaner manufacturer for detailed validation methods, manufacturers in regulated industries can focus their resources on manufacturing and product development, saving a great deal of time and money.
Comments Off on How do I Choose the Best Detergent for My Cleaning Application?
It’s easy to see that you have a dirty surface that needs to be cleaned. Figuring out what type of cleaner to use can be tricky! Choosing the right product from the outset will make your cleaning task easier, quicker and more efficient. So, how do you know which detergent to use?
Dirt is Dirt, Right?
Absolutely not! All soils are different and need to be treated properly. A detergent that works well for cleaning grease and oil might not be the best choice for getting rid of soap scum or starchy soils. While some cleaners may work well for a broad spectrum of soils, others may be needed to target specific types of dirt.
Alkaline cleaners work well for organic soils like oils and grease, while acid based cleaners are more effective on inorganic soils such metals and salts. Knowing what type of soil you are dealing with is an important step to choosing the right detergent.
This helpful chart matches detergents to soils commonly found on parts and equipment in laboratories, pharmaceutical plants, food & beverage manufacturing sites, medical devices, filter membranes and manufacturing facilities.
What are You Cleaning?
Glass? Metal? Rubber? Electronic parts? Filter membranes? Understanding how different detergents affect different surfaces will certainly have an impact on your choice of cleaner. It’s important to be sure that the detergent you are using is compatible with the surface you are cleaning.
The manufacturer of the cleaner should be able to provide you with compatibility information for the product you are using.
How are You Cleaning?
The cleaning method you plan to use also plays a role in choosing a detergent. Some of the more common methods used in manufacturing and laboratory applications include:
• Ultrasonic cleaning
• CIP (clean-in place)
• Manual or hand wash
• Automatic washers
It’s important to choose a detergent that works well for your chosen cleaning method. For example, if you are using an automatic washer it’s wise to use a low foaming cleaner. Otherwise you may end up with a room full of foamy suds. While this is great fodder for TV sitcoms, it’s not so funny in real life.
Is Your Cleaner Safe?
There are many cleaners on the market that do a great job at removing dirt, but they contain solvents and other harmful ingredients. Look for cleaners that are both effective and safe. Many cleaners are biodegradable. Try to avoid products that contain phosphates, solvents, silicates, phenols, and substances of very high concern.
International Products Corporation’s (IPC) cleaners are safe for personnel, materials, equipment and the environment. Yet, they are powerful enough to remove the most difficult soils. This makes them excellent alternatives to hazardous solvents and chemicals frequently used for precision cleaning applications.
The Manufacturer Matters
When you select a product for your critical cleaning application you should be equally as concerned with the support provided by the manufacturer as you are with the product performance.The benefits of working with an experienced specialty cleaner manufacturer are that they can offer technical guidance and provide a variety of products to best meet your needs. Cleaner manufacturers should be able to assist their customers by providing validation methods, compatibility studies, toxicology reports, regulatory compliance, free product samples, and technical support.
There are so many variables that exist in choosing the right cleaning product. Remember to consider the soils, the surfaces, the cleaning method, the safety and the manufacturer. With careful thought and planning you can find a cleaner that meets all of your specifications. Choosing wisely makes a difference!
Download IPC’s ePaper for more information about choosing a cleaner and establishing the right cleaning parameters.
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5 Ways To Know When To Change Your Cleaning Solution
Choosing the best cleaner for your critical cleaning application takes time and careful consideration. With so many choices out there it can be difficult to figure out which cleaner is the best choice for your specific needs. Factors to consider:
• What is the surface being cleaned?
• What are the soils?
• What’s your cleaning method? Manual? CIP? Machine? Ultrasonic?
• What is the cleaning temperature?
• Do you need a validation method?
You’ve done your homework, run trials and have chosen the right cleaner for your cleaning application. Now it’s time to start to clean!
How much cleaner should I use?
Determining how much cleaner to use will vary based on the parameters of your unique cleaning application. International Products Corporation (IPC) recommends using a 1% – 2% concentration of their specialty cleaners for most applications. Pouring the water into the tank first, and then adding the detergent, helps to avoid excess foaming when preparing your cleaning solution. The chart below is helpful:
How do I know when it’s time to change the solution?
For many industrial and critical cleaning applications, it is extremely important to use a consistent cleaning process and keep the cleaning solution at a desired strength. Concentration control methods are procedures used to determine the concentration of a cleaning solution to ensure process consistency. When the concentration of the detergent drops, you know it’s time to change it.
IPC recommends five methods for testing the cleaning solution to determine the cleaner concentration:
1. Refractive index
3. Total alkalinity
4. Total acidity
5. Foam height
Refractive index is the “measure of the bending of a ray of light when passing from one medium into another.”¹ A refractometer is used to measure refraction. The refractive index is one way of measuring the amount of a substance in an aqueous solution. A higher refractive index indicates a higher amount of cleaner present in the solution. Conversely, a lower refractive index indicates a lower concentration of cleaner in the solution. If changes to the refractive index are found, it’s time to change your cleaning solution.
Conductivity “measures the ability of a given substance to conduct an electric current.”² Conductivity, measured in micro-siemens, can be used to determine the concentration of a cleaning solution. Cleaning solutions have a higher conductivity than water. So, a drop in the level of micro-siemens in your solution is an indication that it’s time to replace it.
This method is used for cleaners that are alkaline based (a pH above 7). Total alkalinity measures the ability of a cleaner to neutralize acid. It assesses the cleaning solution’s buffering capacity – its resistance to changes in pH caused by acid. Total alkalinity is tested by performing a titration, a technique where a solution of known concentration is used to determine the unknown concentration of another solution.
Alkaline builders bind hard water ions, so the surfactants can do their job. Without sufficient alkaline builders, the surfactants would come out of solution and become ineffective.
If the results show that the pH of your solution has decreased by one full pH unit, it’s a good indication that it’s time to change your cleaning solution.
This method is used for cleaners that are acid based (a pH below 7). Total acidity measures the ability of a cleaner to neutralize alkalinity. Similar to total alkalinity, total acidity is also tested by performing a titration. Changes in the pH of your cleaning solution occur once the soil load capacity of the cleaner has been saturated, indicating it’s time to change the solution.
Surfactants in cleaning solutions reduce surface tension, and, as a result, air may become entrapped. This leads to the formation of small bubbles or foam. If the cleaning solution is agitated, either by shaking vigorously by hand or in a blender, a layer of foam will form. The total volume can be measured in a graduated cylinder, and a foam level curve can be created by plotting the known concentration of the detergent versus the measured total volume. If the foam heights of various known concentrations of detergent are calculated, an equation can be created to determine the concentration of future cleaning solutions whose concentration level is unknown.
All of these methods for calculating the concentration of detergent in a cleaning solution can be converted into simple equations. The data obtained can be plotted on a graph and the slope of the line can be used to calculate the concentration of detergent in your cleaning solution. If you see that the amount of detergent has dropped, you know it’s time to change your cleaning solution.
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10 Easy Steps for Cleaning Your Tablet Press
Nothing can slow production down like equipment that malfunctions or stops working altogether. Performing regular, preventative maintenance of equipment is essential and helps keep pharmaceutical tablet presses functioning efficiently and smoothly.
Tablet presses that are not well maintained can cause a multitude of problems, creating defective products that are mal-formed, contaminated or contain improper dosages. One of the most important steps to maintaining your tablet press is keeping it clean. It’s also important to have systems in place to validate and document the cleanliness of the equipment.
10 Key Steps For Cleaning Tablet Presses:
1.Clean the Exterior: Wipe away all visible dirt on the exterior of the press and vacuum off any excess formulation. Do not use compressed air to blow off excess powders. Compressed air can trap powders in hidden housings, crevices and pockets causing problems down the line. 2.Visual Inspection: Examine the press to assess the condition of the parts. Look for signs of wear or damage on tablet punches and punch heads, and earmark any parts that need repair or replacement. 3.Prepare the Press for Cleaning: Carefully dismantle removable machine parts for thorough cleaning. Tooling, punch heads, feed frames, guards and plates can often be removed for cleaning purposes. 4.Use the Proper Equipment: Stiff nylon punch guide brushes and die seat cleaning tools help to access hidden areas of the press that might contain traces of debris. It’s important not to use any unnecessary force, since tablet presses are delicate and can be easily damaged if not carefully handled. 5.Choose the Right Cleaner: Your choice of cleaner will depend largely upon the soils that are on your press. Are you removing Oils? Gels? Starches? Enzymes? Use this chart to help match a cleaner to the soil. You’ll also want to consider the surface you are cleaning to be sure you are choosing a compatible cleaner.
6. Set Up a Proper Cleaning Method: In addition to using the right cleaning product, it’s also important to consider other variables to establish your cleaning protocol. All of the following should be considered:
a. Amount of Detergent
c. Dwell time
d. Cleaning method
e. Type of water
7. Rinse: Thorough rinsing should follow the cleaning. Rinsing removes any excess detergent left on the item. For critical cleaning applications it is best to use deionized or distilled water, as rinsing with ordinary water may introduce new contaminates. 8. Validation: Cleaning validation helps identify if there is any remaining residue from soils and cleaners, and helps prevent contamination. Quantitative validation methods, available from most manufacturers, should be used for critical cleaning applications. 9. Disinfect: If required, disinfection should be done after the press is cleaned and soils are removed. 10. Dry Parts Thoroughly: Parts should be completely dried to prevent rusting, corrosion or discoloration.
Setting up an established cleaning routine for your tablet press will help keep it running smoothly and efficiently, and may even extend the serviceable life of your equipment. Regular cleaning will also help prevent regulatory issues and product problems. A few small steps spent on regular cleaning can be a giant leap toward savings and efficiency in the long run.
For more information on setting up a cleaning regimen and choosing the right cleaner for your application, visit International Products Corporation’s website or contact one of our technical specialists for assistance.
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It’s January, the start of a new year and a time when people traditionally promise to make positive changes. Maybe it’s a commitment to exercising or healthy eating, a vow to save money, or maybe even a pledge to stop smoking. Whatever your resolution might be, most of us are in agreement that this is an excellent time of year to start fresh and engage in new behaviors.
So why not also set a New Year’s resolution for your professional life. The flip of the calendar is an excellent time to establish a regular maintenance plan for your laboratory equipment.
Just like a car, laboratory equipment must be properly maintained and kept in good working order. Car ownership comes with responsibilities like changing the oil, topping off fluids, rotating tires and washing the vehicle. Performing these actions regularly helps keep your automobile running smoothly, avoiding breakdowns. While no one likes the inconvenience of taking their car in for service, it’s much better than having to call and wait for emergency roadside assistance.
Likewise, proper maintenance of lab apparatus helps to ensure that your equipment is working correctly and your lab is functioning efficiently. Analyzers, centrifuges and microscopes have to provide accurate readings, and pipettes, beakers, slides and flasks need to be kept clean. Failure to properly maintain lab equipment can have a direct impact on test results.
5 Steps for Maintaining Lab Equipment:
Inspect equipment on a regular basis. Examining equipment regularly helps discover any irregularities and ensures repairs are made on a timely basis, preventing damages from getting worse. Malfunctioning lab equipment should be repaired at once. 2. Repair/Refurbish
Refurbished equipment is completely disassembled and thoroughly cleaned. Some parts are polished and some may need lubrication. Faulty parts can be replaced. The reassembled apparatus frequently works just as well as a brand new piece of equipment. 3. Calibration
Keeping your equipment properly calibrated helps increase its accuracy to ensure that data is not corrupted. Inaccurate calibration can result in skewed data. 4. Clean, Clean, Clean
Regular cleaning is one of the easiest ways to keep your equipment functioning properly. Apparatus that is not thoroughly cleaned can yield inconsistent results. The exterior surfaces of all equipment should be wiped down on a daily basis, after each use. A complete cleaning should be performed at least once a week. Be sure to take these factors into consideration:
5. Maintain Safety Standards
A well-organized lab will run more efficiently. Supplies and chemicals should be clearly labeled and stored. Safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers, showers, first aid kits, and eye wash should be present and well maintained. Lab personnel should be sure to wear protective gear such as gloves, goggles, lab coats and masks. Chemicals should be disposed of properly as instructed on the SDS.
Properly maintained lab equipment is essential for accuracy and consistency of test results. Investing the time and money to set up and follow a regular maintenance plan will provide long-term savings by keeping your laboratory functioning smoothly and efficiently. This is one New Year’s resolution you’ll certainly want to keep!
When it comes time to choose a product for critical cleaning applications most of us are concerned with performance. We want a powerful cleaner that will remove all soils and get the job done. But, have you ever stopped to wonder about the environmental effects of that product?
What if you found a powerful, effective cleaner that was also environmentally friendly and safe for all personnel? What if the cleaner was actually biodegradable? Do these products exist? Can you find a safe precision cleaner that delivers the exceptional performance you’re seeking?
IPC’s cleaners are safe for personnel, materials and equipment, and the environment. Yet, they are powerful enough to remove the most difficult soils. This makes them excellent alternatives to hazardous solvents and chemicals frequently used for precision cleaning applications.
Micro® Green Clean is an industrial-strength, free-rinsing, multi-purpose hard surface cleaner designed for use in a wide range of cleaning applications. Target soils include grease, oil and biological debris. It is excellent for cleaning metals, ceramics, medical instruments, food-processing equipment, filter membranes, and other surfaces.
Micro® A07 is a powerful blend of chelating citric acid and anionic surfactants designed to remove salts, soap scum, metal oxides, hard water scale, grease, rust, milkstone, mineral deposits and inorganic material from filter membranes, labware, and industrial equipment.
Zymit® Pro is a neutral-pH cleaner formulated with a unique blend of protease enzymes, surfactants, and builders that work together to remove tough protein-based soils. The enzymes dissolve the soils, and the detergents help lift and wash them away. Target soils include food, gelatin, and biological materials such as blood, fat, and tissue. Zymit® Pro is effective for cleaning filter membranes, metals, ceramics, plastics, medical instruments and devices, food processing equipment, and other surfaces.
When cleanliness counts, you can count on IPC’s full line of specialty cleaners. IPC’s mild, yet powerful precision cleaners destroy dirt and help keep workers and the environment safe. Registered with the NSF as USDA A1 cleaners, IPC’s precision cleaners are effective for cleaning a broad spectrum of soils from all types of surfaces and have helped companies in the most highly regulated industries solve their cleaning challenges.
What’s in your plant? Replace traditionally used corrosives, phosphates, solvents, petroleum distillates, and other hazardous chemicals with safe yet powerful precision cleaners. Learn more here or contact IPC’s technical team for help with choosing the right solution for your cleaning application.
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Removing stubborn soils can be challenging. Oil, grease, gels, wax, dyes, flux, emulsifiers and biological debris are just some of the soils that are difficult to get rid of. It can be a daunting task to find a cleaner powerful enough to remove these soils, and is also non-hazardous and environmentally friendly.
Enter Micro-90® Micro-90 is a mild, yet powerful, multi-purpose, formulated cleaner that is effective in both industrial and critical cleaning applications. This unique detergent contains chelants and anionic and nonionic ingredients which combine to produce a variety of cleaning actions. Micro-90 lifts, disperses, emulsifies, sequesters, suspends, and decomposes soils. Once rinsed away, surfaces are thoroughly clean without any residue.
Micro-90 is designed for a wide range of applications. It can be used to remove oil, grease, resin, tar, wax, biological material, insoluble oxides, gels, dyes, fine particles, flux, emulsifiers and many other soils. Micro-90 is excellent at cleaning metal, glass, ceramic, rubber, plastic, gemstones, filter membranes and most other hard surfaces.
In the video you can watch as Micro-90 removes heavy soil build-up from ceramic tiles and metal surfaces. Soils shown in this example include simulated bathroom grease and oil, baked on kitchen grease and mineral-based soils. A 2% concentration of Micro-90 in water is all that is needed to remove dirt and restore cleanliness to surfaces. You can actually watch dirt lifting off the objects and when finished, they look just like new!
7 Reasons You Should Use Micro-90 Concentrated Cleaning Solution: