Cleaning a Laminar Airflow Hood: A Step-by-Step Guide


What is a Laminar Airflow Hood?

Laminar Airflow Hoods, also known as Laminar Flow Hoods, are enclosed physical spaces designed to serve as barriers. They protect materials, laboratory workers, and the laboratory environment from various sources of contamination and exposure to hazardous materials within the hood.

One critical component of a Laminar Airflow Hood is the use of a HEPA Filter. This filter enables air to flow through the unit, ensuring the desired level of cleanliness.

Some of the most critical benefits of laminar airflow hoods include:

  • Consistent and efficient air filtration
  • Improved workspace organization
  • Enhanced safety and hygiene
  • Cost savings and reduced operational expenses

Maintaining Cleanliness and Preventing Cross-Contamination

Cross-contamination poses a significant risk in laboratories. To prevent it, regular cleaning protocols must be followed. Since laminar airflow hoods are designed to provide a sterile environment, it’s crucial to understand how to keep them clean.

Regardless of whether you have a vertical or horizontal laminar flow hood, regular cleaning is essential to maintain the integrity of the environment. However, it’s important to note that the filter should not be cleaned. Instead, it should be replaced within the manufacturer’s recommended timeframe.

Equipment Required

  • Before entering the cleanroom environment, gather the necessary equipment.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) is mandatory, including cleanroom gloves, eye protection, hair net, face mask, and a lab gown. Sterile garments may be required as determined by the hood manufacturer.
  • Lint-free cleanroom wipes
  • If working with noxious fumes, a respirator should also be worn.
  • Additionally, wear full-coverage shoes with shoe covers.
  • Use a cleaning solution recommended for your specific unit. 70% isopropyl alcohol is a common for general cleaning purposes.

Cleaning Process

  1. As with any controlled environment, it is recommend to clean from the top down, starting with the ceiling and working from the back to front. *If it is a vertical laminar flow hood, start by cleaning the back of the until since the HEPA is located on the ceiling.
  2. Do not wipe in circular motions. For efficient wiping, wipe in one direction using parallel, overlapping strokes starting from the cleanest area and wiping towards the least clean area.
  3. Use a clean wiper surface for each wiping stroke.
  4. Dispose of contaminated wipes after single use.

By following these best practices for laminar flow hood hygiene, you can ensure a clean and safe working environment in your laboratory. Remember to conduct regular cleaning and maintenance, as instructed, to avoid compromising the sterile environment.

For the most accurate and effective cleaning instructions, always consult your cleanroom manual and any manufacturer guidelines provided for your laminar flow hood unit.