Using the Helmke Drum Test in Cleanroom Laundry Processing

The Helmke drum test is widely accepted and used by cleanroom laundries to determine the efficiency of the cleaning process. It is a dry test for microcontamination levels and certifies cleanroom garments prior to being used in a controlled environment. The Helmke test is for evaluating the performance of the garments to protect the cleanroom environment by measuring the particles generated by the garment itself. In this test, a garment is placed in a rotating stainless steel drum and tumbled for ten minutes while airborne particles larger than 0.5 microns are counted in the drum’s interior.

The Helmke test is used as a supplement to the ISO 14644 classification standard on air cleanliness and ensures the cleanroom environment has been maintained.

At Huebsch, we apply the Helmke test to each account as it moves through the laundering process. Each of the cleanroom apparel accounts that leave our laundering facility are checked to make sure there isn’t potential for causing contamination in our customers’ clean rooms.

When is the Helmke test applied in the Huebsch cleanroom laundering process?

  1. Cleanroom garment account enters the pass-through wash system from outside of the controlled environment.
  2. Cleanroom garments are washed using our proprietary formulas.
  3. Cleanroom garments are dried.
  4. One cleanroom garment per account is verified with the Helmke test to ensure cleanliness.
  5. Cleanroom garments are monitored throughout the process for mending and replacement needs.
  6. Each cleanroom garment is individually packaged and fully sealed for scheduled delivery.

For cleanroom customers, this additional step on every account during processing provides peace of mind.

“Since details matter a lot in controlled environments, the Helmke tester provides a scientific test and the results provide an internal auditable record for every account,” said Ty Ellis, Huebsch Business Manager. “We can ensure clean.”

If you have concerns about your current cleanroom uniform program, contact us. We’re here to help.