Seven Reasons to Utilize Revolutionary Automatic Shoe Cover Dispensers and Removers

There are multiple methods for businesses and organizations to keep their facilities clean and minimize or prevent contamination from the wide variety of contaminants that exist on shoes.  The four most prevalent options are shoe covers/booties (disposable or reusable), dedicated/facility shoes, sticky/tacky mats, and chemical baths.  The relative pros and cons of these will be discussed in a future blog post.  This blog post focuses on shoe covers and a revolutionary technology for putting them on and taking them off.

Shoe covers are essential in many applications for keeping environments clean and free from contamination.  In some cases, you want to prevent whatever is on the floor from getting on your shoes.  Other times you want or need to prevent contaminants on your shoes from getting on the floors in your environment for maintenance and sanitation, health and safety, infection control and other reasons.  In the past people had to apply and remove their shoe covers manually, but this is time-consuming, can be dangerous, and is definitely not clean.  Alternatively, many entities are now utilizing automatic shoe cover dispensers and removers to address these issues.  Here are seven reasons why:

  • Speed: it’s faster

No bones about it, putting shoe covers on the old-fashioned way is time-consuming – the entire process, which includes grabbing a pair of shoe covers and finding a place to put them on, easily takes somewhere between 30 and 45 seconds each and every time.  Removing them can take even longer, especially in an environment that requires more extensive hygiene practices.  With Shoe Inn’s revolutionary automatic shoe cover dispensers and removers, the time is reduced to about five (5) seconds!

  • Efficiency = productivity = $$$

Applying shoe covers faster and more efficiently means employees can get to work faster. The Shoe Inn system makes the process of applying and removing shoe covers AT LEAST four times (4x) faster.  This significantly shorter gowning time equals increased efficiency that translates to increased productivity, meaning you are not wasting money paying your employees to put on shoe covers but instead are paying them in their work environment where they are being productive. Cumulatively, these small time saving increments add up to big savings for your business!

  • Easy breezy

Putting shoe covers on is easy for some people, a walk in the park.  However, for others it can be a real challenge for a variety of legitimate reasons. Many, many times we’ve been told by people at tradeshows (with colorful, choice words) how much they despise, detest, even flat out refuse to put shoe covers on.  Employ automatic shoe cover dispensers, which make it so much easier to put booties on, and those challenges and objections will vanish, thereby increasing compliance.  Same goes for the remover, just at the back end of the process.

  • Safety rules

Automatic shoe cover dispensers and removers keep employees and visitors safer by iStock_000020353612Largereducing the risk of injuring themselves while putting shoe covers on and taking them off.  Instead of bouncing around while attempting to balance on one foot and lifting the other leg, which we have dubbed the “bootie hop” (see The Bootie Hop video), people can safely apply and remove their shoe covers in an ergonomically friendly manner.  The handlebars found on the Shoe Inn Stay dispenser and both ASCR removers make it even safer and easier.  Say goodbye to those workers’ comp claims!

  • It’s cleaner

Open hand raised, Stop Bacteria sign painted, multi purpose concPutting shoe covers on and taking them off by hand is dirty business.  Your shoes, particularly the bottoms, are gross – just think about everything you’ve stepped in and on while walking around streets, parking lots, subways, parks, trails, public bathrooms, etc.  It is almost inevitable that you’re going to touch your shoes while putting shoe covers on manually and thus contaminate your hands.  Depending on the environment, used shoe covers can be soiled as well so automatic shoe cover removers do the dirty work for you.

  • Save precious space

Oftentimes wherever shoe covers need to be put on and/or taken off, space is at a Cleanroom employee putting on shoe covers and using a sticky matpremium.  Gowning benches and chairs take up space and can be obstructions.  Shoe cover dispensers and removers take up much less space, especially proportionately when factoring in how much more efficient they are in facilitating people getting through the process.  Fewer benches and chairs mean more space for other necessities.

  • Dressed to impress

Starward-virtual-proof-2Manually putting shoe covers on and taking them off is so old school.  While there will always be a place for doing certain things the old-fashioned way, why not look professional and impress your customers, visitors, regulators, inspectors and auditors?  In fact, you can customize your Shoe Inn dispensers and removers with your corporate logo, motto/slogan, contact information, etc. to further cement your brand.

As you can see, there are many benefits to implementing an automatic shoe cover dispensing and removal system.  Want to know more?  Check out our line of shoe cover dispensers, shoe covers and removers or contact us.  At Shoe Inn, we make putting shoe covers on and taking them off faster, easier, safer and cleaner!

How to Transition from ‘Dirty’ to ‘Clean’ While Booting Up in a Gowning Room

Prior to entering a cleanroom, employees need to get “gowned up” in special clothing designed to trap contaminants that are naturally generated by our bodies.  Depending on the room classification or function, personnel gowning may be as limited as hairnets/beard covers and lab coats, or as extensive as being fully enveloped in multiple layered bunny suits with self-contained breathing apparatus.

The Gowning Room

cleanroom-gowning-area-600

Cleanroom personnel generally “boot up” in dedicated shoes or shoe covers, and in order to make sure they don’t get contaminants on the shoe covers before entering the cleanroom, they typically follow a transition protocol from the “dirty” to the “clean” side of the floor/room.  This usually entails a gowning bench or chair placed along a line that has been taped or painted on the floor, or along the line between two different colored floor tiles.  While sitting, the employee puts the first shoe cover on, puts that foot down on the “clean” side, then repeats the action for the second foot.  Sometimes regular shoe covers tear while being put on, so the employee has to take them off, throw them away, and start the process over again.

A much easier, safer, and faster way of putting shoe covers on is to use a Shoe Inn automatic shoe cover dispenser.  These dispensers are similarly placed along the line between the “dirty” and “clean” parts of the floor.  In this setup, while standing on the “dirty” side, the employee puts the first shoe cover on, puts that foot down on the “clean” side, then repeats the action with the second foot and proceeds to the next step in the gowning process.  Because the employee does not have to go grab precisely two shoe covers, walk to the bench, sit down, put the shoe covers on, and stand back up, not to mention not having to deal with improperly sized and torn shoe covers, the “booting up” process is much more efficient, which can help alleviate gowning room bottlenecks and significantly improve productivity.

Sticky Mat Protocol for Use in Cleanrooms

Shoes on sticky mats
Sticky mats help trap dirt!

While many companies use shoe covers to prevent contamination, many Shoe Inn customers also use sticky mats to maximize contamination prevention.  The utilization of multi-layer adhesive mats for cleanrooms is almost universal. However, how the mats are used is unique to each cleanroom. Mats can vary in size, color, number, and placement based on the logistics and characteristics of each individual cleanroom.

Placement

Mats should be placed in an area where they will be on clean, hard flooring. They should be placed just before or just after the ingress/egress point for each cleanliness or control change. It is suggested that the placement sites are worked backward from the final clean area or cleanroom.
Cleanroom employee putting on shoe covers and using a sticky mat

  • cleanroom – gowning area
  • cleanroom – staging area
  • gowning area – control area
  • control area – common hallway
  • common hallway – warehouse or receiving
  • common hallway – public area

Matting should be placed so that all those passing through that point must step on the mats. Matting should be placed with the longer dimension of the mat in the same direction as the traffic flow for maximum footfalls on each mat. The minimum number of footfalls should be two with each foot for each location.

Size

The proper size mat for each area of placement depends on the width of the opening and the variance and direction of the traffic. Normally the width of the mat should be 2/3rds to 3/4ths of the width of the doorway. It does not normally need to cover the full width because ordinary traffic passes through the middle of the doorway and not along the edge. However, if the traffic enters at a sharp angle or from the side of the entryway, then the width of the mat needs to be wider than the doorway to allow for enough footfalls.

As stated above, the length of the mat should be long enough to provide at least two footfalls with each foot at each location. Usually this is a minimum of 45 inches.

Color

The color of the mats, which has no effect on the function of the mat, can vary from standard blue, white, and grey to custom colors and printed messages. In general, white shows the most dirt and particulates, and is normally preferred to make sure the layers are changed at frequent enough intervals. However, grey and blue work just as well when a maintenance schedule is set.

Layer MaintenanceSticky mat with shoes and cart

How often the layers should be removed depends on a number of factors:

  • How dirty the area the personnel are coming from is.
  • The number of people or pairs of feet per shift or per hour.
  • The difference in cleanliness between the areas.
  • The size of the mats and how many mats or locations are in the series.

In general, areas farther away from the cleanroom will be dirtier. Changing the layers at this point of use every half hour would be a benchmark with which to start. The final entry area into the cleanroom is probably from a clean area to a very clean area and each layer may last 4 to 8 hours.

However, this is just a rough guideline and each point of use will vary greatly. A few days of use and observation will help to determine the optimal mat layer change interval.

Installation

  1. Before placing a new mat down or replacing an existing mat, thoroughly clean the surface to remove contamination that may act as a barrier and keep the mat from properly adhering to the floor. Make sure to remove any adhesive residue if you are replacing an existing mat. It is recommended to use a pre-saturated wiper that contains a percentage of isopropyl alcohol. Make sure the surface is completely dry before application.
  2. To apply the mat, remove half of the release liner in the long direction of the mat, which will help with the alignment of the mat.
  3. Once you have the mat properly aligned in the location you want, start smoothing out the half of the mat with the adhesive exposed. Start at one end and work toward the middle making sure you do not trap air under the mat as you go, then remove the rest of the release liner and smooth the rest of the mat out in the same direction in which you removed the release liner.

Storage

Matting should be stored flat and for several hours in similar climate conditions as the point of use. For ideal results, the mats should be used in a controlled environment setting but may be placed in any area that has a temperature of 54-95 oF (12-35 oC).

Long-term storage of mats should always be on a flat and hard surface. Storage on the original shipping pallet is recommended. Normal warehouse conditions are usually acceptable but extreme temperatures (less than 32 or greater than 105 oF / 0 or 40 oC) should be avoided.

Storage of mats longer than one year from the date of purchase is not recommended. However, under normal storage conditions, matting should not have any variation in performance for a period of up to three years.

Summary

The utilization of multi-layer sticky mats for cleanrooms is almost universal.  In fact, many customers who use the Shoe Inn automatic shoe cover dispensing system also use these adhesive mats to further help prevent contamination within controlled environments.  Depending on various factors such as how dirty the area the personnel are coming from is and the level of cleanliness desired or mandated, this combined approach may be advisable or even required.