Disposable tacky mats and peel-off mats are often used when it comes to contamination control procedures.

It is well known that critical environments, cleanroom or controlled areas should be protected within the manufacturing facility. This is to minimise the presence of both viable and non-viable contamination during manufacturing.

Foot and wheel-borne contamination are the two major sources of both viable and non-viable contamination. It is essential that some form of control or preferably, removing these particles entering cleanroom areas is practised. This is due to contamination particles which can affect productivity, product quality and cost.

Disposable tacky mats and sticky mats have been the go-to solution to use to reduce these forms of contamination for a while. However, there are many reasons to suggest why these so-called solutions are causing more problems than they are solving.

Tests by GlaxoSmithKline have proven that disposable sticky peel-off tacky mats are only 27% effective in preventing foot and wheel-borne contamination, yet there are various problems when it comes to using disposable sticky mats and peel-off mats.

Size matters

On average disposable tacky mats has a surface area that is five times smaller than your average Dycem Contamination Control floor mat. This is too small to decontaminate effectively and makes full wheel-borne decontamination almost impossible.

A singular peel-off mat at 2in by 4in can still cause up to 73% contamination to enter your critical environments. Even when ten of these sticky mats are put together, 20% of the contamination that is claimed to be captured is still entering your critical areas and contamination-free zones.

This shows that no matter how many sticky mats you put together, the risk of contamination entering areas that you don’t want it to is still very much high.

Not an a–peeling solution

Peeling away each used tacky mat from a disposable pack leaves you with a layer of contamination you are unsure what to do with. When ripping the sheets of plastic, you are releasing on average 215,000 particles back into the atmosphere with most of the waste particles returning to the air and surrounding environments or your protected area.

Peeling a disposable sticky mat generates a 20cm (8in) ball of waste each time a single mat is ripped. This makes enough waste to fill multiple skips in a single year.

As the surface area of the disposable sticky mat is exposed to contaminated particles, it should be treated as secondary waste. This costs more to remove safely and also cannot be used again.

It’s proven science

In tests comparing disposable tacky mats and peel-off sticky mats with polymeric flooring, there was found to be a much higher reduction in the microbial count for both wheel and foot contamination after contact with the polymeric flooring. This was comparing it with the results that were achieved for peel-off sticky mats.

Performance of the sticky mats is also greatly reduced with overstrikes. Overstriking happens when each person stops and takes at least three steps with each foot. To compare, if overstriking on polymeric flooring, a further 90.3% of particles are taken away from overshoes.

This is compared with an increase of up to 381.9% falling back on to the shoes using peel-off mats.

Imperfect and impractical

To achieve an adhesive peel-off mat’s optimum 27% effectiveness, they need to be peeled after every use. This is not only time wasting but it is also very impractical and a hazard to the areas that you are trying to protect.

Sticky peel-off mats also present a health and safety risk. The sticky surface often pulls and rips overshoes and causes a severe tripping hazard. It can also cause ripped pieces of the mat to wrap around wheels.

In addition, sticky mats cannot allow the three full wheel rotations needed to remove contamination from wheeled traffic. This makes it very hard to control cross-contamination in corridors.

Crippling cost

Disposable tacky mats and peel-off mats might seem to be the cheapest option at first glance and this would be ideal for companies and facilities who are looking for a quick fix and to save money.

However, when looking at polymeric flooring with peel-off sticky mats, polymeric flooring not only costs less over the longevity of both products but most critically it outperforms the main selling points that a peel-off sticky mat has to offer, by a long way.

The cost of disposable peel-off mat times by ten (to create the size needed for six footsteps or three full wheel rotations) is added to the number of peels per shift, multiplied by the number of shifts per day, then multiplied again by the days operational per year multiplied by 2.

Waste from disposable tacky mats

The contaminated waste, mixed with disposal costs created with disposable tacky mats are not to be ignored. Every peel of a sticky mat results in a 20cm ball of contaminated plastic waste. This ball is created when peeling off a mat layer, generating enough waste to fill multiple skips per year.

As this is classed as secondary waste, peel-off mats not only create an abundance of the unneeded waste again, cost becomes a factor as they are very expensive to dispose of properly at the end of their very short, working life. This, coupled with the usual placement of only one peel-off mat outside critical areas, can be very dangerous.

Get out of your sticky situation

Dycem’s contamination control floor mats offer lots of resolutions that peel-off sticky mats cannot offer. They are made with a patented polymeric compound with a natural tack, rather than a manufactured sticky feel like a sticky peel-off mat would have.

Dycem Mats are proven to keep up to 99.9% of foot and wheel-borne particles from going into unwanted areas. All of Dycem’s products can be cut to any length or width to make a large enough surface area to allow up to 99.9% decontamination of foot and wheel-borne traffic.

Dycem is easily placed into your standards of practice (SOP) and can be cleaned as part of your standard floor cleaning schedule. Dycem does not impact on your daily waste volumes and It can be removed of in the regular waste.

Tests have proven that when Dycem floor mats are viewed against sticky mats, the average percentage reduction for polymeric flooring was much greater for Dycem than for peel-off tacky mats. This was for both wheel and foot-borne contamination.

Dycem Floor Mats are also a washable solution rather than a disposable, peel-away solution. This cuts the costs and time that waste added significantly over time and use.

For microbial benefit, Biomaster is placed into all Dycem products. Biomaster is silver ion-based, anti-microbial addition. it is proven to provide effective and non-stop protection on more than 50 different organisms, including Salmonella, E. coli, listeria and MRSA. Sticky peel-off mats do not offer this feature.

Dycem also has room to reduce electrostatic discharge. This is due to all options having a surface resistivity of 108 ohms something again, peel-off sticky mats cannot offer.

Make the change today

If you wish to switch to from disposable sticky peel-off mats to a more longer-lasting,  environmentally friendly, washable and reusable solution, please speak to Dycem today using the contact form.