The need for microbiological control in the manufacture of personal care wet wipes and related products is, for the most part, a well established concept in the wet wipe industry. The means of accomplishing this goal, however, may not be as clearly defined or as effectively implemented as would be desired.
In terms of existing guidelines, the CTFA has provided a wealth of valuable general guidance in the CTFA Technical Guidelines. It is strongly suggested that these guidelines be consulted since they do provide an excellent overview of the basic requirements for good manufacturing practices as related to microbiological control.
However, the recent expansion of the wet wipe market (see sidebar) and consideration of the unique characteristics and qualities of personal care wipe production suggest that existing procedures and/or practices currently in place in many operations may require some adjustment. In order to control microbial contamination in this product form, it is necessary to have a complete understanding of the nature of the substrate raw materials, the requirements of the manufacturing environment, the complexity of the product system and the specialized equipment employed in the processing and packaging operations.
Up until this time, very little meaningful and comprehensive information has appeared in the literature relating to the identification of microbiological vulnerabilities in the wet wipe manufacturing process. In addition to the numerous questions associated with formulation and substrate interaction, the next most commonly sought after information appears to be focused on the effective microbiological control of the manufacturing environment as well as the various materials, equipment and personnel involved in the production operation.