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Preventing Cross Contamination With Tacky Mats

11th August 2023
Preventing Cross Contamination With Tacky Mats

In any industry or environment where cleanliness and hygiene are paramount, preventing contamination is vital. Whether it's labs and hospitals or manufacturing facilities, hotel kitchens, or construction entries, contamination can lead to severe consequences, ranging from compromised research results to spreading infections and diseases. The tacky mat is one effective tool that’s proven instrumental in reducing contamination risks.

A simple yet effective concept, adhesive tacky mats are an effective preventive measure that traps dirt, dust, and other bacteria-carrying particles from the soles of shoes or any traffic passing over them. This blog looks at how to prevent cross-contamination between areas and explores how tacky mats offer an efficient and practical way to maintain cleanliness and protect critical environments.

The importance of contamination prevention

Cross-contamination, the transfer of potentially harmful substances from one surface to another, can be a significant risk in clean rooms / critical environments like surgical theatres, medical rooms, and manufacturing plants and warehouses. It can occur through direct or indirect contact, putting experiments at risk, spreading infections, or contaminating electrical products.

Common sources of contamination include human contact, unsuitable sanitation, and uncontrolled movement of people or objects. Preventive measures like hand hygiene, protective barriers, and specialised equipment like adhesive floor mats (tacky mats) greatly reduce contamination risks.

What are tacky mats?

Tacky mats are adhesive floor entrance mats designed to prevent contamination in controlled environments. Made up of multiple layers of sticky sheets coated with adhesive, these mats are positioned at entrances or transition points with high foot traffic. 

As people or equipment cross over the peel-off mats, they remove unwanted particulates, capturing and retaining dirt, bacteria, pollen, and dust from shoes and wheels, ensuring that potential pollutants do not transfer or spread into clean areas. 

Tacky mats are essential in environments like laboratories, cleanrooms, and manufacturing facilities, where cleanliness and hygiene are vital. Being the initial barrier, tacky mats significantly reduce the risk of cross-contamination, improving hygiene throughout sensitive environments and protecting against compromised experiments, product contamination, and the potential transmission of infections.

The proper placement of tacky mats

Identifying high-risk areas for contamination transfer is crucial as it allows for the correct placement of tacky mats to maximise their effectiveness. By carefully assessing foot traffic patterns and potential sources of contamination, such as labs & hospitals or any entrances, these mats can be positioned precisely where they’ll have the most significant impact. 

Placing tacky floor entrance mats at the main access points of controlled environments ensures that contaminants from outside are captured before they can enter clean areas. Proper placement of tacky mats enhances their efficiency and plays a pivotal role in maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene of vital settings.

When should you replace your tacky mat?

Tacky mats are designed with multiple layers of adhesive-coated sheets. As the top layer becomes soiled and contaminated, it’s easy to see when it needs to be peeled off to reveal a fresh, clean sheet underneath. This simplicity means that the level of care and maintenance your tacky mats need is little to none.

Over time, the adhesive surface may become less sticky and effective in capturing contaminants, and mat replacement can range from every few hours to every few days or weeks. However, the timescale for this depends on the level of foot traffic and contamination, the cleanliness of the surrounding environment, and, most importantly, the placement of the mat.

If the area leading towards the mat is cleaned several times a day, even with heavy traffic, the tacky mat may last days. However, if the preceding area isn’t cleaned regularly, then even with light foot traffic, the mat may only last a few hours before becoming too contaminated to use effectively.

But the transparent nature of a tacky mat allows you to visibly see the contamination build-up. This visibility means the mats can be replaced, maintaining their effectiveness in controlling contamination. If more replacements are needed, one of the advantages of single-use tacky mats, such as our Sureclean tacky mat packs, is they offer a quick and easy way to keep specific areas clean and dirt-free.

Industry-specific applications

In healthcare facilities, including hospitals and clinics, tacky mats are highly suggested at entry points to control the spread of bacteria or infection. They’re also valuable in surgical rooms/medical offices, where maintaining sterile environments is essential. Medical labs also benefit from tacky mats to safeguard research by minimising the introduction of contaminants that could compromise experiments or sample analysis.

In the manufacturing and warehouse sectors, tacky mats play their role in maintaining cleanliness in certain areas. Placing these mats near entryways helps trap dirt and debris from employees' shoes, reducing the risk of contaminants entering sensitive production processes. 

Cleanroom environments in manufacturing or aerospace industries rely heavily on tacky mats to preserve the purity of products and prevent defects caused by minute particles. Additionally, tacky mats are often recommended in lunch room/kitchen environments, where food hygiene is paramount, to avoid the spread of contaminants and ensure a safe food processing environment. 

Thanks to the benefits of tacky mats, they provide effective contaminant protection in various industries, helping to increase safety and enhance cleanliness and reduced contamination transfer risks.

Types of sticky mats

Tacky mats work in the same way but come in various sizes and types to suit different applications in contamination prevention. These specialised mats offer a simple yet effective way to trap contaminants, maintaining cleanliness in diverse industries and environments. So choosing the right contamination control mats is essential. Here are some of the most common options:

Standard tacky mats: These are the most common type of tacky mats, coming as a stack of layered adhesive sheets, with the bottom layer sticking to the floor with adhesive backing. Once a sheet becomes dirty or loses its stickiness, it can be peeled off to reveal a fresh, clean layer underneath. Standard tacky mats are commonly used where frequent replacement is preferred for a hassle-free approach to maintaining cleanliness.

Anti-microbial tacky mats: These mats incorporate anti-microbial technology into the adhesive layers, providing an extra level of protection against bacteria and contamination in critical areas like cleanrooms and labs for improved hygiene.

Heavy-duty tacky mats: These mats are designed for more rugged environments, such as construction sites, with more debris, higher foot traffic, or heavier equipment. They have thicker, more durable layers of cotton treated with tacky resin to withstand frequent and heavy use.

Stop contamination transfer with MatsDirect UK

Tacky mats are a reliable and efficient defence against contamination transfer in various industries. Whether single-use or reusable, these sticky floor mats are vital in maintaining cleanliness in uncontaminated areas, safeguarding health, research accuracy, and ensuring the production of safe and uncontaminated products. For more information or advice on our tacky mats, contact MatsDirect UK today by calling us on 0161 797 6785, emailing us at, or sending us a message.



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