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How do you clean a respirator?

How do you clean a respirator?

Posted on Wednesday, 27 June 2018 by Shane Carroll
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As with most things, a respirator will last longer with proper care/maintenance - ie. cleaning and storing it well. But what does this mean? How do you clean a respirator? How often should you clean it? And what about storage? Here's some short and simple answers...

How do you clean a respirator?

Cleaning re-usable half or full face respirators is easy, and doesn't have to take too much time. You've got 2 options:
  1. Use pre-packaged respirator cleaning wipes; or
  2. Submerse the face-piece in warm (not hot) cleaning solution, and scrub with a soft brush.
The cleaning method will depend on how dirty the respirator is, and what substances you've been dealing with. In most instances, if you clean your respirator regularly the respirator wipes should do the job.
Note: filters, pre-filters and cartridges can not be cleaned, and should be disposed of as soon as they are used up (see How long does a respirator filter last?)

Instructions:

  1. Take off any filters attached to the mask.
  2. Either wipe over the mask with a respirator cleaning wipe, or immerse the mask in a warm (not hot) cleaning solution and scrub with a soft brush. Be sure to clean in and around tight areas where dust and dirt can build up.
  3. Disinfect the mask by either spraying or soaking the mask in disinfectant.
  4. Rinse with warm water and dry with a paper towel, or allow to air dry in a clean environment away from workshop contaminants.
  5. Store the mask in a clean, air tight container.

How often do you need to clean your respirator?

Your respirator mask needs a thorough clean at the end of each day/use! This not only helps make your mask last longer, it will clean off any contaminants that may be on the mask from the work you've been doing.

If you think this might be a little OTT, have another read over some of the articles about the danger of welding fumes or other contaminants in the workshop. Taking a couple of minutes to wipe over your respirator mask is worth the effort if you ask us!

How should a respirator mask be stored?

Once your respirator is clean and dry, it should immediately be stored back in it's air-tight, zip-lock bag and/or in an air tight container, to prevent it from collecting dust or other contaminants. Be sure to use a storage container that is able to fit the mask without distorting it's shape.

Since respirator filters and cartridges can not be cleaned, if your filters are able to be used again, make sure they are stored outside of the bag that has the mask in it.

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