A respirator is a device that protects against inhaling hazards in the atmosphere, like fumes, gases, and vapor. It also protects against particles like dust and airborne microorganisms. These hazards can cause diseases, cancer, lung impairment, or even death.
Most people are required to wear respirators in their workplace, and it is vital to keep the respirator in proper and clean condition.
Respirators need cleaning and disinfection after each use. Proper cleaning and storage of respirators are also necessary to make them effective and extend their lives. Many elements can damage respirators. They include:
- Extreme Temperatures
- Excess moisture
- Damaging chemicals
Steps for Cleaning Your Respirator
It is essential to clean your hands before cleaning your respirator because your hands could have dangerous chemicals. Also, avoid washing your respirator with solvents, as they can damage your respirator’s rubber or plastic parts. Here are some steps to follow when cleaning your respirator:
- Disassemble the different parts of your respirator. Set aside the cartridges and filters.
- Clean the components with pre-packed respirator cleaning wipes or wash with warm water and a mild detergent. Use a soft brush when cleaning.
- Disinfect the respirator parts by soaking in a disinfectant solution like sodium hypochlorite (household bleach) solution.
- Rinse with clean water to remove excess soap to avoid skin irritation.
- Air dry on a clean surface or a drying rack.
- Reassemble your respirator and properly store.
Store your respirators as soon as they dry to keep them from dust. Follow these guidelines:
- Store your clean respirator in a clean, airtight container or large disposable bag, separate from cartridge and filters.
- Store in a dry and cool place. You can use a wall case for storing respirators. Position them in their natural shape to avoid deforming rubber or plastic.
It’s important to note that cartridges and filters should be disposed of when they are no longer safe to use. Some cartridges absorb chemicals when exposed to them. Change them if:
- You begin to smell and taste contaminants.
- You experience irritation of the eyes (full face mask), nose, or throat.
- They show signs of damage.