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Respirator Care and Maintenance

 
In order for a respirator to be effective each time you use it, it must be in good condition. Reusable half-mask and full-face respirators must be inspected, cleaned and stored properly. Disposable or filtering facepiece respirators are designed to be thrown away when soiled, worn or at the end of their service life. Read on to find out how to take good care of your respirator. Be sure to read your owner's manual for any additional care instructions. Need more help? Call Technical Product Support at 1-800-874-4755 or send an email by clicking here.
 
 

Step 1: Inspect

Inspections should be performed before each use and during cleaning. Follow these steps to inspect thoroughly:
  1. Check the straps for tears and be sure that the elastic isn't too loose.
  2. Inspect the face seal. Look for dirt, cracks or tears and make sure it is still pliable.
  3. If you have a full-face respirator, check the lens for cracks or other damage.
  4. Check the tightness of any connections and look for any other worn, damaged or missing parts such as exhalation or inhalation valves.
  5. Replace any parts if necessary only with NIOSH-approved parts for that specific respirator.
  6. Respirators that are damaged beyond repair must be removed from service.
 

Step 2: Clean

Respirators must be cleaned in accordance with OSHA's cleaning procedures found in 29 CFR 1910.134 Appendix B-2. The manufacturer's instructions can also be used as long as they are just as effective. Basic cleaning steps are:
  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Disassemble the respirator. Remove cartridges, filters, valves, diaphragms or any other parts recommended by the manufacturer.
  3. Wash the components in warm water (not exceeding 110°F) with mild detergent or a cleaner recommended by the manufacturer. A brush with stiff bristles can be used to remove stubborn dirt. Do not use wire brushes.
  4. Thoroughly rinse all components with clean, warm and preferably running water.
  5. If the cleaner used does not contain a disinfecting agent, then the components should be immersed for two minutes in a hypochlorite, iodine or equally effective disinfectant solution recommended by the manufacturer. The components should again be thoroughly rinsed with clean, warm and preferably running water.
  6. Allow components to air dry or hand dry them with a clean lint-free cloth.
  7. Reassemble the respirator and test it to be sure that it works properly.

Respirator Wipe Pads Pop-up Canister
Disposable wipes sanitize and hygienically freshen respirator facepieces
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Respirator Wipe Pads Dispenser Box
Individually wrapped pads conveniently remove dirt and grime
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Respirator Wipe Pads Pop-up Canister
Disposable wipes sanitize and hygienically freshen respirator facepieces
Buy

Respirator Wipe Pads Dispenser Box
Individually wrapped pads conveniently remove dirt and grime
Buy
 
 

Step 3: Store

Dust, sunlight, humidity, extreme temperatures and chemicals may all damage respirators. Follow these guidelines for best results:
  1. Store respirators in a cool, dry place out of the sunlight away from chemicals.
  2. Use a respirator storage bag or remove cartridges and store them in a sealable plastic bag. Cartridges can absorb anything from cigarette smoke to engine exhaust.
  3. Do not store the respirator on a workbench, dashboard or in a tractor cab.
  4. Do not set anything on top of it or store it in an area where it may be crushed.

Respirator Storage Bag
Protects from contaminants for longer cartridge life
Buy

Respirator Storage Bag
Protects from contaminants for longer cartridge life
Buy
 
 

Quick Do's and Don'ts

Do's
  • Take good care of your respirator by knowing how to inspect and clean it.
  • Use a different respirator if you spot any worn, damaged or missing parts.
  • Leave the contaminated area and change cartridges when you detect any odors or irritation.

Don'ts
  • Handle your respirator with dirty hands.
  • Forget to disassemble your respirator before you clean it.
  • Store respirators on the dashboard of a truck, in an enclosed cab, on a workbench or near pesticide containers.
Be sure to read your owner's manual for any additional care instructions. Need more help? Call Technical Product Support at 1-800-874-4755 or send an email by clicking here.

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