Safety Tip of the Week – Taking Care of Your Respirator

Your respirator may be the most important tool of your job. It protects your most precious asset— your health. Yet, more often than not, respirators find their way to the bottom of tool bags where they become damaged and/or very dirty inside and out. Both of these conditions compromise the protection the respirator is designed to provide and that, in turn, can be detrimental to your health. Like most tools, respirators require periodic inspection, cleaning, and repair.

Cleaning & Disinfecting:

Respirators with replaceable filters are reusable,
cleanable, and usually repairable. A respirator classified as disposable may be reused by the same worker as long as it functions properly.

Guidelines for cleaning should include the following instructions:

  • Remove filters, cartridges, or canisters. Disassemble facepieces by removing speaking diaphragms, demand and pressure-demand valve assemblies, hoses, or any components recommended by the manufacturer. Discard or repair any defective parts;
  • Wash the parts in warm water (43°C/110°F maximum) with a mild detergent or with a cleaner recommended by the manufacturer;
  • Rinse components thoroughly in clean, warm water;
  • Hand dry with a clean lint-free cloth or air-dry; and
  • Reassemble and test before re-using.


A cleaned respirator should be stored in a resealable plastic bag, away from extreme heat or cold, excessive moisture, or damaging chemicals.

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