The model general procedures for safe and effective respirator cleaning come from U.S. OSHA but work equally well on this side of the border.
RESPIRATOR CLEANING PROCEDURES
Workers must follow these general procedures to ensure that their respirators are properly cleaned and disinfected in a way that prevents damage to the respirator and doesn’t cause harm to the user. Exception: Workers may be required to use alternative cleaning procedures for particular equipment recommended by the respirator’s manufacturer if they receive notification to that effect from ABC Company. Such notification will be issued only if ABC Company determines that the manufacturer’s recommended procedures are at least as effective as the procedures set forth below.
- Procedures for Cleaning Respirators
A. 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.
B. Wash components in warm (43⁰ C, 110⁰ F, maximum) water with a mild detergent or cleaner recommended by the manufacturer. A stiff bristle (not wire) brush may be used to ease removal of dirt.
C. Rinse components thoroughly in clean, warm (43⁰ C, 110⁰ F, maximum), preferably running water. Drain.
D. When the cleaner used does not contain a disinfecting agent, respirator components should be immersed for two minutes in one of the following:
- Hypochlorite solution (50 ppm of chlorine) made by adding approximately one milliliter of laundry bleach to one liter of water at 43⁰ C (110⁰ F);
- Aqueous solution of iodine (50 ppm iodine) made by adding approximately 0.8 milliliters of tincture of iodine (6-8 grams ammonium and/or potassium iodide/100 cc of 45% alcohol) to one liter of water at 43⁰ C (110⁰ F); or
- Other commercially available cleansers of equivalent disinfectant quality when used as directed, if their use is recommended or approved by the respirator manufacturer.
E. Rinse components thoroughly in clean, warm (43⁰ C (110⁰ F), maximum), preferably running water. Drain. The importance of thorough rinsing cannot be overemphasized. Detergents or disinfectants that dry on facepieces may result in dermatitis. In addition, some disinfectants may cause deterioration of rubber or corrosion of metal parts if not completely removed.
F. Components should be hand-dried with a clean lint-free cloth or air-dried.
G. Reassemble facepiece, replacing filters, cartridges, and canisters where necessary.
H. Test the respirator to ensure that all components work properly.