All You Need to Know About Reusable Respirators & When to Use Them

Male builder on site wearing a respirator

What is a reusable respirator? Reusable respirators are a convenient and necessary way to protect your lungs in many different environments, from industrial workplaces to medical settings. They have mask components that seal around the user’s face, including above the nose. They then use replaceable filters to clean the air. This means that while the mask component is reusable, the filter component must be tossed and replaced regularly. How can you clean and reuse these respirators? We’ll answer your questions below. 

Table of Contents

    1. Are Respirators Reusable?
    2. How to Clean a Reusable Respirator
    3. How Long Do Reusable Respirators Last
    4. Do Reusable Respirators Work?

Are Respirators Reusable? 

Not all respirators are reusable. In fact, most masks are designed as single-use products. You put them on, use them, and when you’re done you have to toss them. However, some respirators are designed with reusable components. Specifically, the mask part of the respirator which fits around your face. The filters in these respirators are still not reusable.   

Are 3M respirators reusable? It’s a good question, as many workplaces and people rely on 3M products for their protection. Some 3M respirators are reusable and some are not. You should always be aware of which kind of respirator or mask you’re wearing and whether it is intended to be reused or not. Reusing a mask that is not meant to be reused can pose a risk to your health. 

How to Clean a Reusable Respirator 

Not all parts of a reusable respirator can be cleaned. The filters or cartridges are meant to be thrown out and replaced. The rest of the respirator needs to be cleaned. You should refer to your manufacturer’s specific instructions as to how the mask should be cleaned. However, the basics are likely:   

  • Remove the filters or cartridges. 
  • Clean the facepiece with a warm cleaning solution and scrub brush. 
  • Disinfect with a suitable disinfectant. 
  • Rinse and air dry your facepiece. 
  • Store it so that it will not become contaminated.   

How Long Do Reusable Respirators Last? 

Your reusable respirator will last as long as it remains in good condition without cracks, distortion or damage and as long as there continues to be good filtration and low breathing resistance for the filter.   

The actual time it takes for the mask to wear out will depend on the conditions you’re working in and how well the mask will hold up to them. Ideally, your employer will select a mask that will withstand your specific environmental challenges. 

Do Reusable Respirators Work? 

As with all respirators, it depends on what you want the respirator to work for. The filters and their classification largely determine how effective your respirator is for the pathogens or contaminants that you are concerned about. You should check with the manufacturer to confirm the details of what the filter and respirator can protect against and what they cannot.   

Do you have more questions about reusable respirators or are you looking to buy? The medical equipment experts at CanGard are happy to help. Give us a call, contact us, or visit our online shop to find out more.