Should I Wear Personal Protective Equipment When Disinfecting Surfaces or Equipment?

Should I Wear Personal Protective Equipment When Disinfecting Surfaces or Equipment

Disinfectants are widely used these days due to the COVID-19 global health crisis. Poison centers reported a more than 20% increase in calls for exposure to cleansers and disinfectants this year, compared with the same period in 2019. Although disinfectants keep us clean and prevent transmission of the virus, but at the same time, chemicals used in them can cause serious problems. 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is therefore recommended while dealing with chemicals such as disinfectants at home or in labs. Personal protective equipment offers a measure of prevention against chemical splash and other hazards. Different types of personal protective equipment are available at, but your choice of PPE should be based on the risk assessment of potential exposure to chemicals or infectants. 

What Is Personal Protective Equipment?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) consists of protective garments or clothing articles specially designed to protect the wearer from infections. PPE is selected carefully in accordance with the chemicals and procedures used. It functions as a barrier between your skin, eyes, and other viral and bacterial infections. It not only saves you from infections but also minimizes the spread of infection from one person to another. 

Which Personal Protective Equipment I Can Wear While Disinfecting Surfaces?

A wide variety of personal protective equipment is available at that helps protect you against a range of hazardous situations:


It is crucial to wear gloves while working with chemicals. Wearing gloves will protect against skin absorption of chemicals, chemical burns, and thermal burns. Nitrile gloves are the most common gloves, and they have several advantages over other types of gloves. Nitrile gloves available at come in various sizes and colors and are puncture and chemical resistant. 


Chemical disinfectants are irritating to the skin and respiratory system. They can cause serious damage if they come in contact with skin. Moreover, excessive inhalation of disinfectant sprays can cause headaches and dizziness. That is why wearing masks are mandatory for you while disinfecting surfaces.

Safety Goggles

Safety goggles prevent you from the impact of flying fragments, particles, and chemicals. Exposure to chemicals can cause serious eye problems, so wearing safety goggles can prevent you from serious eye damage.

Shoe Covers

Shoe covers are recommended while using chemicals or while disinfecting surfaces. It prevents your shoes from contamination and helps keep chemicals from coming into contact with your floors and furniture. 

Face Shields

A face shield helps protect the face and associated mucous membranes in the nose and mouth from splashes and sprays. Face shields are often used with other personal protective equipment and are available at in disposable, reusable, and replaceable models.

Why Is It Important to Wear Personal Protective Equipment?

Personal protective equipment is often necessary for custodial workers as there is potential for exposure to hazardous materials. Proper Personal protective equipment (PPE) is crucial because it helps minimize the possibility of skin exposure to hazardous chemicals and prepares you for any health and safety risks. PPE is an effective and proven way to improve the safety of an individual. It typically provides a level of protection from a number of hazards like physical, radiological, biological, and chemical hazards. It protects you from various problems and reduces the risks of getting harmed. 

Wearing PPE is essential because:

  • It’s your last line of defense.
  • It’s cheap and comfortable.
  • It helps you breathe clean.
  • It protects the eyes from damage.
  • It saves your skin.
  • It can stop an accident.

Disinfectants may contain a large number of chemicals, including chloroform, chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, peracetic acid, etc. These chemicals can cause various health problems. So, wearing personal protective equipment is necessary for your protection even if you can’t smell any chemicals or feel any hazard.

What Will Happen If You Are Not Wearing Proper Personal Protective Equipment?

Choosing not to wear Personal Protective Equipment while using disinfectants can be catastrophic for individuals, co-workers, and family members. The risks of not using safety equipment can cause:

Skin Irritation

Disinfectants can react with epidermal keratin filaments and facilitate skin penetration of chemicals into deeper skin layers. In response to these chemicals, the skin immune system responds by secreting a range of pro-inflammatory mediators that can cause irritation to the skin.

Eye Irritation

If disinfectants get into your eye, they can severely damage the front of the eye and cause:

  • Cornea scars 
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Vision loss
  • Blindness

People often neglect their eye safety but taking your vision for granted would be greatly regretted in the case of an accident.

Liver Damage

Exposure to toxic substances can cause liver inflammation. This inflammation can lead to liver damage and cirrhosis.

Respiratory Disorders

Disinfection products have been associated with adverse respiratory effects in professional cleansers and among residents doing domestic cleaning. These chemicals may lead to respiratory effects ranging from acute temporary airway irritation to obstructive lung diseases such as asthma.

Nervous System Disorders

The nervous system is vulnerable to various disorders. It can be damaged by severe infections caused by chemicals in disinfectants. Excessive inhalation of disinfectant sprays can cause progressive central nervous system depression. 

Initial symptoms include:

  • Dizziness 
  • Drowsiness
  • Convulsions
  • Headache
  • Coma
  • It can also upset your stomach and cause nausea and vomiting.

What Can Be Done to Maintain Personal Protective Equipment?

Personal protective equipment is more effective when it meets its user’s correct size, fit, and height. PPE must remain in place and be worn correctly for the duration of work. Damaged PPE is ineffective, and it can put the wearer in a big problem. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain personal protective equipment. 

Following are the measures you need to take to protect and preserve your PPE:

  • Store in a dry and clean place
  • Inspect before use
  • Repair or replace damaged PPE
  • Clean after use 

In short, personal protective equipment available at minimize exposure to hazards that can cause serious illnesses and injuries. They are essential because they prevent you from any health and safety risks and give you extra protection from an accident. They also act as a barrier that has the potential to block the transmission of contaminants from blood, body fluids, or respiratory secretions.