Whether they are used by workers in various industries, for protection against wildfire or common household activities, disposable dust masks are an important piece of protective equipment. Even though they are called “disposable”, there are certain times when a mask can be reused multiple times, for convenience and cost reduction.
When Can You Reuse A Dust Mask?
Unless it is stated on the package that the mask should be replaced after a certain amount of time, a dust mask can be reused if:
- It is not dirty, soiled or contaminated
- It is not broken
- It doesn’t have any holes
- It still fits perfectly on your face
- It was not worn for more than 8 hours straight
Do Not Share Your Mask!
NIOSH recommends that each person has its own mask, and it is not shared with anyone else.
Store It Properly
When not using it, it’s important to store the mask in proper conditions. It should not be exposed to:
Also, make sure to keep it in a box or drawer with plenty of space. Do not fold it or crumple it to fit in a tight place, as this may damage or deform it.
When To Change The Mask?
NIOSH (The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) could not establish a precise time frame for when to change the mask, but it offered some guidelines:
In workplaces with low dust levels, a mask can be reused as long as it is not soiled, damaged, contaminated or creates breathing difficulties
In workplaces with high levels of dust, the mask should not be used for more than 8 hours. So it should be changed each working day
In bio-safety environments, a mask should not be reused. This is because dangerous pathogens can cling to the mask surface, and be transmitted to other people