If you plan to reuse your PPEs, you must know the basics of how to sanitize PPEs yourself. If you have a reusable PPE on hand, it’s suitable that you start learning how to sanitize and clean it so it can be ready for use once again. You may be tempted to skip this process but if you want to be safe in your working environment, taking some time to do this after the end of a workday can pay off. Here’s how you can do it safely and effectively.
Hard hats are one of the most common PPEs found on construction sites. Hard hats have an expiration date as well and it can last between 2 and 5 years. If your hard hat sustains damage, you will need an immediate replacement to ensure that your structural integrity remains sound. It’s also important to keep the hard hat out of direct sunlight. If you find a lack of physical faults on the hard hat, you can clean and sanitize it. This can be done with soap flakes mixed with warm water. A soft cloth should do the job of cleaning it properly, but a gentle brush will do the same. Rub the shell, webbing, and suspension system with the solution until you remove all the dirt. Allow it to dry in a cool place away from sunlight. Never use harsh chemicals on your hard hat as it may damage the surface. For disinfecting, alcohol or a disinfectant wipe will do the job if you don’t find physical dirt on your hat.
If you use leather gloves for work, regular cleaning is essential. If you see any damage to the glove, it might be time to replace it. However, if it’s free from any anomalies, dirt should be your priority. You will need to dampen the gloves. Avoid submerging it. Baby soap or shampoo is a good cleaning agent to ensure that the leather remains supple after cleaning. Grab a soft bristle brush and scrub away the dirt and debris. Rinse the gloves and avoid fully submerging them. You can also rinse the gloves in a white vinegar and water mixture to disinfect and remove odors. When drying, place it on a flat surface away from sunlight. Once it’s dry, a leather care kit can be applied to keep the leather moisturized.
For rubber gloves that are undamaged, you can use mild soap and water. Thoroughly clean it and rinse it to remove any residue. Avoid using oils, petroleum, and solvents for cleaning. For cloth gloves, throwing it in your laundry will sanitize and clean it at the same time.
Ear protection that is multi-use needs to be cleaned as well. It can accumulate sweat, grime, and dirt from everywhere and you don’t want these particles making contact with your ears. If your earplugs are undamaged, mild soap and warm water are all you need after every use. Towel or air dry immediately to prevent it from deforming. Place it back in its storage case to keep its shape before you use it again. For earmuffs, you can’t immerse it in water. Similar to how you clean your leather gloves, simply wipe them with a soapy cloth. Make sure the cushion and the cup are clean before wiping it again with a damp cloth before drying. Store your ear muffs away from sunlight within a case to prevent dust from accumulating. It’s recommended that you use a hard plastic case to prevent damage from occurring while it’s in storage.
Safety glasses can accumulate oil, dirt, scratches, and grime overuse. Check the integrity of your safety eyewear before replacing it. If there are too many scratches and you’re unable to see clearly through it, it would be best to replace them immediately. However, if you need to clean it, mild soap and water or a lens wipe will do the job. A quick spritz of alcohol will disinfect it and remove excess oils. Store it in a clean space to prevent scratches and other damage.
Check if your respirators have signs of holes, cracks, and other signs that make it ineffective for protecting you from harsh fumes. Respirators have instructions included. Be sure to check with the manufacturer to know how it’s properly cleaned. However, most respirators will require dismantling. Then washing in warm water will clean the respirator properly. Air-dry the respirator components and reassemble accordingly. Check the seal to see if everything is in the right place or consult the manufacturer’s guide. It’s not recommended to reuse dirty, wet, or sweat ridden disposable respirators. It’s much better to get a new one instead.
Knowing how to sanitize PPEs is important if you want to maintain the quality of your equipment. If they’re reusable, proper care can go a long way and make your equipment last in the long run. Remember to do this daily to ensure that your equipment is in the best condition.
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