Expert Insights, Respiratory Protection Series

Looking after your RPE: our Guide to Respiratory Protection Equipment Maintenance.

To make sure that your respiratory protection equipment (RPE) continues to function as it should, offering you maximum protection, it is vital that you keep it clean.

HSE regulations are clear that an effective maintenance schedule, which includes cleaning, should be in place: If RPE is contaminated there is a significant risk of the user coming into contact with the hazardous substance they are trying to protect themselves from. All re-usable components of a respirator should be inspected for damage and carefully decontaminated between uses and before being stored. Here are ten key action points for you to bear in mind when cleaning your RPE:

Ten key action points:

1. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely, so that the cleaning process is thorough and hazard protection is not compromised.


2. Using disposable gloves to protect your hands from any hazardous substances during cleaning is recommended.


3. Carefully disconnect all parts of the equipment, including mounting belts and hoods, ready for cleaning. Inspect all parts for damage. The Drager PAPR unit has coloured touchpoints which make it simple to take apart and put back together, but any unit should have instructions you can follow for dismantling.


4. Any damage needing repair should be passed to a fully competent technician.


5. All component parts should be cleaned using a soft cloth or disposable wipe with neutral detergent solution. Some parts can be rinsed using clean running water. Using the wrong cleaning products or methods can result in damage to the unit, this includes strong chemical cleaners or bleaches. The picture below shows the damage which can be caused over time. You can find the cleansing wipes recommended by Drager equipment here.


6. Do not try to clean the media inside the filter. If the filter is compromised by excess dirt, it should be replaced. See our Expert Insight on this filter maintenance here.


7. Do not allow water to enter any battery compartments if rinsing.


8. Finally, all components should be fully air dried in a decontaminated atmosphere, away from direct heat, before reassembling for further use.


9. Keeping a written record of all cleaning and maintenance of RPE is a good idea and will help with H&S audits.


10. Storage after cleaning: batteries and filters should be removed when the unit is out of use and it should be stored in a clean dry environment, away from direct heat sources.


This is an example of how using the wrong cleaning products can cause serious damage to the equipment over time.

Drager (also known as Draeger in some markets) units have clear blue touchpoints to show how they can be dismantled easily.

Anchor Safety Drager range

Call our team on 0800 328 5028 for advice and support with your Respiratory Protection requirements.


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