Tips for Cleaning PPE During COVID-19

Tips for Cleaning PPE During COVID-19

Personal protective equipment is crucial for workers engaged in essential jobs. What’s even more important is making sure that PPE is properly cleaned and disinfected: while some protection is better than none, contaminated gear isn’t going to be as effective in protecting you.

While cleaning protocol, when combined with proper equipment use and care, will greatly reduce the risk of contamination, it’s important to understand that nothing is 100% guaranteed. When it comes to cleaning your PPE or other equipment, follow the instructions provided in the technical notice for your product. In addition to manufacturer recommendations, safety equipment supplier Petzl has these pieces of advice for anyone cleaning their PPE.

Disinfection Protocols

Hospitals have a specific COVID-19 protocol for disinfecting their equipment. They will use bleach and very high (above 150°C/302°F) or low (below 100°C/237°F) temperatures. These aren’t protocols that can be applied to Petzl PPE or other equipment. So far, no health authorities have announced an official, reliable disinfection method for low temperatures without using bleach (although you can consult with your local health authorities about their opinions on low-temperature disinfection).

Petzl recommends two protocols for cleaning PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic. Practice a 72-hour quarantine period for any contaminated gear before handling or using it again. Once that time period has elapsed, hand wash your protective gear with soap and water at a maximum temperature of 65°C/165°F (compare with the normal recommendation of 30°C/112°F). Dry your products according to the technical notice.

Cleaning Products to Use

Many chemical cleaners damage plastics and textiles and break down the compounds and fibers in PPE. The only cleaning products that are tested and recommended are soap and water. Cleaning products developed by Ecolab and used as instructed are compatible with Petzl helmets and can be used, but it’s unknown to what extent those products are effective in killing or preventing the coronavirus. Visiting Ecolab’s website can give you more information.

PK Safety Protective Gear 

Workers and companies have trusted PK Safety with their PPE needs for decades, and that hasn’t changed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. We’re doing everything we can to make sure that your workers and ours are safe without sacrificing the customer service you expect. You can reach us anytime online or by calling 800.829.9580.

Wondering how to properly clean your FR Clothing? Check out this post where we share the dos and don'ts.


Jun 17th 2020 PK Safety Team

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