Your Simple Guide to Washing Personal Protective Equipment


Are you currently providing care to someone in your home and it requires that you use PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) daily? Or does your job require you to wear PPE supplied by yourself and do you prefer reusable options that allow you to wash between wears? Reusable PPE provides a way for people to make a more environmentally-friendly choice and can help to bring down the costs of protective equipment. However, when it comes to washing the PPE, you need to be sure you’re taking all the right steps so that it is clean and ready to be used.

This simple guide will take all the questions and confusion out of washing your reusable PPE.

What Items Can Be Washed and Re-Used?

Wondering which items you can purchase that are reusable and washable? Here’s a list of popular PPE that you can find in a washable option:

Just as with regular single-use PPE, fit will be important when purchasing washable items. The fit helps to make the items comfortable and ensure they are performing properly.

Washing Reusable Cloth Face Masks

Reusable face masks have become quite commonplace thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are easily accessible, more cost-effective than single-use masks, and you can find custom-made masks that offer a better fit. In terms of caring for these masks, they should be washed after each use. If you’re wearing a cloth mask that gets wet, you’ll need to replace it with a clean, dry one.

Cloth masks should be washed at the highest temperature possible. You may wish to put them in a laundry bag to help protect them from getting stretched or ripped while in the machine. You can then dry them in the hottest setting possible.

Washing Lab Coats, Gowns and Coveralls

These same washing instructions can be used for lab coats, gowns and coveralls as long as they are washable. When you purchase these items, be sure to read the box/packaging to see how many times the items can be laundered before needing to be replaced. If you have a hard time remembering how long you’ve had the items, you can start a log of when the items were bought.

All items need to be washed on the warmest cycle the fabric will allow, but also be sure to use high-quality laundry soap. Next, place all items in the dryer and use the hottest setting the fabric will allow (make sure the material won’t shrink at high heat). Clean PPE should be stored in a place that is clean and contained so as not to get any dirt or contaminants on them. A storage bin would be a great option.

Always Look for Signs of Wear and Tear

The final tip is to make sure you examine each piece of PPE after it has been dried, making sure there are no rips or tears that could jeopardize the protection the item offers.

By using all of these simple tips, you’ll be able to extend the lifespan of your reusable PPE.