Do Respirator Masks Expire?

Masks

The world has become increasingly familiar with respirator masks since the onset of the pandemic. But not many people know that respirator masks have an expiry date.

Using a respirator mask past its expiry can put the user at risk. Appropriate use and practices will safeguard the performance and protective properties of the mask.

What Is A Respirator Mask?

A respirator mask is a type of facial covering for the mouth and nose that filters airborne substances. Respirator masks are designed to reduce user exposure to airborne molecules, such as gases, contaminants, and foreign substances. Respirator masks can be used in combination with other personal protective equipment to protect the user from contact with harmful substances.

Do Respirator Masks Expire?

Most respiratory masks have an expiry date. The expiry date will vary between different products depending on the manufacturer, the materials used, the filter, and more. It is important to check the expiry date before use.

Can Respirator Masks Be Used Past The Expiry Date?

Respirator masks should NOT be used after the stated expiry date. After this date, the mask will not provide the required level of protection for the user. Features such as the neck strap may degrade and loosen over time, affecting the seal and fit of the mask.

How Should Respirator Masks Be Stored?

The storage of respirator masks will affect their performance and longevity. To improve shelf life:

  • Follow the manufacturers guidelines
  • Keep respirator masks in the original packaging
  • Manage inventory by rotating stock regularly and checking for expiration dates
  • Avoid storing masks in contaminated areas, such as places with dust, mould, chemicals, direct sunlight, or unpredictable climates

Using Respirator Masks Appropriately

Respirator masks will not be effective if they are not used correctly. The following are a few tips for respirator masks:

Sizing

A good fit starts with the right mask size. Use the Mask Size Guide to assist with selecting the right size mask.

Hand hygiene

It is best to complete appropriate hand washing prior to using a respirator mask to avoid contaminating the mask.

Inspect The Respirator Mask

Check all the parts of the respirator mask before use and ensure the mask has not expired. If there are any faulty or damaged parts, the mask should not be used.

Don/doffing

  • It is important to don the respirator PRIOR to entering the contaminated area
  • Tight fitting masks should always be fitted by a safety specialist or hygienist
  • To be effective, respirator masks must be sealed properly. Check for any gaps, and adjust the mask until a proper seal is achieved.
Photo: CleanSpace

Can CleanSpace Respirator Masks Be Cleaned?

CleanSpace recommends cleaning the respirator masks AFTER EVERY USE. The mask, power unit, neck pad, and harness should be cleaned separately. See the cleaning guide for full instructions.

Note, the CleanSpace filters should NOT be cleaned. This could damage the filter and risk the protection of the mask. The used filters should be replaced instead.

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