Alcohol Swabs Are Great For Cleaning Your Respirator

Alcohol In The Workshop

The use of personal safety gear is important in the workshop, in the classroom at on the job-site. The proper maintenance of this equipment equally important if it is going to do its job. An often overlooked bit of maintenance is cleaning your face mask/respirator.

Alcohol Swabs Are Great For Cleaning Your Respirator
Alcohol Swabs Are Great For Cleaning Your Respirator

After a few hours of using a respirator moisture, skin oils, dust, sweat etc all get into the mask housing and on the surface that is in contact with your face. If not properly cared for this can cause skin irritation, breed harmful bacteria or possibly even make you sick. To prevent this situation it is advisable to clean your mask before and after every use.


Several years ago I was in a bad subway accident that resulted in a hospital stay, surgery and a long recovery time. During the recovery I had to take some serious antibiotics that were administered via syringe. Part of the care package from the doctors was a pack of small isopropyl alcohol swabs that are individually packaged as ~1 inch squares used to clean the injection site before using a needle. After I was all better I had some swabs left over it dawned up me that these little swabs might be great for cleaning my dust mask. They worked great.

When I need to use my dust mask I grab a sterile alcohol swab, clean out the inside of the mask and the surface that touches my face. If that wipe is still looking clean after cleaning the inside I use it to clean some of the hard surfaces on the outside of the mask. If the wipe is dirty I will grab a second.

At this point I buy a box of 100 wipes for about $2.49 in the local Walgreens and get several months out of the box. I keep the box out in the shop in a shelf next to my respirator so they are always ready to go. They generate little waste, are cheap, fast and reliable. I highly recommend giving it a try in your own shop.

Take care,

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