The Down and Dirty on Washing and Maintaining PPE

Maintaining, Cleaning, and Inspecting PPE: Once you’ve chosen your PPE, the longevity and efficacy of each item is determined by how you examine and maintain it.

Above all, you must adhere to the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and instructions, which normally outline:


Each item of PPE must be tested to ensure its ability to protect employees. Hard helmets, for example, may necessitate both a visual and a stress test. 

If this is the case, you must inspect the equipment for cracks and other indications of deterioration, as well as strike it lightly to verify it is not readily damaged.


Manufacturers should specify the lifespans of their equipment items, indicating when they need to be replaced. However, there are indications that you should replace PPE sooner. Wear and tear are the most obvious indicators, but you should also listen for employee comments. For example, if customers complain about their boots being uncomfortable, this could be a symptom of hidden deterioration.

personal protective equipment upkeep, washing, and inspection


Although the manufacturer’s guide may contain instructions, you should only attempt to repair a piece of equipment if the manufacturer has permitted you to do so.

Each item of PPE must be washed or laundered as part of your maintenance programme to ensure longevity and wearer comfort.

Manufacturers should give specific cleaning recommendations for each type of personal protective equipment (PPE).

In general, you’ll take a straightforward approach to:

Different gloves necessitate different cleaning procedures.


You can clean stained footwear by gently scrubbing dirty parts with a cloth dipped in warm water. Then, using the remaining water, rinse the boots. Soaps and detergents should be avoided because they can impair the water resistance of many fabrics, including leather.


Eyewear, like footwear, can be cleaned with a cloth and warm water. However, soap should also be used to eliminate dust and grime that obstructs eyesight. Eyewear that is frequently worn, such as safety goggles, may necessitate daily cleaning.

Eyewear that also serves as facial protection may necessitate complicated cleaning procedures. If this is the case, the manufacturer will supply you with the essential details.


Most types of headgear, such as hardhats, should be cleaned at least once a month.

Typically, the equipment is washed by immersing it in a solution of hot water and a tiny bit of mild soap for 10 minutes.

After that, rinse the equipment with clean water and air dry it.

How to Care for Gloves:

Look for signs of wear and tear, as this type of damage can impair a glove’s gripping and protective capabilities.

Focus on testing the grip in circumstances where the damage has no effect on protection, such as coating wear on cut-resistant gloves.

Pick up and experiment with tools, making sure they are comfortable to handle and operate.

Washing: If the gloves become dirty, many styles can be machine washed to prolong the life cycle. Simply machine wash in a cold to mild temperature and line dry.

Keeping dirt out of the palm dip will extend the life of the glove and improve overall performance.

How to Maintain Footwear:

Keep an eye out for footwear component separation, such as the toe cover detaching from the remainder of the shoe or boot.

Similarly, physical damage or the revealing of previously protected regions usually indicates an urgent need for repair or replacement.

How to Care for Eyewear:

Inspect the eyewear for scratches, which can impede vision and reduce protection.

Put on the eyewear, making sure that the grime does not obstruct your vision.

A brief stress test, as directed by the manufacturer, may also be necessary.

How to Maintain Headgear:

As previously stated, before completing a short stress test, check for cracks and other symptoms of deterioration.

How to Maintain Leg Protection:

When you’re wearing the equipment, make sure it’s not impeding your ability to walk.

If it shrinks after cleaning to the point where it restricts motion, it must be replaced.

In addition, there should be no symptoms of wear and strain.

Make a Work-Wide Inspection Schedule.

Although you may elect to establish a worksite-wide inspection plan for managers and supervisors, it is in your best interest to instruct staff to inspect PPE before each use. This helps to ensure that equipment damage does not go undetected.

Keep in mind that if a piece fails inspection, it is not fit for usage.

You must replace it, either by purchasing new equipment or stockpiling spares.

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