Respirator Filter Life

Quick tip on how to store respirator filters and when to change them. December 1, 2005

We have a 3M mask. It seems like we have to change the filters every week. I'm beginning to think that it would be safer to not wear the mask at all! Please help and save my lungs.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor D:
Why are you changing the filters every week? We have the 3M and it lasts much longer.

From contributor R:
Make sure that you place your respirator in an air-tight container when you're not using it. If you don't, the charcoal filter will wear itself out. I use a 3M as well, and whenever I begin to smell material or solvents, I replace both the pre-filter and the charcoal one. When I'm not using my respirator, I keep it in a coffee can.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor M:
I store the cartridges separate from my mask. Both are stored in gallon size Ziploc baggies. I use alcohol wipes daily and break the whole thing down and wash in dish soap about once a month. About the only way to tell if the cartridges are bad is if there is any kind of smell or it gets hard to take a breath due to a blocked cartridge from dusts/overspray. Some coatings will overwhelm a half mask cartridge very quickly. Make sure to read the MSDS for the product that you use.