Precautions For Optimizing The Supply Of Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR)6

- Sep 13, 2020-

CDC has provided detailed information on disinfection equipment and surfaces that may be contaminated by the coronavirus.


No specific instructions for cleaning and disinfecting PAPR are provided.


Some disinfectants are effective disinfectants, and their use requires special precautions, such as adequate ventilation, use of clean unsterile gloves, gowns or face masks. Care must be taken during the cleaning and disinfection process to ensure that the cleaning staff will not self-infect or injure themselves in this work.


Cleaning and disinfection must be carried out by qualified and trained personnel. Centralizing the activity can ensure that it is completed correctly.


Considerations of emergency and crisis handling capabilities for filter/filter element cleaning and disinfection

Due to necessity, PAPR components including filters may be different in terms of cleaning and disinfection. The normal practice is to discard the filter after each use, but emergency or emergency measures may require cleaning and disinfecting the filter. The performance of some filter media may be reduced by contact with disinfectants.


In the case of surge, when there are not enough manufacturer instructions and supply is in short supply, temporary backup procedures cleaning and disinfection procedures may be necessary and effective to reuse scarce or unavailable replacement components. However, if done incorrectly, temporary alternative procedures may increase the risk of contact spread or damage to the filter media. Other procedures and risks must be considered to protect HCP and meet healthcare needs.

OSHA and manufacturers' instructions on cleaning and disinfection lack specific details for implementing standardized procedures in the healthcare process. They rely on users to add to their general cleaning and disinfection instructions. Therefore, medical institutions need to establish procedures to effectively prevent the target pathogen from surviving and not damage the PAPR components to be reused.

Most PAPR components can be cleaned, disinfected, and can be reused many times if they are not damaged. PAPR uses only HE filters or filter elements. Their size, shape and appearance can be very different.

Some filters are contained in a protective box on the blower assembly. These can have openings in the filter cartridge housing that expose the filter media, or they can be essentially protective, enclosing the filter media from the outside.

No other filters are included in the cartridge. It can be inserted into the blower assembly to prevent exposure of the filter media, including cleaning agents and disinfecting wipes.

cleaning supplies

When removing organic and inorganic materials from PAPR components, trained personnel should wear nitrile gloves to protect their hands and limit the possibility of infection. During the cleaning and disinfection process, additional protective equipment, such as work clothes and masks, and ventilation equipment may be required. The cleaning fluid must be prevented from contacting the filter medium.

Before disinfection, the surface of the outer filter cartridge can be cleaned with detergent or soap and warm water. Take care to avoid contact with filter media. You can use a clean soft cloth dampened with a neutral pH (pH 6-8) detergent and moistened with warm water at approximately 49°C (120°F), and clean it by mechanical wiping. Any components exposed to moisture during the cleaning process must be carefully and thoroughly dried. You can usually clean other PAPR components using the steps recommended by the manufacturer.

Disinfection method

The effectiveness of replacement filter element disinfection solutions and procedures may be uncertain:


Sufficient disinfectant solution may not be able to reach all the crevices of many filter cartridge housings, or can not reach all the crevices within an effective time.

The filter media may be degraded by contact with the disinfectant.

The filter and filter media must be carefully and thoroughly dried. Any remaining escape water can promote the growth or sustainability of certain pathogens.

Some PAPRs have a filter cartridge or blower assembly to prevent the disinfectant from contacting the filter media. If any, these PAPRs should be used in emergency or crisis management strategies. These PAPR designs further ensure that the filter media will not come into contact with cleaning and disinfection solutions. These filter cartridges and PAPR blowers may be wiped repeatedly.


Note: PAPR HE filters used in industry are usually reused until they are dirty, damaged or reduce the PAPR air flow below the specified level. Care should be taken when using filters for live viruses and the actual replacement cycle should be performed until you know more.