Payment Logos

How to Use a Disposable Respirator

General advice for the fitting and proper use of disposable respirators

Difficulty: Easy


Disposable Respirators are masks used in workshops and the outside world, protecting us from harmful particles, and even in some cases dangerous chemicals. However, it’s very important to ensure you have the right mask that fits well. 


What Mask is Right for Me?


There are three types of masks: FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3.


FFP1 masks filter the least, with an aerosol filtration of at least 80% and leakage of up to 22%. You should use this mask if you’re only looking for a dust mask (for home renovations, sanding and such). In cases like these, FFP1 masks may be the type of mask for you, as they’re the most cost effective option. They typically have yellow elastic bands.


FFP2 masks have a filtration of at least 94%, with a leakage of up to 8%. These masks are ideal for industry because they protect from powdered chemicals. They can also be used to protect against aerosols and airborne droplets. They typically have blue or white elastic bands.


Finally, FFP3 masks have at least 99%, with a leakage of up to 2%. These masks are used for finer, harmful particles, such as asbestos or ceramic. They typically have red elastic bands.


How do I Fit My Disposable Respirator?


Disposable Respirators are only effective when there are no gaps between the mask and your face, so you’ll have to fit your mask before use.


This is how you’ll know that your mask is properly fitted:

  • the nose clip is moulded to your nose and cheeks
  • the panels are fully unfolded
  • there’s no gaps between the mask and your face
  • there are two untwisted straps around the crown of your head and under your ear


To wear your mask correctly you should fully unfold the panels with the reverse side up to form a cup shape and bend the nose clip slightly. For moulded masks and those with no flaps, simply bend the nose-clip a little.


You should then cup the underside of the mask to your face with one hand and pull the straps over your head with the other hand. Ensure that the straps are comfortable and untwisted.


Use both hands to mould the nose clip to your nose and cheek, making sure there is a close fit and good seal. If you try this with just one-hand you may put a 'point' in the centre of the band that would adversely affect the fit.


You can check if the mask is fitted correctly by covering the mask with both hands, making sure you don’t disturb the fit. If your mask is valved, inhale sharply, if your mask is unvalved, exhale sharply. If you feel air passing your nose, you should readjust the nose clip until you can no longer feel the air. If you can feel air coming out of the edges of the respirator, you should readjust the straps.


If you cannot fit the mask correctly, you should not put yourself in a dangerous situation. Always seek help from someone around you to fit the mask if necessary.


How to Use a Mask to Protect Against Disease


When using a mask to keep yourself healthy, it is important to keep everything sanitary.


Making sure that the mask is sealed properly will ensure that germs can't enter or leave the mask. You should always wash your hands before and after putting on your mask. Open the mask fully and inspect for any tears or damage before putting it on. When you’ve finished with your mask, you should dispose of the mask immediately.


Now you know how to properly use your mask you can safely protect yourself from some of the dangers of the workshop, home, and outside world!


View our Complete range of disposable respirators