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How to make PPE last as long as possible



The shortage of PPE at present is of huge concern. While every effort is being made to supply what is needed, it is also vital to ensure that what supplies are available last as long as possible, obviously with safety as the key priority.

The following items are in short supply and likely to be so for months to come:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Disposable aprons, sleeves, ‘paper’ suits etc.
  • Any masks, mostly FFP2 and FFP3 rated
  • Face shields / visors and safety glasses
  • Sanitizers
  • Paper towels and toilet rolls


The Government has updated PPE guidance following the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular for workers in the health and care sectors. Click here to see the updates as of April 2020. This guidance relates to the use of both disposable and reusable PPE.

Here are some suggestions for ways to make reusable PPE last for as long as possible.


Non-disposable items: laundering and cleaning

Before washing garments, close all fastenings such as zips or buttons, check pockets and turn items inside out.

Before cleaning PPE always check the care label and / or the manufacturer’s instructions. Choosing a suitable cleaning agent is a crucial element of effective workwear and PPE care and maintenance. Non-biological detergent is best for waterproof and breathable fabric, for example. Rubber gloves should be cleaned with mild soap or bleach-free detergent and tepid water and thoroughly rinsed to remove all traces of soap or detergent residue

Also check the advisable highest temperature and drying instructions. While UV rays can help to break down COVD-19, for example, it can also damage the effectiveness of PPE materials so a warm, dry area may be preferable to leaving items to dry in the sun once they have been thoroughly cleaned.


Storing is an important part of PPE care and a well thought out storage system can also. Correct storage of PPE reduces the likelihood of contamination and damage from harmful substances, high humidity, heat and light as well as helping you to manage stock levels.

  • Set clear expectations for PPE users on what they need to use, how to access it and how to store it. Provide written guidelines on proper storage procedures.
  • Ensure employees have clear, updated training on the use of PPE and are aware of a clear process to report any loss or destruction or any fault in PPE items.
  • Have a named person responsible for storage and managing stock levels of PPE.
  • Mark PPE storage areas clearly.
  • For PPE left at work after use each day, allocate storage space for employees to return their clothing and equipment. This will make inspections easier and reduce the possibility of losses.
  • Store items in a dry, clean area with enough space to clearly label and easily retrieve individual items.
  • Avoid keeping PPE near chemicals, oil or other hazardous substances.

You can find more up to date guidance on PPE at the HSE website here: www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/ppe.htm


As always our team are here to help you. Please do keep in touch with us and we’ll work with you to support you at this difficult time. Email us at sales@cisafety.com or call 01726 74264.




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