It is recommended that you replace your mask filter every day, or at least every seven uses. However, this will depend on how often you wash your mask, as filters cannot be cleaned. For dust-free workplaces, it is best to replace the filter after 16 to 24 hours of full use. If you are exposed to very dusty activities, such as carpentry or gardening, you should discard the PM2.5 filter immediately after finishing the task.
Respirator filters and cartridges do not have a set lifespan. It depends largely on what you are trying to filter out of the breathing zone. The filters work like a filter, trapping particles from the air you breathe through them. When it is filled with debris, it is time to replace the filter.
On the other hand, the cartridges work like a sponge, since they absorb dangerous vapors from the air. Once the granulated carbon granules have absorbed everything they can, the vapors start to pass through. You must change the filter if it ever exceeds the indicated expiration date. It is also recommended to replace the cartridges within six months of opening them, even if you haven't used them. A five-layer filter system ensures maximum protection against dust, contaminants and pollen allergens.
The lifespan of the filter or cartridge depends on how often you use the respirator, the target substance, and the conditions of the work environment. Good quality PM2.5 filters are equipped with a combination of five layers of non-woven fabric, molten cotton and activated carbon. There is a common theory that you should change the filter when you can taste the chemical or particles, or if it becomes more difficult to breathe through the respirator. Tears, tears, broken straps, broken nasal parts that can't be replaced, seams that come loose; any damage to the mask is enough to stop it from being an effective barrier between you and diseases or environmental contaminants. PM2.5 filters can be powerful protective equipment, but their adsorption properties also have their limits. Creases, tears and other manifestations of deformation limit the surface covered by the filters, allowing contaminants to pass through the mask.
Consider investing in a portable disinfectant with a UV-C light to disinfect your carbon filter between intermittent use. OSHA requires employers to provide a schedule for replacing respirator filters and cartridges so that their workers have an idea of how long they will need to change them. Focus on creating a filter change schedule for your workplace and adjust it regularly to provide maximum safety for workers.