Technical bulletin on Coronavirus and the effective sanitisation of Respirex reusable garments

26th March 2020

To ensure that Respirex reusable PPE does not pose a risk of infection to the next wearer of the garment, Respirex recommends that, after the normal routine cleaning process, the inside and outside surfaces of the suit (including components such as visors, cuff etc) should be cleaned with a 0.1% sodium hypochlorite solution. Research has suggested (see below) that this will kill the virus in under one minute. After cleaning, suits should be rinsed thoroughly with plenty of clean water and then dried. Sodium hypochlorite is the active ingredient in domestic bleach; concentrations vary by brand but are typically around 5% sodium hypochlorite (check the product labelling), so a dilute solution of domestic bleach can be used to produce an effective disinfectant solution. N.B. Bleach should only be diluted with water, diluting/mixing with other products can cause toxic fumes.

For air-fed suits and hoods, care should be taken to avoid ingress of the cleaning solution or water into the air system, but outside surfaces (pipes etc) can be wiped with the sodium hypochlorite solution and then wiped with a damp cloth – viral contamination inside the air system is unlikely given that air will be constantly flowing when used. Exhalation valves should be cleaned in the same way, and care should be taken to prevent water or disinfectant ingress into the valve mechanism.

Boots can again be washed (or submerged) in 0.1% sodium hypochlorite solution and then thoroughly rinsed afterwards.

For Respirex garments that go through a laundering process (e.g. reusable chemical protective jackets & trousers), the washing temperature of 30oC is not sufficient to kill the virus, however a disinfectant can be added to the laundry cycle at the manufacturers recommended dosage.

For customers using Synodor to hygienically clean and de-odorise garments, we have checked with the manufacturer and it does not kill the virus, so the steps above should be taken in addition to normal cleaning with Synodor.

Finally, It is important to remember that the person disinfecting the garments is not only potentially at risk of contracting the virus, but also of passing it on, so when disinfecting garments remember to wear gloves and a facemask, do not touch your face while working and wash your hands immediately afterwards.

Günter Kampf, University Medicine Greifswald, Institute for Hygiene and Environmental Medicine, Germany (Feb, 2020)
Potential role of inanimate surfaces for the spread of coronaviruses and their inactivation with disinfectant agents.