How to wear a respirator

Correct wearing of respiratory masks

Breathing masks are compulsory in nearly all states- This means that a protective mask must be worn in public. On this occasion we have provided these instructions on how to wear a respirator mask correctly and how to put it on and take it off hygienically.

We would also like to point out that self-sewn respirator masks have no proven protective function, so that self-produced protective masks are not protective equipment or even a medical product, but pure clothing. The self-sewn masks (also known as "community masks", DIY masks or makeshift mouth and nose protectors) are masks that you can make yourself from commercially available materials. Because it is a textile barrier, tightly woven fabrics are more suitable than lightly woven fabrics. The function of the masks produced by yourself is to reduce the speed of respiratory flow, saliva ejection, mucus ejection or droplet ejection when coughing, sneezing or speaking, and thus also to reduce the speed at which COVID-19 spreads in the population. So you protect other people, if at all. In our eyes, self-made masks should be viewed critically, as community masks give a deceptive feeling of security! Nothing is worse for us to look at than someone who does not turn away from other people when coughing because of his masks and coughs correctly into a fresh handkerchief or the crook of his arm according to the recommendations of the Ministry of Health. Moreover, we often see people standing much too close together, especially because of the supposed safety of a respirator mask, to be able to understand each other because of the difficult communication through such a respirator. An absolute fiasco through ignorance! And as the old saying goes: "Ignorance does not protect against corona".

Correct hand washing, correct coughing and sneezing and the greatest possible safety distance (at least 1.5 metres) should be maintained and protect you and your fellow human beings much better. Do not rely 100% on your mask, because even the medically best certified FFP3 respirators still have a permeability of 2%! Isolate yourself as best you can, especially if you belong to a risk group, suffer from an acute respiratory disease or are a smoker. Because the only 100% protection against Covid-19 is absolute insulation. Even parcels or food deliveries should not be touched for 72 hours after delivery, so that the corona virus dies on the surface of the parcels and there are too few viruses on the surface not to transmit the corona virus to you. If you still want to wear a "community mask", or if you have to wear a mask due to compulsory masking and delivery bottlenecks, you should consider the following points.

Instructions for the correct use of a respirator mask

Correct use of a respirator mask, a mouth and nose protector or a "community mask" for private use according to the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices:

  • The community masks should only be used for private use.
  • Before putting them on, you must wash your hands properly so that the inside is not contaminated, and also when taking them off, so that you do not carry the pathogens to your face with your hand. How to wash your hands properly you can see here in our tutorial about "How to wash your hands properly".
  • The breathing mask has to be placed correctly over mouth, nose and cheeks and has to fit as tight as possible at the edges to minimize air infiltration at the sides. If the mask has a metal bar, it should be pressed tightly against the nose.
  • The breathing mask should not slip, even when moving and under load.
  • The first time the breathing mask is used, it should be tested to ensure that the mask allows enough air to pass through to minimise interference with normal breathing.
  • A damp breathing mask should be removed immediately and replaced if possible.
  • The outside of the used mask is potentially infectious. To prevent contamination of hands, the mask should not be touched when removed and should be washed immediately. This will avoid cross-contamination.
  • After taking off the breathing mask, the hands should be washed thoroughly in accordance with the general rules of hygiene. How to wash your hands properly you can see in our tutorial about "How to wash your hands properly".
  • After taking off the breathing mask, it should be kept in a bag or similar. airtightly sealed or washed immediately. It should be stored for as short a time as possible to prevent mould growth.
  • After a single use, masks should best be washed at 95 degrees, but at least at 60 degrees, and then dried completely. Observe any manufacturer's instructions regarding the maximum number of cycles after which the strength and functionality is still given. Many masks, especially disposable masks, cannot be washed or reused! As these already lose their protective effect almost completely with a single wash.
  • If available, all manufacturer's instructions should be followed.

The Robert Koch Institute and the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices recommend the use of self-produced masks (so-called "community masks", DIY masks or makeshift mouth-nose masks) in order to raise awareness of "social distancing" and to support the health-related careful treatment of oneself and others. However, one must be aware that self-sewn respirators are not protective equipment, but an article of clothing. The best protection after absolute isolation or contact reduction is always good hand hygiene and the recommendations of the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) on correct coughing and sneezing, so that one protects oneself and others as much as possible from an infection with SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19). Wearing a scarf or shawl in front of the mouth should be an absolute stopgap.

In addition, the following rules issued by the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) should be observed when using a self-produced mask in public places:

The current hygiene regulations, in particular the current recommendations of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI, and the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA, should still be observed:

  • Even with a mask, the safety distance of at least 1.50 m from other people recommended by the WHO should be maintained.
  • Isolate yourself as best you can, especially if you belong to a risk group or suffer from an acute respiratory disease.
  • Clean your nose, cough and sneeze correctly
  • Wash your hands medically throughly

The effectiveness of an respirator or breathing mask depends not only on the filter properties, but above all on the right fit (sealing seat) based on the sealing line to achieve optimum filtration. The medical respirator must therefore be placed tightly over the nose, mouth and chin of the wearer and ensure that it does not slip during use. It is recommended that the bearded wearer remove his beard to provide optimum protection against respiratory secretions, primarily droplets, for example when coughing and sneezing, as well as during certain procedures associated with aerosol formation (e.g. bronchoscopy) and to prevent transmission and respiratory tract infections. Thus, the transmission path of SARS-Cov-2, also known as COVID-19, can be restricted to prevent an increase in the transmission wave.

In addition, it must be easy and hygienic to attach and remove the respirator without the user coming into contact with the contaminated outer surface, for example with the fingers.

The field of vision must not be restricted and the respirator must not slip when worn.

After removing the respirator, hands should be completely disinfected. In addition, a mask should never be worn around the neck, but should only be put on just before entering a contaminated area and should be removed immediately after leaving the contaminated area and disposed of hygienically safely.

We hope we have been able to provide you with valuable information on the correct wearing of respirators and community masks. If you have any further questions about respirators or would like to order directly from us, please feel free to contact us via our contact form.

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