Clinician wearing a half facepiece reusable respirator checking an IV

3M™ Reusable Elastomeric Respirators

3M™ Half Facepiece Reusable Respirators are another respiratory protection option for healthcare workers. When used with replaceable particulate filters, reusable respirators offer a minimum of 95% filtration efficiency. They also have the ability to be disinfected and reused.


  • 3M™ Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6000 Series

    • Comfortable, soft, lightweight facepiece with adjustable head straps
    • Can be disassembled, cleaned and reused
    • Available in 3 sizes (small-6100, medium-6200, large-6300)

Reusable Respirators by the Numbers

Reusable respirators (RRs) offer a sustainable option to help protect healthcare workers from potentially infectious airborne particles.

  • Graphic 1 reusable respirator is equal to 576 filtering facepiece respirators

    Projected respirators needed during a severe pandemic: 1 reusable respirator = 576 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs).¹

  • Graphic $200 savings per employee protected

    In one study, reusable respirators save $200 per protected employee compared to disposable respirators during high-exposure risk use.¹

  • Graphic 4.1 out of 5 for resuable respirators compared to 3.6 out of 5 filtering facepiece respirators

    In a comparative study, users rated their sense of protection as 4.1 of 5 for reusable respirators (RRs) vs. 3.6 of 5 for filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs).²


  • Nurse wearing a reusable respirator

    Amanda, a third generation nurse, describes working 12-hour shifts in a busy COVID-19 ICU unit. Her team had been reusing N95 masks five times before discarding them. But recently, they were issued reusable respirators. “It’s meant to be reused,” she says, “I feel more secure. I can breathe easier.”


Frequently Asked Questions on Reusable Respirators

  • How often do I need to change the filter?

    3M particulate filters are enhanced with electrostatically charged fibers to help trap particulates within the filter media. As particles are collected on the filter media, the respirator will eventually become more difficult to breathe through comfortably.

    Replace 3M™ Particulate Filters when:
     

    • It becomes difficult to breathe comfortably (this will vary from individual to individual).
    • The filter becomes dirty or physical damage occurs.
    • The filter is wet or submerged.
    • Per facility’s infection control policy.

    3M does not recommend cleaning or disinfection of filter media (e.g., disc-style filters and pre-filter pads). However, some 3M filter products have a hard-plastic case surrounding the filter media, i.e., NIOSH part number 7093, filter adapter 603 and filter retainer 501. This hard case can be cleaned by wiping the outside surface with a damp cloth soaked in disinfecting solution. Do not allow the disinfecting solution to reach the internal filter media and do not submerge the hard-case filters in the disinfecting solution or water. Utilize the same disinfection solutions as recommended for 3M facepieces.

    Possible disinfection methods:
     

    • Sodium hypochlorite solution (at a free chlorine concentration of 5,000 ppm) with 1-minute contact time.
    • 70% Isopropanol solution with 5-minute contact time.

    Technical Bulletin for Cleaning and Disinfecting 3M™ Reusable Elastomeric half and full facepiece respirators following potential exposure to Coronaviruses (PDF, 1.42 MB)

  • Per 3M Product User Instructions for the 6000 Series and 6500 Series half facepiece respirators, cleaning is recommended after each use¹. Disinfection frequency will be based on your facility infection control policy but should also reference guidance from OSHA that states “…respirators must be cleaned as often as necessary to prevent them from becoming unsanitary. In addition, respirators worn by more than one user must be cleaned and disinfected before being worn by a different user…” ².

    Cleaning refers to the removal of visible soil from objects and surfaces, and normally is accomplished manually or mechanically using water with detergents or enzymatic products. Disinfection is defined as a process that eliminates many or all pathogenic microorganisms. In general, cleaning and disinfecting consists of taking the respirator apart, washing it, disinfecting it, thoroughly rinsing it, and putting it back together when it is dry.

    The Bessesen, et. al (2015) article discusses standard operating procedures (SOP) for cleaning and disinfection of reusable elastomeric respirators⁴. OSHA also outlines suggested cleaning SOP which discusses submersion of the facepiece. Additionally, the technical bulletin noted below further discusses cleaning and disinfection options following exposure to coronaviruses⁵,⁶.
     

    1. 3M™ 6000 Series User Instructions (PDF, 1.07 MB)
    2. OSHA Maintenance and Care
    3. Lawrence (2017)
    4. Bessesen (2015)
    5. OSHA Cleaning Procedures
    6. 3M™ Technical Bulletin Cleaning and Disinfecting 3M Reusable Elastomeric Half and Full Facepiece Respirators following Potential Exposure to Coronaviruses (PDF, 1.43 MB)
  • The 3M™ 6000 Series Half Facepiece (6100, 6200, 6300) and 6500 Series (6501, 6502, 6503) respirators contain no components made from natural rubber latex.
  • No, a user seal check and fit test are different procedures.

    A user seal check is performed by the respirator wearer to determine if the respirator has properly sealed to the face each time it is put on. Employees required to wear tight-fitting respiratory protection in the workplace must perform a user seal check each time they put on their respirator as required by US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations*. Air will take the path of least resistance, so if the seal is improperly maintained, there may be leak paths that allow the air to flow around the facepiece seal rather than through the filter(s) and therefore compromise the respiratory protection afforded to the user. A user seal check is only applicable when a respirator has already been successfully fit tested on the individual.

    Here is an example of a qualitative fit testing method, using 3M fit testing kits: (PDF, 650 KB)

    *Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (2014). Regulations (Standards-29 CFR)-Table of Contents.  US Department of Labor.

  • The CDC states “Elastomeric respirators with exhalation valves should not be used in surgical settings due to concerns that unfiltered air coming out of the exhalation valve, potentially contaminated with microbes, may contaminate the surgical field.”* Some N95 respirators may also feature an exhalation valve which is intended as a comfort feature to help release the wearer’s warm exhaled breath into the environment. It is important that this valve is recognized and then determined by the facility where these respirators are appropriate for use.

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/elastomeric-respirators-strategy/index.html

  • Reusable (elastomeric) respirators are not surgical masks as they are not cleared by FDA for fluid resistance or as medical devices to be used in surgical applications, per FDA regulations. The CDC states “Elastomeric respirators with exhalation valves should not be used in surgical settings due to concerns that unfiltered air coming out of the exhalation valve, potentially contaminated with microbes, may contaminate the surgical field.” * Some N95 respirators may also feature an exhalation valve which is intended as a comfort feature to help release the wearer’s warm exhaled breath into the environment. It is important that this valve is recognized and then determined by the facility where these respirators are appropriate for use.

    *https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/elastomeric-respirators-strategy/index.html


3M™ 6000 Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator Use

  • 3M™ 6000 Series Half Facepiece Respirator with 7093 Filter
    3M™ 6000 Series Half Facepiece Respiratory with 3M™ Particular Filter 7093 (P100)
  • 3M™ 6000 Series Half Facepiece Respirator with 5N11 Combination
    3M™ 6000 Series Half Facepiece Respiratory with 3M™ Particular Filter 5N11 (N95)
  • Interim Disinfection 3M™ 6000 Series Half Facepiece Respirator
    Interim Disinfection 3M™ 6000 Series Half Facepiece Respirator
  • Submersion Disinfection 3M™ 6000 Series Half Facepiece Respirator
    Submersion Disinfection 3M™ 6000 Series Half Facepiece Respirator

Additional Respiratory Protection Product Options


Additional Respiratory Protection Resources

  • We know you have questions related to PPE. We’re here to provide guidance on the different types of PPE, understanding proper use and helping to protect your skin from prolonged PPE use.

  • From disposable and reusable respirators to powered air-purifying respirators, explore the range of respiratory protection options that are available for use in healthcare environments.

  • Fit testing is a critical part of your respiratory protection program. Learn more about fit testing and resources available to help protect your team.

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  • Citations

    1. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2019. Reusable Reusable Elastomeric Respirators in Health Care: Considerations for Routine and Surge Use. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25275.
    2. Hines, S. E., Brown, C., Oliver, M., Gucer, P., Frisch, M., Hogan, R., ... & McDiarmid, M. (2019). User acceptance of reusable respirators in health care. American journal of infection control, 47(6), 648-655.