A Respirator Mask to Protect You From Bleach and Mold

full face respirator maskHepa filter and cartridgeIn this post we will look at a customer who was working with bleach and mold. This customer will need a respirator mask and filters to protect against both. We will look at what combinations do that:

I am looking for a respirator and respirator cartridges to protect me while I apply a bleach solution to my entire attic to kill mold. What would be the correct combination of mask and filters for that application?

This poses an interesting question. In looking at a mask and filters, we need to find a combination that protects you both from the bleach vapors, and also from the spores of the growing mold. First let’s look at respirator masks.

When using chlorine bleach, we want to use a full face respirator (vs. half mask) since bleach can affect all mucous membranes. This means that bleach will affect the eyes and nose, especially in close quarters with poor ventilation, like in an attic. For the full face mask, I recommend the 6800 Full Facepiece Respirator Mask by 3M. It is comfortable, seals well, and offers great protection for the price point.

If you were simply being exposed to mold spores, I would still recommend 6800 Full Facepiece Mask because the eyes present a pathway for mold spores to enter your body. Depending on the type of mold, and your sensitivity, this can be quite a problem. With exposure to either bleach or mold, you need to protect your mouth/lungs, nose and eyes.

For the filter cartridge, you will need a combination of a multi-gas cartridge and a P100 (HEPA) filter to protect you from the bleach vapors and mold spores respectively. The filter cartridge that does this the best is the 3M 60926 Multi-Gas/P100 Cartridge.

Once you have the mask/filter combination on, you should not be able to smell or taste the bleach. When you start to, it is time to change the cartridges. There is no set time, and this is the only indication that the life of the cartridge has been expended. They are then disposed of.

Mold spores and bleach vapors are not something you want to be exposed to, especially in poorly ventilated areas. Making sure that you have the right respirator mask and filter is essential for keeping yourself safe. If you have any questions about which mask and filters to use in your application, please feel free to contact us and ask.

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12 comments on “A Respirator Mask to Protect You From Bleach and Mold
  1. Mike says:

    Is there a cheaper filter I could use for just bleach? I don’t need protection from mold spores.

    • Administrator says:

      Hi Mike,

      You could certainly use something like the Moldex 2500 mask (http://www.pksafety.com/mo25agduma.html). It has nuisance-level protection from acid gas and bleach. However there are a couple of issues. First, if you are using a bleach solution to clean, it’s different than using it in your laundry. There is going to likely to be airborne droplets of bleach, and this can be really bad for your eyes. That’s why we recommend the full-face mask to begin with.

      Wear eye protection if you are going to use that solution. But be careful. Safety glasses and respirators are notorious for not working well together. You may have the right type of face so it still works, but some folks won’t. Be careful there aren’t gaps around the safety glasses that bleach can get past. I personally like these low-profile chemical splash goggles for under $5 – http://www.pksafety.com/pyramex-goggle-704-chemical.html.

      The next step up from the disposable mask will be using a regular half-face mask with the 3M Multi-Gas Cartridge. You are still going to have the same issues with eye protection, but you’ll be able to stand a stronger bleach mixture.

      Finally, remember that these fumes can be mitigated with some good air flow. A fan blowing fresh air in will help. Do what you can to improve ventilation.

      Good luck. Let us know if you have other questions. This is the kind of stuff we love to talk about.

      Justin
      PK Safety

  2. frank says:

    can i use those military mask for bleach and possible henta viruses

    • Administrator says:

      Hi Frank,

      I’m not sure about the Hanta Virus, but there is a sheet from 3M that talks about protection from Influenza and the WHO recommendations. It basically says an N95 disposable mask provides sufficient protection. We like the Moldex 2300 N95 mask.

      For the bleach protection, you’ll need an organic vapor cartridge like the 3M 6006. If you need to protect against both at once, you should consider adding a P95 pre-filter model number 5P71. The pre-filter connects over the top of the bleach cartridge so you can protect against both things at once.

      With this solution, you’ll also need the 3M 501 Retainer to hold the filter on the cartridge, and one of the 3M masks (I personally like the 7500 Series from 3M for maximum comfort).

      Hope this helps.

      Give us a ring or contact us online if you need more help.

      Thanks

      Justin McCarter
      PK Safety Supply
      800-829-9580

  3. J says:

    Hi Justin. I want to be protected from mold, and perhaps bleach and have some confusion about the filters. First, I’m going with a 3M full face mask. But when I when I google for what filter to use along with “3M”, I find a web page saying to use one of their P100 filters. But then I find at Home Depot this 2097 P-100 that is a pink disc. My first reaction was disappointment because it doesn’t look anywhere near as robust as the larger filters I’m used to. I do realize it’s designed for a certain particle size etc, but still I wonder..

    If I had my way, I’d put together something like a 6001 with the 2097 screwed on to the outside. Only there is no way to do that. But then I found this filter that looks like the same shape and size, yet it pink. So I read and it’s P100 and for “certain vapors” etc, and because 3M said to use P100, I think this is ok and looks much better than just the slim disc. Because I don’t want to just block mold spores, but smells and more. Then I found this your page and sure enough you are using one of these larger, pink filters – the 3M 60926. And that’s what I have in mind to get now.

    However I found on an isolated page from one person saying that P100 may not be enough and to use the 2097. So I feel led around in circles with no clear explanation. If I follow 3M, they say just use a P100. But if I read many of their filter descriptions, they just say, “certain organic vapors” and no mention of mold unless I get to the 2097. I’d hate to breath in mold sports because I didn’t use the right version.. But I can’t help but feel that the confusing vagueness of 3M was an over sight and the 60926 would be just fine for mold.

    Do you think the 60926 is definitely ok for mold, or have you read anything that says so? I’d hate to think that thin disc is all 3M offers. Or perhaps the 2097 is the cheapie and is just for mold, and the 60926 is the better one that will work for mold and more as you are eluding to in this page. Yet, I see nothing from 3M to reassure me. What do you think about it? If possible, can you please answer soon as I need to enter this horrid room in the next day or so and want the best 3M protection I can get. Thanks.

    You can answer here on the page, if you like.

    The site from 3M is here – http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/mediawebserver?mwsId=SSSSSu7zK1fslxtUM8_G5x_9ev7qe17zHvTSevTSeSSSSSS–

    ** Site that says a P100 won’t be enough and to use 2097 – but as the 3M site mentions, they say to use a P100. So do you see why I am confused? Here it is – http://www.pksafety.com/3m-2097-mold-filter-p100.html

    site talking about MVOCs – But I suppose I can just ventilate room – http://www.mold-control-on-a-budget.com/documents/41.html

  4. J says:

    2) of course now that I look closer, the 3M site that suggests P100 is form 2001. So now I’m really confused, LOL. Please help.

    • Administrator says:

      I know what I’d suggest, but I wanted to send your note along to my boss and see if agrees with me for your specific application.

      Hold tight.

      Also, there is a way to attach the 2097 to a 6001 (or 6006) cartridge. You use one of these: 502 Filter Adapter. I’ll get back to you first thing tomorrow.

      Justin

  5. J says:

    Thanks, I appreciate it. Hopefully the 60926 is good for mold and can be used alone. But with that adapter (502) you mentioned, I’ll be tempted to put the 2097 on it too. That is unless it’s overkill and starts to get hard to breath through them. I’ll do it if it’s needed. That said, finding out which ones truly protect from mold would be good to know, if you can find that. I’ll wait for your reply, thanks again.

    • Administrator says:

      You are definitely good with the 3M 60926. Fear not!

      You’ve said you have a full-face mask. That will keep any mold spores from getting into your eyes, which is critical.

      The 3M 60926 cartridge has a P-100 HEPA filter which will keep out 99.97% of all particles down to .3 microns. That’s incredibly small and will definitely keep mold spores from entering your lungs.

      This is almost exactly what I would recommend for you. The only difference is I might have recommended the multi-gas cartridge 3M 6006 (which is the base for the 60926) with an attachable pre-filter. And the only reason is that the 60926 combo doesn’t allow you to change filters if they fill up before the cartridge runs out. The 60926 are a little more expensive, but if you are just working on one big job, they will likely last you just fine.

      Remember, if it becomes hard to pull a breath through the cartridge, the filter part is likely full, and it’s time to change them out. HEPA filters don’t break down and start letting those harmful particles in, they just clog the filter and pulling breath through them becomes more difficult.

      Good luck on your project!

      Let us know if you have any more questions.

      Justin
      PK Safety

  6. J says:

    Oh, that’s great to hear then. So I’ll go ahead with the 60926 then. I also have a full-face mask which is new for me. But it feels a lot better knowing the shield is in front, plus a lot better than goggles in my opinion. Sometimes it feels like it’s not there because the view is wider than goggles, but it’s great.

    I figure the filter will last a while since I’m only doing one job as you said. I can just put it away and save it in a bag when done. It’s not like it’s for work or that I’d be breathing through it 40 hours a week. I’ll hopefully be done in an afternoon or two. Sometime when the 60926 is used up, or gets hard to breath through, I may try the combo idea you mentioned.

    It’s also interesting what you said about HEPA’s. I know there’s one in the vacuum, so they are getting really popular. Again, I appreciate you taking the time to check that for me, and thanks for explaining it so well. One can never be too careful, I figure. Thanks again. take care.

  7. Henry says:

    Okay so my brother started working in this job were they heavily treat the area with bleach to kill all bacteria because it’s a food packing place & he has bearly had this job for 2 days and he is coming home coughing a lot day and night and with his eyes all watery and red !! Every day even tho he showers the bleach snell is still their with him & I’m worried about his health I was looking for a full face mask that will protect him against the bleach in his work area, he works inside in a closed placed idk if they have air circulating or not but I need the mask not to be to expense but to be durable and strong please I need your help thank you

    • Administrator says:

      Hi Henry,

      Thanks for writing. Full-face masks are quite a bit more expensive than half-face. But Moldex offers your best bet for full face protection, reasonably priced. Check out the Moldex 9000 series masks. The cartridges for taking bleach out of the air are the Moldex 7600 Multi-Gas/Vapor Smart cartridges. To keep the cartridges fresh, make sure the mask goes in a plastic, air-tight bag after each shift.

      Another less expensive option might be a good half-face mask like the 3M 7500 series and the 3M version of the multi-gas organic vapor cartridges.

      Hope this helps. Over-use of bleach can certainly cause a serious health hazard.

      Justin
      PK Safety Supply

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