Can other PPE (gowns, face shields, goggles) be cleaned and re-used?
Any personal protective equipment can be cleaned in usual fashion and then left for a period of 3-5 days before use again. However, maintaining such a rotating inventory for individuals or frequent shift work may not be practical, and there is theoretical concern regarding the safety of some workers handling large volumes of contaminated materiel. In addition, some equipment such as disposable isolation gowns are designed for single use – their integrity may deteriorate and they may not repel liquid on multiple re-use or laundering/sanitizing. Re-useable isolation gowns often tolerate up to 50 laundry cycles, although this may vary by manufacturer and fabric.
It is important to remember that disinfectants include chemicals that are irritants, potential sensitizers, or otherwise toxic (e.g., ethylene oxide) – these chemicals should never be applied directly to skin and should never be ingested. In addition, a certain residence time is required in order to kill biological organisms on surfaces. Thus, these products should never be applied and wiped off quickly, or the device immediately placed back on by the worker.
Kiline FS. A review of isolation gowns in healthcare: fabric and gown properties. J Engineered Fibers Fabrics 2015;10(3):180-190. Accessed on May 6, 2020 at: http://www.jeffjournal.org/papers/Volume10/V10I3(20)%20F.%20Kilinc.pdf