How to Disinfect Face Shields for Re-Use?

By Dr. Shruti Maroo Rathi

HOME | COVID-19 & DENTISTRY | How to Disinfect Face Shields for Re-Use?

Face shields are the personal protective equipment devices that are used by healthcare workers for protection of the facial area from splashes, sprays, and spatter of body fluids. With COVID-19 infection rates increasing every day, the demand for face shields is also skyrocketing. Manufacturers are working round the clock to meet the supply demand but still there is a severe shortage of these devices. Also, presence of many counterfeit devices makes it difficult to choose which product will work well. Therefore, reusing face-shields, that fits our requirement and comfortability criteria, becomes inevitable. This will not only help with the practice bottom line but also reduce the problem of waste disposal.

Proper Doffing of Face Shield:

To remove the face shield without damaging it, loosen the knob that sits over the back of your head, and lift the face shield off with a straight upward motion of the headpiece (donot lift or touch the clear shield as it may be infected or the pressure might cause the shield to break.

Disinfect Face-Shield by following technique:

One should adhere to recommended manufacturer instructions for cleaning and disinfection of face shield. When manufacturer instructions are unavailable, such as for single use disposable face shields, consider the following steps to disinfect the face shield:

1. Without removing the gloves, first carefully wipe the inside of the face shield, followed by the outside of the face shield or goggles using a clean cloth soaked in a mild detergent solution or cleaner wipe. It is critical to remove the bioburden prior to disinfecting.

2. Using a clean cloth dipped in a disinfectant solution, carefully wipe the outside of the face shield or goggles. The required contact time of face shield with disinfectant ranges from thirty seconds to as long as four minutes.

3. To remove residues, use clean water or alcohol to wipe the outside of face shield

4. Air dry the face shield completely

5. Remove gloves and perform hand hygiene.

6. Place in clean location labeled with health care worker’s name. Smaller face shields/goggles may be stored in an envelope*

7.Perform Hand Hygiene again

Avoid following types of household cleaners for disinfection of face shields as it may damage the plastic surface permanently resulting in a cloudy surface.

1. Disinfectant containing ammonia

2. Products formulated to clean glass surfaces

3. Commercial cleaners that contain any type of grit are also contraindicated, including toothpaste

4. Avoid using paper towels, which can create microscopic scratches.

In case of doubt, run a compatibility test by applying the disinfectant on the corner on the shield, such as the edge. While checking for scratches make sure the test area is out of your line of sight.

References:

  1. CDC: Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of Eye Protection
  2. Face Shields: University of Iowa healthcare
  3. RDH Magazine

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