Home / How to Properly Put on a Respirator

Before Putting On the Mask:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Inspect your respirator for any damage or potential contamination. If it appears damaged, replace it with a new one.
  3. Make sure that no hair, facial hair, jewelry, clothing, glasses or anything else is preventing a proper seal between your face and the respirator mask.

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Putting On the Mask:

  1. Hold your respirator in your palm with the nose piece at your fingertips.
  2. Cup the respirator to your face, holding it under your chin with the nosepiece up. Make sure the straps are hanging below your hand for easy access.
  3. Depending on the type of mask you are using, either loop the straps around your ears, or pull the top strap to the top back of your head and the bottom strap around the neck below your ears. Make sure you do not cross your straps. Adjust them to ensure a close fit to the face.
  4. Place your fingertips from both hands on the metal nose clip and slide them down both sides to mold the mask to the shape of your nose.

CDC N95 Donning Information

Checking the Seal:

For the most effective filtration, N95 respirator masks should form a proper seal around your mouth and nose. To check that there are no leaks in your seal, follow these steps:

  1. Place both hands over the mask and breathe in to ensure that the respirator seals tightly to the face.
  2. Completely cover the mask with your hands and exhale. If you feel air leaking out around the nose or chin, there is not yet a proper seal.
  3. If a leak was felt around the nose, adjust the nosepiece to fit more closely to the face. If air leaked from around the edges, adjust the straps so that the mask fits snugly to the face.
  4. Retest for leakage and readjust until a proper seal is achieved.

Taking Off the Mask:

DO NOT TOUCH THE FRONT OF THE MASK DURING REMOVAL. Follow these simple steps to safely remove your respirator:

  1. If you’re using a mask with top and bottom straps, start by pulling the bottom strap over the back of the head followed by the top strap. If you are using an ear loop mask, simply hold the ear straps and pull away from the face.
  2. Holding the mask by its straps, discard in a waste container.
  3. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

CDC N95 Doffing Information