How to Remove PPE in the Correct Order

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is an integral part of effective infection control in all healthcare settings.

We covered the various types of PPE that exist in our guide to infection control in operating theatres. We also explored some of the protocols concerning PPE in our guide to standard infection control precautions.

In this post we’ll explain how to remove PPE in the correct order to help prevent and control infection. Please note that we intend for this to act as a general introduction to the guidelines, and why they exist. For a complete guide to how to remove PPE in the correct order, please consult your hospital’s infection control protocols.

How To Remove PPE in the Correct Order

You should remove PPE in an order that minimises the risks of cross-contamination. You should remove PPE in a designated area, and dispose of it using designated receptacles.

For this guide, let’s assume you’re wearing the standard PPE healthcare workers used for infection control throughout the COVID-19 pandemic: an apron or gown, a visor (or goggles) for eye protection, a face mask, and gloves.

The Order For Removing PPE

  • Start With The Gloves. First, grasp the outside of one glove with the opposite gloved hand. Peel it off slowly, holding the removed glove in your other gloved hand. Then slide the fingers of your ungloved hand under the remaining glove at the wrist, before peeling it off. Discard of the gloves as orange clinical waste, then perform the standard hand hygiene protocol.
  • Next comes the gown. Break the straps at the neck, allowing the gown to fold forward on itself. Then break the waste straps at your back. Fold the gown in on itself, then fold or roll it into a bundle before discarding. Take care not to touch the outside surface of the gown, and clean your hands again having discarded it.
  • Eye protection comes next. Don’t touch the front of the eye protection. Only touch it by the headband, or the sides. If your eye protection’s disposable, place it in the orange clinical waste receptacle. If it’s reusable, place it in the appropriate receptacle for decontamination. Having disposed of the eye protection, clean your hands again.
  • Finally, your face mask. If you’re wearing an elasticated mask, remove it by pulling the loops over your ears. If you’re wearing a tied mask, untie or break the lower straps first, then the upper straps. In either case, only hold the mask by the loops or straps, and discard them as orange clinical waste. After this, wash your hands once more.

Please note – these are general guidelines for general health practitioners. Different healthcare settings, such as operating theatres, require different types of PPE, and there will be different protocols for both applying and removing this PPE.

Best Practice for Infection Control in Healthcare Settings

PPE is only effective if it fits correctly. We offer a specialist face fit testing service to help you ensure that your entire healthcare team can depend on their facial coverings for maximum protection. Head here for more information about Face Fit Testing.

We also stock a comprehensive range of infection control products for hospitals and other healthcare settings. Head here to browse our range of infection control solutions.