The Right Way to Clean Your Gas Detector Devices

The Right Way to Clean Your Gas Detector Devices


Gas detector devices are life-saving instruments that detect the presence of gases in a determined area. To be effective, personal gas monitors must be worn near your breathing zone, defined by OSHA as “a hemisphere forward of the shoulders within a radius of approximately 6 to 9 inches”.

Wearing a gas detection device near your nose and mouth implies that some of the bacteria, dirt, and dust collected by the monitor may be very close to your face.

This is the reason why regular cleaning of your devices is key, and at this time, routine cleaning and disinfecting can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and other illnesses.

Avoid regular disinfectants

When you want to clean your gas detector, you might think of using a disinfecting wipe or any other cleaning products, like you usually would, and that is precisely what you should not do.

Gas monitors include sensitive electronic elements that require special care during its cleaning and disinfecting. The sensors and sensor housings are highly sensitive to chemicals, including alcohol, and using them to clean your device could prevent it from functioning correctly, placing you in hazardous situations.

You should avoid sanitizing your device with cleaning products that include the following ingredients:

  • Alcohol, including products such as Purell® and Lysol® or Lysol wipes

  • Sodium hypochlorite (bleach), including products such as Clorox® or Clorox wipes

  • D-limonene, including products such as Dawn® or Sunlight® dishwashing liquid

  • Silicone, including products such as Armor-All® or Armor-All wipes1

Routine cleaning and disinfecting

Before using a disinfectant, conduct routine cleaning following the user manual to remove dirt and other contaminants.

Disinfection Guidance

To complete disinfection, follow the cleaning product manufacturer’s instructions and contact time information.

MSA’s recommendation regarding products:

  1. MSA Confidence Plus® 2 cleaner

  2. Other disinfectants may be used if they meet the following criteria:

  • Active ingredient of only hydrogen peroxide OR only quaternary ammonium

  • Do not contain alcohol at a concentration greater than 0.1% by weight

  • Do not contain sodium hypochlorite at a concentration greater than 7.4% as an active ingredient

  1. You can also use a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide in water with five minutes of contact time on the surfaces.

  1. If no other cleaning products meeting the above criteria are available, diluted household bleach may be used as a temporary measure until an option from the above list is available. CDC recommends preparing a bleach solution by mixing the following:

  • Five tablespoons (⅓ cup) bleach per gallon of water OR four teaspoons bleach per quart of water

The recommended concentration is 2% bleach in water. This is equivalent to 0.15% sodium hypochlorite maximum. To avoid damaging the detectors, do not exceed these cited concentrations.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation, ensuring a contact time of at least one minute.

Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.

After using disinfectants, it is recommended that you wipe down the product with water to remove any residue that may impact the product over time.


The guidance listed above is based on guidance from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding COVID-19, the following cleaning methods may be used for all portable gas detectors that have the MSA ALTAIR® branding, including the 4XR, 5X, 5X PID, 4X, 4XM, 2X, and single-gas varieties.2

You should always follow your cleaning product manufacturer’s instructions.

2 MSA (April 10, 2020). Product Cleaning Guidance: Portable Gas Detection Instruments.