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Are P2 Masks Suitable for Mould Cleaning?

Are P2 Masks Suitable for Mould Cleaning?

, by Aussie Pharma Direct, 9 min reading time

When your home becomes a breeding ground for mould, it can become a health hazard. The spores released by mould can have a detrimental effect on your health, particularly if you're allergic or sensitive to them. These microscopic spores can easily be inhaled, leading to respiratory issues, allergic reactions, and in severe cases, can exacerbate asthma or lead to lung infections.

Cleaning mould isn't as straightforward as dealing with ordinary household dirt or dust. Mould spores are tenacious; they cling to surfaces and become airborne at the slightest disturbance. This means that a simple wipe-down can potentially release thousands of spores into the air, right where they can be inhaled.

So, here's where proper protection comes in. You'll need to equip yourself with the right PPE, including masks to prevent inhaling these harmful spores. But with a variety of face masks available, choosing the right one can be confusing, as some offer little to no defence against the microscopic threats posed by mould. This is where P2 masks come into play. Known for their ability to filter out fine particles, P2 masks are often recommended for tasks like mould cleaning. But how effective are they really?

What you should know about P2 masks

When it comes to protecting yourself from inhaling hazardous particles, such as mould spores, not all masks are created equal. Understanding the capabilities and limitations of different masks is crucial, especially when dealing with mould remediation in your home. Among the various options available, P2 masks stand out for their specific design and filtration efficacy.

P2 masks are a classification of respirators that adhere to the Australian/New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS 1716:2012) for respiratory protective devices. These masks are designed to filter out particles more efficiently than standard cloth or surgical masks. The "P" stands for "Particle," and the "2" indicates the mask's compliance level, offering protection against moderate levels of dust, as well as solid and liquid aerosols. P2 masks are equivalent to N95 masks used in the United States, indicating they filter at least 94% of airborne particles, making them suitable for various industrial and healthcare settings, including mould cleaning.

How P2 masks filter particles

P2 masks are engineered with multiple layers of filtering material, typically including an electrostatic layer. This design allows them to trap and filter out tiny particles from the air before they can be inhaled. When you breathe in, air passes through these layers, but particles are caught in the fibres of the mask. The electrostatic layer is particularly effective at capturing very fine particles, such as mould spores, because it attracts and holds onto them.

Effectiveness of P2 masks in blocking different particle sizes

Mould spores vary in size, typically ranging from 1 to 100 microns, depending on the type of mould and environmental conditions, with many falling into the smaller end of this spectrum. P2 masks are designed to filter out particles within this range, including the smaller, more respirable particles that pose the greatest risk to respiratory health.

The multi-layered construction of P2 masks, combined with their electrostatic properties, enables them to capture a high percentage of particles, even those as small as 0.3 microns in diameter. This includes not only mould spores but also other common indoor air pollutants such as dust, pollen, and pet dander.

Types of masks suitable for mould cleaning

When it comes to protecting yourself from mould spores during cleaning tasks, selecting the right mask is essential. Here are some types of masks suitable for various levels of mould cleaning:

  1. P2 masks

Suitability: P2 masks, also known as P2 respirators, provide moderate protection and are suitable for light mould cleaning tasks.

Filtration: These masks are designed to filter out at least 94% of airborne particles, including mould spores.

Usage: Ideal for short-duration tasks or occasional exposure to mould, such as cleaning small areas or spot treatments

Considerations: Ensure a proper fit and seal for maximum effectiveness, and replace the mask when it becomes soiled or damaged.

  1. N95 masks

Suitability: NIOSH N95 masks offer similar filtration efficiency to P2 masks and are suitable for light to moderate mould cleaning.

Filtration: These masks filter out at least 95% of airborne particles, including mould spores.

Usage: Suitable for short to moderate duration tasks, such as cleaning larger areas or prolonged exposure to mould in confined spaces.

Considerations: Choose masks certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for reliable protection, and ensure a snug fit for optimal performance.

Note: Australian-made AMD P2 masks offer a level of protection similar to that of N95 masks, making them stand out from standard P2 masks available in Australia. These masks utilise nano-fibre technology to enhance filtration efficiency, providing effective protection against airborne particles, including mould spores.

  1. Reusable respirators with P100 filters

Suitability: Reusable respirators equipped with P100 filters offer high-level protection and are suitable for extended mould cleaning tasks.

Filtration: P100 filters provide the highest level of particle filtration, capturing 99.97% of airborne particles, including mould spores.

Usage: Ideal for prolonged exposure to mould, such as extensive remediation projects or professional cleaning tasks.
Considerations: Choose a respirator with adjustable straps for a customised fit, and follow manufacturer guidelines for filter replacement and maintenance. 

Factors to consider when choosing PPE for mould cleaning

When engaging in mould cleaning activities, selecting the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is crucial for ensuring your safety and minimising health risks. Here are several factors to consider when choosing PPE for mould cleaning:

  1. Types of PPE
  • Masks - Select masks with adequate filtration capabilities to prevent inhalation of mould spores. Options include P2, P100 or N95 respirators, depending on the level of protection required.
  • Gloves - Choose gloves made of durable materials, such as nitrile or latex, to protect your hands from direct contact with mould and cleaning agents. 

Shop selections of high-quality nitrile gloves at Aussie Pharma Direct.

  • Protective clothing - Wear coveralls or disposable suits to shield your body from exposure to mould spores and contaminants. Mould spores can irritate the skin and, in some cases, lead to dermatitis or other skin conditions. Ensure the clothing covers your arms, legs, and torso completely.
  1. Adequate protection
  • Filtration efficiency - Ensure that the selected masks offer sufficient filtration efficiency (at least 95%)  to capture airborne mould spores. Masks should comply with relevant standards, such as AS/NZS 1716:2012 in Australia and New Zealand or NIOSH certification in the United States. Always ensure that the PPE you’re using is approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to meet safety standards. (See a list of all products regulated by the TGA here).
  • Seal and fit - Verify that masks provide a proper seal around your nose and mouth to prevent leakage of air and contaminants. Gloves and protective clothing should also fit snugly to minimise the risk of exposure

When do you need a professional mould remediation

In cases of extensive mould growth, such as widespread infestations covering large areas or deeply embedded within building materials, DIY remediation efforts may not be sufficient. 

Mould remediation is a complex process that often necessitates professional intervention due to the severity of contamination and associated health risks. Professionals have the expertise and resources to assess the scope of contamination accurately and implement effective remediation strategies.

As mentioned before, mould exposure can pose significant health risks, particularly for individuals with respiratory conditions, allergies, or compromised immune systems. Professional remediation helps mitigate these risks by minimising exposure to harmful mould spores and contaminants.

Importance of hiring trained professionals for extensive mould growth:

  • Expertise - Trained professionals possess the knowledge and experience to identify mould species, assess the extent of contamination, and develop effective remediation plans tailored to specific situations. Their expertise ensures thorough and efficient remediation while minimising the risk of recurring mould growth.
  • Access to appropriate PPE - Professionals have access to specialised PPE designed for mould remediation, ensuring comprehensive protection against exposure to hazardous mould spores and contaminants. 
  • Compliance with regulations - Professional mould remediation companies adhere to industry standards and regulatory guidelines governing mould remediation practices. Compliance ensures that remediation activities are conducted safely and effectively, minimising liability risks and ensuring regulatory compliance.


Mould cleaning may seem like a straightforward task, but it requires careful consideration and proper protective measures to ensure your safety and well-being. From selecting the right personal protective equipment (PPE) to following recommended guidelines and procedures, every aspect of mould remediation demands attention to detail, especially when it comes to respiratory protection.

While it's tempting to underestimate the potential hazards of mould exposure, the reality is that mould spores can pose significant health risks, particularly to the respiratory system. Inhaling airborne mould spores can trigger allergic reactions, exacerbate respiratory conditions, and even lead to serious lung infections in vulnerable individuals. Therefore, safeguarding your respiratory health should be a top priority during mould cleaning activities.

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