What is PPE? Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is clothing or equipment designed to reduce your exposure to chemical, biological, and physical hazards when in a shop or worksite. This can range from common usages of gloves, goggles, and a hardhat all the way to lab coats, flame-retardant clothes, and a fall harness. The definition is very broad for a reason, so we’ll pare it down to what we really need if for: Printing DTF things. Just so we’re clear: DTF POWDER AND INK IS SAFE TO HANDLE AND USE. These recommendations are aimed to aid in the prevention of workplace accidents and hazards. Most of the specific scenarios laid out here are extreme possibilities. The chance of having an issue is extremely low, BUT NEVER ZERO.
DTF uses a fine powder and special ink blends that can be hazardous if splashed in the face or eyes. It is always beneficial to wear any sort of eye protection when working with fine materials. We recommend wearing a face shield or goggles when working with your DTF powder. It would be difficult to see if the print is perfectly placed with debris in your eye.
To make sure that you don’t accidentally end up scratching your face and shoving some powder into your eyes, wear some latex gloves. Use some sort of hand covering to prevent you from picking up unnecessary particles and keeping your powder clean. The fewer contaminates in your powder, the longer you can use it without having to toss it. The oils and dirt from your hands can clump up your powder. Another option for the rest of your body is an apron or a smock. The powder is an adhesive, so if it mixes with moisture it will turn into a thicker consistency and possibly ruin your clothes. Protect your clothes with a smock and you will accidentally protect the rest of your body (win/win).
Now, because the powder is so fine that particles can float on the air. Any sort of respirator or a standard face mask will work just fine to keep these particles out of your lungs. There’s a very specific reason we keep telling people to not use the DTF powder around their machines. It is an adhesive and will clog your ink lines if it gets into them. It’s the same concept with your lungs. I do not recommend having to cough up DTF powder (it is not fun).
Again, to reiterate, DTF POWDER AND INK IS SAFE TO HANDLE AND USE. These are only recommendations to enhance the safety of you and/or your team. I’d personally recommend a paper mask and some safety goggles (eyes and lungs).
Before going out and buying a bunch of goggles, latex gloves, and facemasks it is always a great idea to run a risk and hazard assessment. PPE is really the LAST line of defense for you and/or your employees. Total elimination of the potential hazard is always preferred, but if the hazard risk is absolutely necessary then utilizing PPE is the way to go.