Facemask started to "pop" whenever I exhale

I spray acrylics and to avoid coating my lungs I use a basic filter mask in front of an open balcony.

My paint sessions are rather short and I made like 2-3 models wearing it in the span of a single year, and I store it in a sealed plastic bag.

Now, in the last spraying session I noticed this weird behavior: the exhaling valve makes a very loud “popping” sound whenever I exhale.

A quick Google search made me realize that I never cleaned the mask and the noise could be caused by the valve sticking with gunk.

Now, what do you think, is the mask still safe to use? Did I just primed my lungs with Vallejo polyurethane primer?
About washing, I have no idea how to do it.

I use warm water and Dawn on my CPAP mask. Seems to work fine. I haven’t gotten a bacterial infection yet. :rofl:


Lol I do the same thing to my cpap mask Robert , works fine.


I’m assuming your filter mask has a purge valve. That valve is just a flexible disk of rubber (or similar material) If it is now making noise when you exhale the valve may have degraded or just dirty.
To test the mask…

  • Put it on as per usual
  • Cover the intake openings. You may need to remove the filters to do this.
  • Inhale

If the mask allows you in get air either your mask is not sealed around your face or the purge valve has failed.
In either case the mask is not protecting you as it was designed to do.

If the purge valve disk can be removed… take it out and wash it with dish soap and water.
Replace the disk and retest.

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Some of the masks we use do have a ‘life span once opened’ on them because the filters will become less effective over time but, it sounds like the purge valve may just be sticking slightly and thats whats making the “pop” as you exhale. If you find where the valve is located on your mask, a wipe round with an antiseptic wipe might cure your “pop”.


I finally took the time to clean it, used some soapy water and scrubbed the rubber disk and the internal parts with a cotton bud.

Unfortunately it still “clicks” on exhaling.

I made both “positive” and “negative” pressure tests and I even tested the rubber disk by pouring water in it too see if it leaks, everything went fine.

I also had a quick painting session, no smells detected.

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I wouldnt worry about your health,the amount of painting you did,the type of paint you used,and being outside,i doubt you caused yourself any issues,you could probably even get away without using a mask.

Of course thats not what im saying you should do,but your probably okay


I have never used a mask. The type and amount of paints we use for models, especially if used in a well-ventilated (outside) environment, are note a health risk.


I use a mask when I spray, even outdoors, because my sinus’s can’t take even a whiff of laquers or enamels (and I always spray them outdoors)

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Try a touch of baby powder on the rubber valve disk.


Thanks will try this.

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Also, do some maintenance from time to time on the mask, valves sometimes stick because of accumulated dirt or moisture from your breath. Nothing major, just every 6 months, depending on how often you use your mask.

Cleaning the mask with some rubbing alcohol, clean or replace the silicone valves, check the foam pads for wear and replace as needed.

Never had that problem with this:




Is it OK to eat lots of garlic before using the mask??

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Only if you enjoy, I mean REALLY enjoy the smell of garlic.


Noise when exhaling is irrelevant as long as the valve recovers immediately and seals so you can’t inhale through that purge valve.

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