N95 masks: How to ‘decontaminate’ and reuse them

N-95 protective masks lie on a desk at the office in Washington, DC, February 26, 2020. (Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty)

IOWA (WHO) – While any mask is better than no mask when it comes to slowing the spread of airborne diseases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an N95 respirator for maximum protection. Masks may look like disposable items, but can be safely reused many times, if they have been “decontaminated” properly.

The mask blocks the movement of most airborne particles both in and out of the mask. However, those particles may remain on the surface of the mask.

Cloth masks can be washed with clothing, but N95 masks require a simpler but longer cleaning process. All you need are some masks and a paper lunch bag.

Coronavirus can survive on surfaces for up to 72 hours. To be safe, CDC recommends you start with a series of five N95 masks. Every day, when you’re done with the mask, put it in a paper bag and keep it at home. The bag will protect the mask from further contamination in the air while also allowing whatever is on the mask to “die” safely.

The CDC warns that this method does not restore the mask to a “like-new” condition. Masks will continue to lose their effectiveness over time as they are worn – with effectiveness diminishing with each “put on” and “on”. The CDC also warns that only individual mask manufacturers can guarantee the decontamination process for each specific model.

https://kdvr.com/news/coronavirus/how-to-decontaminate-and-reuse-n95-masks/ N95 masks: How to ‘decontaminate’ and reuse them

Tom Vazquez

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