How to clean and reuse your N95 Mask
With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on, it’s more important than ever to conserve personal protective equipment like N95 masks. While the CDC does not currently recommend reusing N95 masks, there are ways to clean and extend their use if you have to. Here’s what you need to know.
Before you clean your N95 Mask, inspect it for any tears or holes. If there are any damaged areas, discard the Mask and get a new one.
If your Mask is intact, begin by giving it a thorough visual inspection. Look for any dirt, debris, or foreign objects that may be stuck to the surface of the Mask. Then, gently remove any visible particles with a soft-bristled brush.
Once you’ve removed all the obvious dirt and debris, it’s time to disinfect your Mask. You can do this by submerging it in boiling water for five minutes or spraying it with a household disinfectant like Lysol and letting it air dry. If you choose to boil your Mask, ensure it is scorched before wearing it again. Boil any mask straps separately.
After boiling or spraying your Mask with disinfectant, store it in a clean, dry place until you’re ready to use it again. When putting your Mask on, ensure that the metal strip is at the top of the Mask and that the side of the Mask with the valves (if applicable) is facing outward. Once your Mask is on, gently tighten the straps so that it fits snugly but comfortably on your face.
How it helps:
The boiling water will help to kill any bacteria or viruses that may be present on the surface of the Mask. The disinfectant will also help to kill any remaining bacteria or viruses. Storing the Mask in a clean, dry place will help to prevent it from becoming contaminated.
Advantages and Disadvantages of N95 Masks:
N95 masks are the gold standard for personal protective equipment (PPE) because they block out at least 95% of tiny (0.30 micron) airborne particles while still being breathable. However, they’re not perfect. Here are some pros and cons to consider before using an n95 mask.
-Blocks out at least 95% of tiny (0.30 micron) airborne particles
-Can be reused if disinfected properly
-Not perfect, can still allow some particles through
-Difficult to breathe in for extended periods
-Must be disinfected properly to be reused
Now that you know how to clean and reuse your N95 Mask, it’s up to you to decide whether or not to use one. Consider the pros and cons before making your decision. Stay safe!
With proper care and cleaning, you can extend the life of your N95 Mask and help keep yourself and others safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Remember to inspect your Mask for tears or holes before each use and conduct regular visual inspections for dirt and debris. When in doubt, throw it out – a ripped or torn N95 mask is no longer effective at filtering out pathogens like COVID-19.