N95 masks are used to protect against particulates, or particles in the air. These particles may be small enough to pass through the nose and mouth, or large enough to lodge in your lungs. Particles that get trapped by a mask filter out 95% of particles in the air; for example, an N95 mask can filter out 95% of dust, fumes and pollen from entering your body.
You can reuse N95 masks as long as you properly disinfect them.
If you’re reusing the mask, make sure to wash it with soap and water before using it again. It is important to disinfect your mask after each use, because if the mask is not cleaned and decontaminated properly, it will not be effective in protecting you against airborne diseases.
To disinfect your N95 masks:
- Wash them with warm soapy water; this removes dust particles from the surface of your masks as well as any germs that might be present on your skin or clothing.
- Rinse them thoroughly under running tap water until all traces of soap have been removed.
- Dry thoroughly; this prevents mold from forming inside! If possible, let them sit overnight so any remaining moisture can evaporate off into thin air 🙂 You may also want to consider storing these items under cover somewhere where they won’t get wet–like inside a box or drawer–to keep them dry as long as possible.
The spray and wipe method are not appropriate to disinfect N95 respirators and should not be used.
This is because the liquid does not penetrate into the fibers of the filter media and cannot remove particulate matter or organic vapor protection.
It is also important to note that this method can damage your respirator, potentially rendering it ineffective in protecting you against hazardous substances. The CDC and OSHA do not recommend this method for disinfecting n95 mask because they could be damaged if they are exposed to harsh chemicals or excessive heat. The manufacturer of these products also states that this protocol should not be used by its consumers.
Ultraviolet light can kill viruses, mold, bacteria and other microorganisms.
Ultraviolet light is a powerful disinfectant. It can kill viruses, mold, bacteria and other microorganisms. But it’s not effective against all microorganisms. In fact, ultraviolet light can even damage some materials that you might want to keep intact.
UV light is not effective against all viruses
- Some viruses are resistant to UV radiation because they have a protein coat around them called an envelope or capsid that protects them from the damage of UV energy. These enveloped viruses include rhinoviruses (the common cold), hepatitis B virus and herpes simplex 1 virus (cold sores).
UV light is not effective against all molds
- The spores of some molds don’t react well to UV radiation either—these include those found in foods such as cheese and mushrooms.
Another option to disinfect your mask is to store it in a UVC sterilization box.
UV light is a great way to kill bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. UV light can be used to disinfect masks and other items too! The UV-C light kills microbes without damaging the item being treated. This means that you can use your N95 mask again after it has been exposed to UV-C light.