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Can You Clean Your N95 Mask?

Many are asking the question “How to Clean My N95 Mask”

N95 and PPE Gear are terms a majority of individuals weren’t aware of, but this was the pre-coronavirus days.  These days everywhere you turn you’re hearing about equipment shortages affecting our front line workers

Meanwhile on Facebook we’re seeing ads looking to sell us masks.  You see them on TV being sold on networks which would be selling watches or kitchen cookware.  Then in a local Facebook group you’ll hear of masks popping up at a local pharmacy.  Unfortunatly some of these are nothing more than a one-layer piece of fabric, not particularly designed to prevent the spread of the virus, but now manditory when entering stores or public places.  If at the very least these types of masks would be a detereant from many from touching their mouth and nose.

For those of you who may have been fortunate enough to get your hands on a N95 mask prior to the shortage, may have thought about how to extend the life of them.   Although N95 masks were never designed to be reused,  these supply limitations have brought on ways to actually extend the life.   Here is where we can say drastic times call for drastic measures.

We came across an article on CNET.com which discusses this very topic that we’d like to share.    https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-clean-and-reuse-an-n95-mask.

In an attempt to reuse your mask, never spray or wet your mask with aerosol or liquid alcohol.  Washing your mask in soapy water is also a bad idea.  N95 masks have an electrostatic charge, which filters small particles.   Using these methods could diminish the effectiveness of the mask.

In reality there are only three cleaning methods you should ever try to maintain the integrity of your N95 mask.

The First Method To Clean Your N95 Mask

The first method would be useful only if you have multiple masks.  This method involves rotating the masks.  Once used, the mask should “rest” for at least 72 hours.  It’s believed the COVID-19 virus will not survive more than 72 hours on the surface of the mask, letting it rest just makes sense.

The Second Method To Clean Your N95 Mask

The second method would be to steam or boil the mask for 3 minutes in 125C/256F water.  This would disinfect the mask and maintain the efficiency of the mask.  The mask should be suspended and not touch any part of the pot nor should the mask be stirred. 

The Third Method To Clean Your N95 Masks

The third and final method would be to use your oven and bake the mask. This may run the risk of contaminating the oven, however it still is an option.  If you heat the mask for 30 minutes at 70C/160F, this would effectively clean your N95 Mask.

Once one of the three techniques have been implemented, make sure to handle the mask properly as to not contaminate the mask again.  It would be best to store the mask in a container or ziplock bag until the next time usage is necessary.

Although there isn’t much data to determine the amount of times you can clean and reuse a mask, per the CDC these are necessary alternatives needed during these times of a pandemic.

JEM Cleaning and Property Maintenance LLC is on the frontlines of this virus and are utilizing CDC approved solutions to help minimize the risk of spread of the COVID-19 virus.

We believe through education we will all play a small role in eliminating this virus from affecting our lives.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 prevention methods or looking for sanitizing services for your workplace or office, please contact us at 732-515-5570.  We would be happy to help.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives

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