Absolutely everyone now wears a face mask, and this is mostly due to the current outbreak of the corona pandemic. Medical masks have gradually become a scarce commodity, primarily because of its perceived effectiveness in keeping out the harmful virus.
In some countries, the use of N95 respirators has also been limited to use by only health professionals. All of these reasons have increased the use of medical masks and cloth masks. In the face of heavy usage of these face masks, there’s an ongoing call for its reuse. This article highlights some ways in which the popular types of masks can be disinfected and reused.
Medical masks are designed to have three layers of filters that are capable of providing up to 75% protection. Each layer has its specific function in keeping out harmful infections in the form of droplets and particles. The outer layer provides water-repelling capabilities that ensure droplets do not stick to the surface. These types of protective masks are not to be reused due to the kind of material used in its production.
N95 protective masks
N95 masks offer a high degree of protection, and it’s become earmarked for health personnel in some countries. Reusing N95 masks is almost impossible due to to the fact that the process mainly carried out in an industrial setting. However, there are specific procedures to carry out in between the use of these mask types;
Ensure the moisture dries out: The primary purpose of using N95 is due to its capability of keeping out droplets. Some of these droplets tend to store on the surface of the mask, and you’d do well to leave it to dry before trying to put it on again.
Keep it in a paper bag: Your N95 mask shouldn’t be kept in an unsafe place where it could get crushed and deformed. A proper paper bag helps you store the mask while the moisture dries out evenly without deformation.
Oven dry at medium temperature: It’s essential that you check if your N95 mask is made from a flammable material before proceeding with this step. The coronavirus is fragile and doesn’t survive at high temperatures. Putting the mask in the oven for a few minutes should do the trick.
Dangle the mask over boiling water: Another way to kill the coronavirus that might have stored on the face of your mask is by dangling the mask over hit boiling water. As opined earlier, the virus does not survive high temperature, but you have to ensure the mask is air-dried afterwards.
Add cloth layers on top of the mask: While some of the methods listed above might be a bit tedious, there are more straightforward ways to go about it. The addition of one or two layers of clothing could prove ingenious in ensuring the surface of your mask doesn’t get contaminated with droplets. You’d do well to change the layers now and then and adequately disinfect.
Cloth masks can easily be oven washed and disinfected for reuse. Ensure you wash the fabric with hot water to kill off the virus.
The use of masks has become a mainstay in recent times; this article shows that you can buy N95 mask and with a view reusing the mask.