How often should you change out your N95 respirator?

N95 respirators also known as particulate respirators are known for their soft breathing technology and elegant design. N95 respirators are probably the most used respirators when it comes to the provision of safety against infections and diseases. N95 respirators tend to resist airborne particles up to the critical size of 3 microns. 

N95 respirators have a major role in the medical world, they are the most efficient PPE that is being used by the doctors and nursing staff. N95 respirators are used by doctors functioning in the intensive care sector, the particular sector has millions of deadly germs and viruses in the air.

3M is the United States’ most widespread firm which has thousands of pharmacies under it. This corporation produces world-class N95 respirators. The N95 respirators produced by 3M are most trusted and used, in the pandemic of coronavirus people were catching diseases fast and were in search of PPEs and N95 respirators manufactured by 3M as 3M is one of the most reliable pharmaceutical manufacturers in the world.

N95 respirators can withstand 95% fluid and dust particles that are present in the air. They can protect one from the diseases and viruses that travel through the air to find their host. Although, N95 respirators are not resistant to oil they have their importance in the medical market.

History of N95 respirators:

N95 respirators we’re being used as a protective shield against chemical and gases in the industrial sector. N95 respirators we’re used to preventing the interaction of poisonous gases to the workers. Then the pandemic of Influenza hit the world, the world was not ready for it they were doing all they could to prevent the disease but nothing seemed to be working.

One had the idea to use N95 respirators as a medical shield and soon the idea got major acceptance and the main design was given by the students of the University of Tennessee professor Peter Tsai, and patented in 1995. 

After the pandemic had ended, many thought about the idea that how N95 respirators can evolve as a medical shield for doctors and nurses across the world. People thought of many methods and 3M cane up with the idea of manufacturing N95 respirators as a medical shield with few additions of details to it so that the difference between industrial N95 and medical N95 remains.

After the pandemic and the news of the new N95 manufacturer, officials were working to find the best results from N95 respirators. They worked and worked, finally, a decision was made during the pandemic of SARS that N95 respirators are for single-use and should not be used more than once. Soon, N95 respirators were being used in every house because of the fear of the virus.

The demand increased so did many the production but the demands were nowhere to stop. The decision was then made that N95 respirators should be used only by doctors and office staff including those individuals that are exposed directly to a threatening environment.

N95 respirators have been discussed by many big names that include politicians and others. Many believed in the idea that N95 respirators are the safest respirators as compare to any other respirator. It has smooth breathing technology that no respirator else has, it is soft and is available in many sizes.

N95 respirator usage duration:

N95 respirators we’re declared single-use and that single-use included 5 to 8 hours in earlier times. As time passed by people became more conscious about their health and what they are inhalation. People started to use N95 respirators as pollution resistant. Then 3M introduced a pollution resistant N95 respirator to control the usage of N95 respirators.

N95 respiratory can be used for eight hours straight but afterward, it needs to be contaminated for further use. N95 respirators can be contaminated using four easy and health-friendly methods. These methods are approved by 3M and are encouraged by the Food and Drug Administration or the FDA. FDA has stated that it is good to see N95 respirators going through the interaction process and being reused. It is something that could have happened before the pandemic to save both time, money, and most importantly lives.

The methods to reuse or disinfect N95 respirators were discussed at the beginning by the president of the United States of America. After his statement, people started to find ways for the process, and soon the bulk of antiviral N95 respirator started to contaminate and reuse the N95 respirators.

Methods to reuse N95 respirators:

Ethanol spray.

Vaporized hydrogen peroxide.

Dry heat.

Ultraviolet radiations.

The above given four methods can be used to disinfect a contaminated N95 respirator. The ethanol method should not be used more than once because it may damage the polyester on the masks and then the mask will be of zero use.

The efficiency of the filter is restored after filtration. The masks can be used for eight hours or less but straight, once you put off your N95 respirator it cannot be reused again. The second time the mask works well but the efficiency is a hot lowered than the original one. The third is its last time, it cannot be used more as the filters are fully contaminated by the end of third use and cannot be disinfected at any cost.


These methods have increased the time duration for which the N95 respirator can be used but still, it is much better if you buy a new one if it is really necessary. Or, you can change the filters if your N95 respirator has a filter pocket. You can wash the mask and replace the filter with a new one and your N95 respirator will be good as new.

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