Having a family and kids could mean that your budget is not as wide as others. Given the current situation, you are probably looking at the best ways to protect your family. You have seen the answer: one of the best ways to protect your family is through the use of N95 masks.
So, you scour the internet and find a website that sells N95 masks or N95 respirators. You see that they have some in stock and they have all been getting good reviews. They are up to NIOSH standards and you also see that their N95 masks are definitely at par with the highest levels of standards that the FDA and NIOSH approves. However, there is one catch: you can only afford a handful of these amazing N95 Masks because your budget is already tight as it is even in the pre-pandemic era.
What do you do? You buy the N95 Masks and you make sure that you can get your money’s worth for it. You do not just use them once, you and your family should use them a couple of times to really get value. The question now is: how do you clean n95 masks or n95 respirators? There are three ways that individuals and even some medical experts would agree on.
The Common Mistakes
There are a few common mistakes that are done when cleaning the n95 respirators. One of these mistakes is using the washer dryer to clean the n95 respirators. Medical experts highly discourage this way and recommends that you follow the scientific methods.
The Scientific Methods
The Center for Disease Control recently released that there are three scientific ways to clean your N95 Masks. These three are the most promising ways that you can clean your N95 respirators so you would not need to buy or use a new one every single day.
Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI)
The UVGI is one of the more commonly used ways to sanitize just about everything. You have probably seen a lot of infomercials about how the UV light can sanitize surfaces and prevent the spread of the virus. However, a word of caution is that the UV light is harmful to the skin and the eyes so one must use it with caution and protection.
- Used heavily in sanitizing surfaces;
- Used by most medical, dental, and facilities with a lot of foot traffic; and
- Can usually be bought together with N95 respirators.
- UV light is harmful to the skin and the eyes;
- UV light must be purchased and could be another source of budgetary problem; and
- UV light must be placed and kept properly and securely away from the kids.
Vaporous Hydrogen Peroxide (VHP)
Vaporous Hydrogen Peroxide or VHP is another one of those methods that the CDC approved for use in cleaning N95 masks or N95 respirators. It is the gaseous form of hydrogen peroxide. It is run through the masks to remove all germs, bacteria, and viruses.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Battelle Memorial Institute tested the method and it yielded positive results in sanitizing N95 masks or N95 respirators.
Moist Heat Incubation
One of the most commonly done methods in sanitizing just about anything is the use of heat. Hence, even with the N95 respirators, heat is said to be very good in sanitizing and removing the virus.
The specific conditions, according to studies, is exposing the masks to hot air and high humidity for a long period of time. The best combination is up to 70 degrees celsius with a relative humidity of 80 percent and a period of 60 minutes.
The CDC cites that heat treatment makes the virus any virus seem undetectable.
Is There Another Way To Clean Your Masks?
Of course, budget is always a concern when it comes to pandemic-related personal protective equipment (PPE). Whether we admit it or not, not all US households will have the extra money to buy N95 respirators let alone a UV light and the equipment you need to protect yourself from it.
Hence, how do you do the moisture heat incubation at home? Studies have some that you can use a rice cooker.
An Urbana-Champaign study by the University of Illinois that confirmed the theory that an instant pot or a rice cooker can be used to clean up N95 respirators. US households often have an instant pot while some also have a rice cooker. To extend the life of the N95 masks, it is said that one can use these small home appliances.
The filtration and fit are kept.
The most important characteristic of the N95 mask is the fact that it has the perfect fit and the best level of filtration that money can buy. If you try to wash and clean the N95 masks through different means, you will have to face it losing its filtration and its fit.
Keep Your Masks OnWhether you can afford to buy new N95 respirators for your family every supply run or not, you should make sure that you have the gold standard. If you find the N95 mask on stock, you should not hoard them. You may keep the supply chain going by cleaning your N95 masks using the right methods. Just make sure that you find one that fits you and your kids properly and it is up the the NIOSH standards.