The shortage of PPEs across the world has raised concerns about how to best reuse essentials such as N95 masks and respirators. One of the best ways of disinfecting N95 respirators to maintain longevity and efficiency is heating, says the American Chemical Society.
In an article published in the ACS Nano journal, a team of researchers sought to find the best way to disinfect N95 masks so they can be reused more often, without losing their effectiveness. This becomes especially important in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, with masks and other PPEs being in short supply. This is especially important for frontline workers, especially healthcare providers.
Several methods of disinfecting an N95 were being considered, such as ethanol or chlorine bleach solution, and UV radiation. However, the team found that heating the mask was the best method of disinfecting while simultaneously maintaining its reusability.
The ACS report comes after having tried the methods of disinfection recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was found that while UV radiation treatment allows for reuse up to 20 times, heating at 185 degrees F for 20 minutes was a way of effectively disinfecting. It allowed the material to maintain integrity to be reused for about 50 cycles of treatment.
The authors maintain that these masks should be used only by healthcare workers, those who come in contact with infected individuals. The findings could help users successfully disinfect their masks and use them in times of necessity.