With the continuous rise of COVID-19 cases and the introduction of the Omicron variant in the country, we need to up our game in keeping ourselves safe when we go outside. To minimize the chances of us getting the virus, it’s of prime importance to use face masks that will give you more protection. Now’s the time to consider using KN95 and N95 face masks.
Why use N95 and KN95 masks?
Cloth masks may be the more sustainable alternative but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they do not offer as much protection. Since the Omicron variant spreads faster, cloth masks may not be up to the task.
N95 masks, on the other hand, can filter out 95% of airborne particles. The KN95 is an equivalent of the N95, the difference is that they have been manufactured in China and have been authorized for use by their government.
Cleaning and Reusing KN95 and N95 Masks
In a perfect world, these masks would be thrown away after one use just like how healthcare workers do it. But with a limited supply of this type of mask, cleaning and reusing can be done instead. The CDC itself posted disinfection methods. One of the methods includes a strategy using a paper bag. To summarize, here’s what you should do:
- Store the used N95/K95 face mask in a paper bag. When handling the mask, touch it by its ear loops and don’t touch the front.
- Leave the mask in the paper bag for a minimum of five days. This will allow the pathogens to “die-off”.
- Use the mask like normal after five days.
Since cleaning the mask takes days, it’s best to have more than one N95/KN95 face mask. This way, you can rotate its use. Just remember to label the paper bag to make sure you’re counting the five days right.
It’s also important that you use a paper bag for this. Plastic bags won’t work since they’ll only keep the moisture in.
But in the end, it depends on the state of the mask, and up to you to decide if your mask is worthy of reuse. If you only used it for a few hours and still look fine, then this clean and reuse method can work. But if the mask looks “severely soiled” and has a tear on it, then you should definitely throw it in the trash.
Art Daniella Sison