Ever since the coronavirus was officially labeled as a worldwide pandemic, N95 masks have become a hot commodity. Not only do they offer those around you protection from airborne droplets you may expel when speaking, but they also protect the wearer by filtering out smaller particles that might carry the virus.
The downside to these masks is the fact they cost more than a regular face covering, and that they are only supposed to be used a maximum of 3 times after decontamination, according to National Institute of Health.
Thankfully, a new study conducted by the University of Illinois may have come up with a safe and effective way to decontaminate N95 mask’s using common home appliances. The study found that when an N95 mask is placed into a cooker of some sort that produces constant dry heat for 50 minutes, such a rice cooker or instant pot, the mask would be decontaminated both on the inside and outside, according to reports from Slash Gear.
During the experiment, the research team hypothesized that dry heat could act as a viable method for decontamination while maintaining both the mask’s filtration system and fit. Once the sanitation process had been completed, researchers tested the respirators and found they maintain the filtration capacity of more than 95% and kept their tight fit.
Researchers note that there are indeed many ways to decontaminate a mask, but all methods end up destroying either the filtration or fit of the N95 respirator.
The team of researchers found that their sanitation method was effective on four different virus classes, including the coronavirus, and was found to be more effective than ultraviolet light. They also found that the masks were able to perform their job and keep out harmful contaminants even after 20 cycles of decontamination in the electric cooker.
Take a look at the decontamination process below:
Image credit: Screenshot