New research has found a unique way of sanitizing N95 masks. According to the study, fifty minutes of dry warmth in an electric cooker could efficiently sanitize N95 masks. We can use a rice cooker or Instant cooker for the same. This will occur while maintaining the filtration and fit, claim researchers, including one of Indian origin. N95 masks are the gilded standard of personal protective equipment. They protect the wearer against airborne droplets and particles, such as the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The very high demand for masks during the COVID-19 pandemic has created a unique problem. The consumption has led to severe scarcities of the N95 masks for first responders, health care providers, and other essential workers. This has driven a pursuit for other inventive tactics to sanitize.
The researchers think that the electric-cooker method will be useful for health care workers and first responders. Especially those in rural areas and smaller clinics or hospitals. Such workers do not have access to large-scale heated sanitization apparatus. Such a method will also be useful for the general public who may have N95 masks at their houses for their daily use. This will enable them to reuse the N95 masks, instead of simply discarding it and purchasing a new one. The researchers theorized that dry heat might be an effective way to encounter all three criteria — decontamination, filtration, and fit. This method also does not need special training or leave any chemical residue.
They wanted to develop a method that would be widely accessible to people at home. It is confirmed that one cooking cycle preserves the contents of the cooker at around 100 degrees Celsius for 50 minutes. This decontaminates the N95 masks, inside and out, from four different variants of viruses, including a coronavirus — and does so more successfully than UV light.
The researchers make a special note that the heat must be dry heat — no water must be added to the cooker. They also state that one should maintain the temperature at 100 degrees Celsius for 50 minutes. A small cloth should shelter the bottom of the cooker to keep any part of the mask from coming in direct contact with the heating device.
Also, multiple N95 masks can be loaded to fit inside most cookers at the same time. This makes the process even faster and convenient for people.