KN95 has been proven by experts and WHO to be the most effective gear that stops the spread of COVID-19. The fact that the masks are 95% effective of keeping out pathogens has made them very scarce, and the CDC declaring that only the frontline health workers or people dealing strictly with the infected should have the masks. Because the masks are in short supply, people have turned to reuse of the KN95.
CDC has not given a time limit of how long the KN95 masks should be reused for, but some signs should be observed and will inform that it is time to through the cover away correctly. For example, if the mask no longer fits well or the straps have become loose, it is time to dispose of the mask. Also, if the masks have some holes, then you need to dispose of it safely. But as long as it still fits well and does not have holes, the KN95 masks are suitable to be reused for a couple of days, but they need to be washed and disinfected daily.
Disinfecting the KN95 masks
- Using heat
A study done at a university found out that the masks can be heated for about half an hour at a temperature of about 700 degrees properly disinfects the mask.
The aim of disinfecting is to kill germs at the same time, and the filter should not be destroyed.
• Use of ultraviolet rays
Another way to disinfect the masks is by using the ultraviolet rays. It is instrumental in getting rid of the virus without destroying the filter part. Because ultimately, the filter has to be protected, it is the tool that keeps out bacteria and germs from getting inside.
• Use of hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide can kill tiny pathogens effectively. Hydrogen peroxide is very porous, it can get through the mask material and kill all pathogens without harming the filter.
Does water and soap work?
A lot of people, however, want to know that if the masks can be washed with soap and water. The answer is no. The cover is made from a paper-like material. Water can only destroy the equipment, and soap only makes it worse. The only proven methods that kill the pathogens are the ones mentioned above. Not everyone can access the disinfection facilities, and that still adds why the CDC has recommended them to be used by health workers because they can easily access the facilities.
You should also not spray the mask with alcohol-based sanitizers because that does not help in cleaning the mask. What makes the KN95 cover different and effective is the filter, so you need to protect it at all costs. Water, alcohol, and soap do make the screen weaker hence destroying it. Cloth masks are the only masks that can be washed because the material does not disintegrate as fast as other materials do. It is important to stay home and keep safe. The most effective tool is to wash your hands frequently when wearing the KN95 masks and avoid touching your face at all costs.