A shortlist of do’s and don’ts when it comes to wearing, cleaning, and replacing your kn95 mask.
Thanks to a benefactor friend of ours who has single-handedly procured tens of thousands of kn95 masks. We’ve partnered up with Matt Paulson to help distribute these masks at just above cost. In a world where these kn95 masks are have become a necessity, we wanted to cover some dos and don’ts, as well as some commonly asked questions and some proper techniques for cleaning and reusing your mask.
Here is some general information about the kn95 masks. The kn95 masks are the alternative equivalent to the sought after, medical-grade, n95 masks. The N stands for “Non-Oil Resistant”. The number, 95, refers to the efficiency level at 0.3 microns (really small). The 95 is showing these masks are 95% at that size. This will do at keeping dust particles and viruses from penetrating the mask. The version we have available is the non-FDA regulated kn95 mask. These are often made on the same manufacturing line as the n95 masks, but are not inspected and regulated by the FDA. As such, these are not recommended for hospital use. With that said, a new April 3 FDA regulation has now approved the use of kn95 masks for healthcare professionals.
While the kn95 masks are meant to be single-use masks, a lack of available supply has rendered it necessary to clean and sanitize the masks in between uses. The number of reuses will vary on the cleaning method and general use, but the following are two tips for extending the life of your mask.
- One of the easiest ways to care for your masks is to simply place it in a paper bag and leave it to sit untouched for 48 hours. It’s nice to have a few masks so you can rotate them out between uses.
- Place your kn95 on a clean, sanitized pan or heat-safe plate. Place in the oven at about 160 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes.
- While it is not recommended to wash your mask with any soap or water, nor is it recommended to spray your mask with sanitizers or cleaning agents, it is recommending by Dr. Tsai of UT Knoxville to submerge the mask in 260F boiling water or steam for 3 minutes. This will disinfect the mask without reducing its filtration efficiency.
A fourth and less reliable way to sanitize your mask is to let the sun do it. If you can place your mask in direct sunlight for 4-6 hours, the UV-C light can help destroy any living bacteria. As with anything, proceed with caution. These masks will last at least a few uses depending on the environment it’s used in. When the mask becomes soiled and is hard to breathe through, it’s best to replace it.
There are a few things you should NOT do with your mask:
Don’t touch your mask continually when out and about. If your hands are carrying any sort of virus or bacteria, touching and adjusting your mask can do more harm then good. Just don’t touch your face.
Don’t wear your mask when enjoying the outdoors away from other people. This includes driving a car (unless you are in public transportation or doing some form of ridesharing). Fresh is good for us and we want to make sure that when appropriate, we are getting as much of it as possible!
Do not wash your mask with soap and water.
Do not use your mask if it becomes soiled, dirty, or becomes hard to breathe through.
Here are some tips on what TO do with your mask:
Wear your mask when you are going into a store or running other errands where you’ll potentially be in close proximity to others.
Do wear your mask to help curb the spread of covid-19.
Do replace and sanitize your mask often.
Finally, here are some common misconceptions about the proper use of wearing a face mask:
You do not need to wear a mask when going outside, riding a bike, taking a walk, or going on a jog. Simply do your best to keep a distance from others. And remember to take deep breaths and enjoy the fresh air!
Wearing a mask can help protect you from contracting the covid-19 virus. But more so, it helps to limit the potential that an unknown infected person will unintentionally spread the virus to someone else.
It’s unknown how the virus spreads to an animal. But it is not recommended that dogs or cats should wear masks.
Finally, always remember to wash your hands! This is a crazy time and we’re all trying to do our part. Let us know if you have any questions!