Stanford researchers confirm that N95 masks can be sterilized and reused with virtually no loss of filtration efficiency by leaving in the oven for around 30 minutes.
The transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) is thought to occur through respiratory droplets, and current CDC guidelines recommend the use of N95 masks for health care providers managing the care of patients infected with SARS–CoV–2 or persons under investigation (PUI) for COVID–19.
To be useful a decontamination method must eliminate the viral threat, be harmless to end-users, and retain respirator integrity. 4C Air confirmed all the proposed treatments have killed coronaviruses.
Labs have no way to test COVID-19 directly and as an accepted protocol, E. Coli is used for testing. We asked what methods can be used to decontaminate the facial mask for reuse safely and without loss to filtration efficiency. 4C Air confirms using 70 degrees C hot air in an oven (typical kitchen-type oven will do) for 30 minutes, or hot water vapor is additional effective decontamination methods.
Can N95 masks be reused multiple times and remain effective barrier protection for COVID-19?
Although this process is used according to CDC when there are PPE shortages it is not safe and there is no high–level evidence to indicate this is safe. We could find no reassuring statistics released by the CDC or others during other pandemics to show this practice is safe and the barrier protection is shown to deteriorate with use and time.