The importance of high quality masks is critical, but not as critical as hand sanitation.
Michael G. Knight, an assistant professor of medicine at George Washington University has stressed that people should wash and sanitize their hands after taking off a mask…
How many times can I reuse my mask?
Health experts have prompted renewed recommendations that the public should consider wearing more protective face coverings, such as N95 or KN95 masks. President Biden said his administration is working on making such higher-quality masks more widely available. However, the cost of getting KN95 or N95 high quality masks is considerable for the average American family.
“In the ideal world — or pre-pandemic — many masks were really viewed as single-use. The reality is they do have a little bit more length in the amount of time we can use them.”
said Michael G. Knight, an assistant professor of medicine at George Washington University.
Best practices for safely reusing my mask?
Some experts suggest having a few masks on hand so you can rotate between them. That way, after wearing one mask, you can sanitize and set it aside for a few days before picking it up again, said Richard M. Carpiano, a public health scientist and sociologist at the University of California in Riverside.
That would allow enough time for any sort of virus particulates or virus remnants to die off. The reason to have a rest period between uses is to let the mask dry out and to give time for any viral particles the mask may have filtered to deactivate, Knight added.
He recommended resting your mask for 24 to 48 hours.
Knight has stressed that people should wash and sanitize their hands after taking off a mask and recommended removing the mask from the ear loops or elastic bands to avoid touching the outside of the mask that may be contaminated.
CLEAN YOUR FACE MASK WITH PUREBIO
Where should I store masks between uses?
The key is to keep the masks somewhere where they can air out, said Christopher Sulmonte, project administrator for the Johns Hopkins biocontainment unit.
“There’s going to be a little amount of moisture on the mask itself — that’s just naturally what happens when you wear it,” he said. “Having a space that you’re able to dry it out is important.”
He recommended placing the masks in a paper bag, because it’s a clean place to keep the mask and it’s contained enough that you can still have the process of letting it dry out. Other recomentation is using a mesh bag , placing it “somewhere that air is flowing.”
Storing your mask in a clean place where it can dry out will prevent it from being exposed to contaminants between uses and will prolong its effectiveness, experts say.