Reuse N95 masks? Lately, due to the global shortage, we are getting a lot of questions about this.
There are many questions, first question is, can I wash it in the washing machine?
We strongly recommend against this as washing it will degrade the integrity of the N95 mask for certain.
Another common question is how many times can I use the N95 masks?
First of all, it should be identified the type of use. Someone going to the store a couple times per week is very different than a ICU nurse that is doing 10 hour shifts, seven days a week.
With light use, N95 masks can likely be reused many many times. We did a long term test of a N95 mask (3M 8511 Review) and wore it for two weeks 4-5 hours every day in a work situation.
We made sure to hang it up after each use, don and doff (put on and take off) it carefully and not to damage the shape of the mask. It held up very well and likely could be used for even longer.
The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) also has some recommendations for extended use of N95 masks.
Due to the the high number of factors and different types and lengths of usages involved, they said “There is no way of determining the maximum possible number of safe reuses for an N95 respirator as a generic number to be applied in all cases.”
That said, they have some very practical tips on their site for those looking to reuse N95 Masks.
The next question is what is the best way to clean / disinfect N95 masks. We will have some tips and research on that for you soon!
Note: N95SurgicalMasks.com is not making specific recommendations if you should or how to reuse N95 masks. Our aim is to get you as much information as possible so you can make an informed decision.