N95 Masks: How many times can a patient use an N... - CLL Support

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N95 Masks

HopeME profile image

How many times can a patient use an N95 mask? It seems like quite a few times for say short trips to the grocery store or to a doctors appointment. I ask because I have a small supply and I want to give some of them to a friend who is a nurse in Boston. His wife just posted on Facebook that he is in desperate need of masks. They have four small children with the oldest being my son's age of 12 and the youngest being an infant. I know I need to give this small supply to him but I'm wonder how many I can get by with reasonably. Maybe five? Any input would be appreciated.



10 Replies

Thanks for thinking about your friends' health.

How to put on and take off a mask:


It seems likely if the outside of the mask is contaminated then it would need to be disinfected. I haven't found any good info on that (outside of UV light) but some are using cloth masks and washing them after use.

My niece is not feeling 100% and is waiting for test results. She's in Boston also, a nurse, and the person she sits next to tested positive.

HopeME profile image
HopeME in reply to cyclist123

You just reminded me of something important. As the shit started hitting the fan about a month ago I bought a UV light set-up for cleaning cell phones, iPads, etc. It's pretty big so putting a mask into this environment would be easy and it would eliminate any disease on it. At least I think it would.

I'm very sorry about your niece and her colleague. I can't fathom the stress medical professional are under. God bless them all!




johnl profile image
johnl in reply to Justasheet1

I wonder if you could disinfect them in a microwave, provided there weren't any metal parts?

Bit of a MacGyver idea, untested: If you could soak or spray enough 60-80% alcohol solution to saturate then dry the mask you might be good to go for another round.

It can’t live on any surface for more than 3 days. If you have more than one you could rotate them too.

I just quarantine my masks for 5 days and reuse. Not perfect but sure beats throwing them out and doing without a mask when my small supply runs out.

81ue profile image
81ue in reply to flipperj

perhaps water mist them and then give them a spin in the dryer too

No perfect solution. I spray masks, inside and out with alcohol, put in zip lock bag and do not use for at least 7 days. The alcohol kills, and the virus should have died out after 1 week. Problem is, alcohol probably degrades the filtering ability. Heating to 160 degrees is said to kill virus and preserve filtration best. Have no idea.

Since this spreads by droplet and, very likely through aerosol, lingering in the air for 4 hours after a sneeze, i plan to add a transparent face shield. Without proof , feel that this combination should:

Pretty much eliminate droplet spread, almost certainly aerosol.

Make touching face by accident almost impossible.

I fantasize about going about in mask, face shield and a picture of myself pinned to shirt, so people know what i look like.

No restaurants, only take out.

Eat drink at home or protected environment, so as to minimize risk of snacking on inadvertent droplet contact.

The world has changed, things will never be the same again.

Depressing but i think after a while people will understand.

Stanford University:

In summary bleach and microwaves were failures at point of care because the bleach gases (skin and respiratory irritants) remained after multiple strategies were used to remove them, the microwave melted the masks and soaking them first led to reduced filtration. EtO, UVGI, and hydrogen peroxide decontamination were safe and effective in the models tested but it is not known if they would retain filtration, material strength, and airflow integrity with repeated use. EtO, UVGI, and hydrogen peroxide limitations include time from decontamination to reuse and available space and materials to decontaminate in an OR setting. 70C /158F heating in a kitchen-type of oven for 30min, or hot water vaporfrom boiling water for 10 min,are additional effective decontamination methods.

Detailed Report in PDF format:


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