Until 2020, wearing masks was not a common thing for ordinary people. Masks have always been worn by doctors, dentists and other professions who need it, but on the street, outside of Asia, you could rarely see a man wearing a mask. In Asia, especially in China and Japan, this was not uncommon even before the pandemic. Even if you haven’t visited those countries, you’ve probably met tourists from those countries who all wear masks all the time. But since March 2020, governments around the world have introduced mandatory wearing of masks. The goal, of course, was to reduce the transmission of coronavirus, and that certainly had an effect, although of course it could not completely stop the transmission, so other measures were introduced also.
Due to the sudden huge demand for disposable masks, there was a great shortage for a few months. It was almost impossible to find any type to buy because the production facilities were not prepared for such huge demand and they need months to start producing more. For this reason, masks that are otherwise disposable had to be used multiple times. In order to avoid negative consequences of wearing disposable ones numerous times, they must be sterilized properly after each use. We will tell you how to properly sterilize every type of it.
In the absence of surgical and other types, people had to resort to wearing those made of cloth. Although they do not provide equally good protection, they are certainly better than not protecting your face in any way and can be worn multiple times with proper disinfection. Washing in a washing machine is a completely efficient method, both because of the high water temperature and because of the detergent. Coronavirus is a type of virus called enveloped and is greatly influenced by detergents and soaps. Cleaning products penetrate its membrane very easily and destroy it.
Detergents prevent the virus from being contagious so quickly and easily that even if washed at a lower temperature, it will be effective. If you don’t have time to wash in the washing machine, an iron can be effective as well. Put the iron on the highest temperature and go over cloth a few times. Just make sure the mask is made of cotton in order not to destroy iron. People even use an oven for disinfection, usually for 20 minutes on temperature of 90 degrees.
Of all the disposable ones, they are the most difficult to disinfect properly. Neither detergent nor alcohol should be used as it damages the protective layer and then loses its function. It would be best to throw them away after each wear and take another. Their maximum efficiency lasts only a few hours. However, if you have no other choice, there is a way you can use them more than once. It is best to put them in a bag and leave for seven to ten days. And only then wear again. During this time, the virus cannot survive on the surface and will again be safe to carry. But you have to wait. There is virtually no way to wear them safely for a few days in a row. They can even do more harm than good if your wear them that way.
N95 or KN95, the name varies from country to country are the best choice for the general population because they protect you from 95 percent of the particles. They are also very suitable for multiple use. These are the FFP2 mask, and the FFP3 is intended for epidemiologists and people who are highly exposed. The N95 is the best option not only because of the density of the material that leaks very few particles, but also because it prevents air gaps or voids around the nose, cheeks or chin. A mask is not worth it if particles can enter from the side. The N95 has a beak look and completely protects you. It is important to know that you must not wash them in the washing machine because it will destroy them. Also, alcohol is not recommended. It will serve, but it will also damage the material. Therefore, it is best to expose to high temperature or UV light. Then it is completely safe to wear them 3 to 5 times. It is very important that you buy N95 in trusted stores, such as Healthmask, because the market has been flooded with masks that only look like the N95 but are not effective at all.
Other types of protection
We will explain to you how to properly disinfect other things used for face protection.
1. Elastomeric respirators
Due to the lack of masks, many people have started using elastomeric respirators to protect themselves. There has been a variety of information on whether they are effective or not, but they have been shown to provide the same protection as N95 masks if cleaned regularly. They are easy to clean, just spray them with alcohol and leave for an hour. It is also necessary to change the filters regularly to make the elastomeric respirator effective or otherwise it won’t protect your more than any other physical barrier, which when it comes to virus protection is not enough.
Gloves have also been shown to be effective virus protection, but are not intended for multiple use. They protect your skin very successfully for a few hours and when you take them off, you know that your hands are clean. But it is important that you do not touch your face while wearing them. And also to take them off and leave in the right way, because contamination can occur just as you take them off. And always throw them away after one wear or they will do more harm than good.
3. Face shields
It could be seen on TV that COVID doctors also wear face shields over masks, so many people started wearing them as well, because they are easy to make. They are useful primarily because they protect your eyes, and there are cases when people have become infected in that way. They are not effective for protecting the rest of the face, so it is ideal to wear them in combination with a mask. Disinfect them with alcohol or cloth saturated with detergent.
It is very important that you properly sterilize disposable masks and other items you wear to prevent coronavirus. If you don’t do it the right way or don’t do it at all, you will have a false sense of security while wearing them, and you will be equally exposed to the virus, maybe even more, than someone who doesn’t wear anything.