UPDATE: Potential Processes to Eliminate Coronavirus from N95 Masks

March 26, 2020

Last updated: April 1, 2020

Hand Holding N95 Mask

The APSF recognizes that there is great interest and need for re-using N95 masks during this period of mask shortages. A variety of cleaning and decontamination processes have been reported. The CDC provides guidance on the short-term and long-term re-use of N95 masks (https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/hcwcontrols/recommendedguidanceextuse.html).

It may be possible to reduce or eliminate coronavirus from N95 masks. Three documented approaches to decontaminating coronavirus from N95 masks include the use of hot air and/or room air drying, ultraviolet light, and hydrogen peroxide vapor-linked processing.

There is still controversy as to whether these processes completely eliminate viable SARS-CoV-2 while having no negative impact on the filtration/fit properties of N95 masks. To provide context, we have provided a link to the official statement on “Disinfection of Filtering Facepiece Respirators” from one of the major manufacturers of the common N95 masks, 3M and published on March 20, 2020.