COLUMBUS, Ohio — If you've upgraded your mask, is there a way to sanitize it to be worn again?
You may have seen the paper bag trick on your social media feeds. It's said to be a way to sanitize and re-use your masks.
Our VERIFY team takes the claim to the experts to see if there’s truth to this trick.
Is it true that you can sanitize your KN95 or N95 mask by putting it in a paper bag?
Yes, you can clean and reuse your KN95 or N95 mask using a brown paper bag.
Dr. Joe Gastaldo, Infectious Disease Expert at OhioHealth
Dr. Jessica Shepherd, Chief Medical Officer at VeryWell Health based in New York
WHAT WE FOUND
"The concern about wearing a mask in public, obviously, if you get particles on it, perhaps even the virus, but if you store it in a dry bag, you are essentially sanitizing again over a period of time,” said Dr. Joe Gastaldo.
Dr. Gastaldo said that can work for KN95 and N95 masks, assuming they are FDA authorized.
"It's not the bag that's doing the magic trick, it's actually the process of keeping the mask away from decontaminating someone else or a surface, and also keeping a dry environment in order for the virus to not spread or stay on the mask,” explained Dr. Shepherd.
Our experts recommend storing your mask in a paper bag for 24 to 48 hours in a dry place.
This is not recommended for health care workers, but for everyone else, it can extend the life of something we use every day.
Thinking about upgrading your mask from a cloth one? Our experts say now is the time to do that.
“You really want to think about having the highest quality of mask as possible,” said Dr. Gastaldo. “When it comes to how a mask performs the ones that perform the best in public filter up to 95% of particles at 0.3 microns. And in that regard, you have to use an N95 mask but I think what's more available for the public are KN95 masks."
"The thing really is making sure that you can have access to a mask period,” said Dr. Shepherd. “But if you do have the ability to choose between a cloth and an N95, the better option is going to be N95.”
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