What you need to know about cleaning and reusing a virus mask
3:02

What you need to know about cleaning and reusing a virus mask

Wellness
There's a turn of interest around finding ways to disinfect and reuse one of these, the N95 respirator face piece. But if you're looking for that, you're barking up the wrong tree. Here's what you'll find, the low hanging fruits, the cloth face mask. Let's find out how to use and reuse one of these. [MUSIC] So why is it so hard to find good information about reusing and disinfecting one of these? Because they were never designed for that the way they're made, makes cleaning and reusing them really hard. But you say, wait a minute, I'm seeing all this news about innovations. Do exactly that, baking them for a certain time, steaming them at just the right temperature, even rotating the use of the masks in a round robin, I'm with you in a previous video I tried to make some of those techniques fit into a home scenario but I'm walking that back now. They don't work there. They are being developed and many of them aren't even proved yet to be used in institutional or clinical settings, you're not going to improve on that with your saucepan or your oven.I didn't know if you're stuck on this idea that dammit I'm going to find a way to clean or reuse these things. I know where you're coming from. First of all, they're exceedingly hard to find, and very expensive. If you have some, you probably don't have enough to throw them away every time you use one. And these have a certain, professional grade, image that makes you say, this must be the gold standard, I've got to find a way to make it work. But these are misleading concepts. Now, I know the humble often homemade little cloth facemask and look like shabby seconds compared to an N95 that all the pros were, but think about this as a system. First of all, it's really got to do is, prevent exhalation of most virus coming from you. And you say, wait a minute, what about protecting me against inhalation from someone else. Well, they're wearing one of these as well. That's why the public policy push is so important to follow. Everyone should prevent their exhalation, which these are good at. Add to that social distancing, limited trips that are only essentially to go out of the house, and the fact that this guy, if you do get back home can readily be disinfected. With a hot wash, with standard laundry detergent and then a hot dry. And now you've got a system. Now, you don't need my help to find a cloth facemask pattern. They're everywhere. Even if you don't know how to sew or even know someone who does, you can just fasten some cloth around your face. Here's the Surgeon General doing it without any scissors or even thread. Then you might be wondering how can common cloth block something so my newt as a human virus? The unappetizing answer is it viruses often get transmitted by hitching a ride on a much larger droplet of saliva or mucus and those can be effectively trapped by fine woven cloth. The appetite to use what appears to be the professional grade gear is understandable at these times, and the often whimsical nature of the homemade facemask can make it seem trivial to words sock monkeys, but know that these get the job done and they're easily made ready to get it done again tomorrow.

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