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It looks like this community is already aware of the Stanford research on disinfection methods for N95 masks during the Covid-19 pandemic. For community members who have had a few masks stashed away (in California they're part of earthquake readiness) and who don't need to use them in medical settings, a small loss of efficiency is probably an acceptable risk.

  • Dry heat at 70°C appears to have the least effect on performance.
  • Steam for a short period of time seems to be the next best option.

(I unfortunately do not have access to the original article and table that I read, but here's a link to an article that references the research: https://www.stanforddaily.com/2020/03/31/stanford-researchers-develop-potential-method-to-reuse-n95-respirators/ )

Since most home ovens are not capable of holding a temperature as low as 70 °C, would a home sous vide system work? The item is enclosed in a plastic bag and not directly subjected to moisture, but the bag is submerged in water at a constant temperature. If the mask is dried out before use, would that be sufficient? Are there any interactions I'm not taking into consideration (e.g. between the plastic bag material and the mask)?

I appreciate your thoughts.

  • Why do you think most ovens can't maintain a temperature of 70C? Mine is marked from 50C upwards. – Graham Chiu Apr 16 at 21:47
  • @GrahamChiu: and how accurate do you think that marking is? – Fizz Apr 16 at 23:59
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    I seem to recall I've read that wetting the masks can mess up their electrostatic filtering, even after drying, which is a sizeable part of how they work. I think not letting the moisture evaporate, which would happen "sous vide", could limit effectiveness of this method. You might have to do several cycles. Viruses do really well in "wet bubbles". See i.stack.imgur.com/xpiCA.png – Fizz Apr 17 at 0:05
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    I would place a thermometer in the oven to check. I also have an infrared temperature gun I use to check temperatures when I cook. – Graham Chiu Apr 17 at 0:12
  • See the answers here medicalsciences.stackexchange.com/questions/21593/… – Graham Chiu Apr 17 at 0:18

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