The Covid-19 disease has accompanied us every day since 2020 and the question always arises as to how best to protect yourself from infection. Choosing the right mask can make a significant contribution to this. In particular, the FFP2 masks known from the healthcare sector offer far better protection than medical health masks (surgical masks). Here these should only be worn once and thrown away after use.
Reuse in private use
In the private sector, it can be used more often, as one z. B. comes into contact with many pathogens when shopping with a significantly lower probability. A team from the Münster University of Applied Sciences and the Münster University of Applied Sciences tested a number of procedures to best disinfect the FFP2 masks and thus reuse them.
Do not exchange masks with other people
It is important in advance that your own mask may not be exchanged with other people, as each wearer leaves behind pathogens in their own nose, mouth and skin flora. One possibility is to prepare the FFP2 masks in the oven, because the pathogen is inactivated in a dry heat of exactly 80 ° C – the viruses are no longer dangerous for the same carrier. Use an oven or roasting thermometer for this, as the oven thermostats are sometimes somewhat imprecise. If the 80 ° C is exceeded, it is possible that the filter performance and the stability of the mask are impaired. If the temperature is too low, the pathogens can still be active.
- Preheat the oven to 80 ° C top and bottom heat.
- Place the FFP2 masks on a clean oven grid – first line with baking paper.
- Once the desired temperature has been reached, slide the grid into the pipe.
- Important: If there are several masks from different carriers in the oven, mark them in advance in color or with their name.
- Leave the face masks in the tube for 60 minutes and do not open it again.
- When the time is up, take out the masks to cool down.
Pathogen remains infectious for longer at room temperature
Furthermore, it turned out that the virus remains infectious on the mask material for a longer period of time at room temperature. This is why the FFP2 mask should not be worn again until the seventh day at the earliest. For this, you can set up your own places at home where you hang the masks to dry – but be careful to avoid rooms like the kitchen or bathroom, the humidity is too high here. If there are several carriers, be sure to set up separate spaces for them.
- Attach e.g. B. nails or hooks in a suitable place.
- Mark the storage locations with names and the days of the week.
- Hang the FFP2 mask you have worn on the day (e.g. Monday) it was worn.
- Let the mask hang for seven days.
- Do the same for the rest of the week.
- Repeat the drying cycle up to five times.
The FFP2 mask must then be disposed of with household waste.
Avoid washing machines and the like
As of now, these two methods are the best options for private use, allowing the FFP2 masks to be reused up to five times. In order to avoid damaging the filter or the material, they should not be reprocessed in the saucepan, microwave, dishwasher or washing machine.
For additional protection, you should still wash your hands before putting on the mask and place it as close as possible to the skin. It is important that it is firmly attached to the bridge of the nose, because only a well-fitting face mask can protect against infection.
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