Can you disinfect KN95 and N95 masks using brown paper bags?

Experts say it’s not recommended for healthcare workers, but it can help extend the life of a mask.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — If you’ve upgraded your mask, is there a way to sanitize it so you can wear it again?

You may have seen the paper bag trick on your social media feeds. It’s said to be a way to sanitize and reuse your masks.

Our VERIFY team takes the claim to the experts to see if there is any truth to this tip.

Is it true that you can disinfect 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

“The worry of wearing a mask in public, obviously if you put particles in it, maybe even the virus, but if you store it in a dry bag, you basically disinfect again over a period of time,” said said Dr. Joe. Gastaldo.

Dr Gastaldo said it could work for KN95 and N95 masks, assuming they are FDA cleared.

RELATED: Upgrade your mask to a KN95 or N95? Here’s how to make sure you’re spending your money on a genuine respirator

“It’s not the bag that does the magic, it’s actually the process of keeping the mask away from decontaminating someone else or a surface, and also maintaining an environment dry so the virus doesn’t spread or stay on the mask,” Dr Shepherd explained.

Our experts recommend storing your mask in a paper bag for 24-48 hours in a dry place.

It’s not recommended for healthcare workers, but for everyone else, it can extend the life of something we use every day.

Are you considering replacing your mask with a fabric mask? Our experts say now is the time to do it.

“You really want to think about having the best quality mask possible,” Dr. Gastaldo said. “When it comes to mask performance, those that work best in public filter out 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 to the public are KN95 masks.”

“The thing is really to make sure you can have access to a mask period,” Dr Shepherd said. “But if you have the choice between a cloth and an N95, the best option will be the N95.”

Do you have a complaint that you would like to have verified? Email us at [email protected].

Ethel J. Montes