You Can Clean N95 Masks In An Instant Pot—Here’s How

Most of us are still out here using cloth masks to do our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19, though surgical masks have finally come back in stock in a lot of places. 

But the N95 mask — the preferred mask for coronavirus — is still fairly elusive. Because of this, it’s still recommended that citizens leave them for health care workers and others who might have a greater need for them.

However, some folks already had some N95 masks lying around at the start of the pandemic, or managed to get their hands on some over the last few months in some way or another. Those who have may be saving them for a time when they feel like they’re truly needed, since, again, they still just aren’t easy to get.

But it turns out there’s an easy way to decontaminate these in-demand products for multiple uses.

A video released by the Department of Homeland Security shows how you can get your N95 respirator ready for a second (or third or fourth) use in a short amount of time. And all you really need is an Instant Pot.

Here’s the list of materials recommended by DHS:

First, you pour the appropriate amount of water into your Instant Pot or similar multicooker with a sous vide function.

Next, install a rack that sits just above the water, so that whatever you place on it won’t get wet.

Put on your gloves, and deposit your N95 mask into a paper bag. DHS says you can put up to three masks at a time into the same bag.

Seal the bag with a staple or paperclip, then put it into your cooker and put the lid on.

Then, choose the sous vide (or similar) function on your cooker, set the temperature to 149 degrees Fahrenheit, and set the timer for 30 minutes.

Once the 30 minutes is up, you should open the bag up and let the mask dry for at least one hour. If you added more than one mask, separate them outside the bag to let them dry.

And finally, don’t forget to check your mask for damage!

You can watch the full official video below, or check out the instructions on the DHS website.