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    Sterilization Methods For N95 Mask Respirators

    The COVID-19 outbreak is proving to be an unprecedented burden on healthcare organizations’ services across the world. For a variety of instruments and surplus materials, many countries face or within the year foresee shortages. It is of specific and imminent concern to improve the availability of N95 masks that allow protection against airborne pathogens and airborne particle pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2. Healthcare professionals are at significant risk of transmitting COVID-19 during the performance of its duties without a sufficient supply of N95 masks. The presence of SARS-CoV-2 transfer by patients to health care workers (HCW) at excessively high rates will lead to employee dehumanization, quarantine depletion of HCWs and transform hospitals into zones for spreading infection.

    Typically, N95 masks are single-use materials. However, according to news reports, practical use and reuse of N95 shows has occurred or is underway in several organizations. Persistent shortages can increase the global reuse of N95 masks as the pandemic persists.

    Research says that there are many effective methods for the decontamination of an N95 respirator

    From initiation of a coronavirus disease pandemic an N95 respirators mask is in shortage. The process of Sterilization is the only option to reduce the lack of N95 mask.The N95 mask is the best precaution for the novel coronavirus. It provides filtration of 95% for .3 micron particles protection against aerosols presents to the environment.

    To reduce an N95 mask shortage, The Centre for Disease and Control Prevention recommends only health care professionals wear the N95 mask. Healthcare professionals are at high risk, they need the mask most. Surgical mask and a cloth mask can wear by ordinary people when they step out of the home.


    The autoclave is an instrument used for the Sterilization in industries or other medical fields. So, Autoclaving N95 mask will be the best solution it sterilizes 99% of contamination. and it is available in Laboratories, hospitals and others.

    An autoclave is a moist heat sterilization process for decontamination—other chemicals used for the decontamination process Hydrogen peroxide vapour.

    To maintain Filtration Efficiency, an N95 mask is treated with ethylene oxide or vaporized hydrogen peroxide.

    N95 Filtration:

    There are two different types of filtration techniques –

    1.    Electrostatic filter :

    The first filtration type used in the N95 mask is Melt Brown polymer fibre diffuse by electric charge. The layer of filtration is known as Electret.

    When particles passed through the filter which is Electrostatic-ally charged, then get trapped by magnetic fields. This kind of mask is also known as Cup mask, which is in high demand.

    2.    Pleated fibre filter :

    This type of filter is similar to the HEPA Filter (High-efficiency Air particulate) used in laminar airflow to filter the air. This kind of mask is closely compact; all the particles are closely linked. These kinds of mask is known as a Folded mask.

    Sterilization for Decontamination of a Virus :

    The sterilization methods identified are ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, vaporized hydrogen peroxide, steam treatment, and dry heat treatment.

    Steam sterilization :

    Research has shown Steam is a very effective method for the Sterilization of all medical mask, including N95 masks. In China, Steam is used for decontamination of a surgical mask and many other masks.

    We can also use the steam process in the home. Can decontaminate mask by putting the zipped mask in the pot above the hot water. Steam will decontaminate the mask.

    In the steam sterilization process, pack the used mask in a plastic bag then put it in the autoclave. An autoclave is moist heat sterilization. So, the mask will be decontaminated by the high temperature and pressure.

    The temperature at which autoclave works is 121′ C for 15 min. and 15 Lbps ( unit of pressure). After Sterilization or decontamination process of the used mask, the mask goes under test for the verification. Either mask is decontaminated or not. Is it ready for reuse or it will cause harm to health?

    Viral Inactivation :

    Studies, do some test for inactivation of virus SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes coronavirus. They inoculated the mask for Autoclaving then they compared both the mask unprocessed and processed to observe the growth of the virus—autoclave mask results in inactivation of viral infection.

    Conclusion :

    Various experiments are performed for the decontamination of the mask. Some results good and some does not work. For every specific mask, there is different method works. Steam Sterilization is a standard process which effectively shows its result in the decontamination process.

    High-temperature autoclaving process is neither selected nor rejected for Reusing purpose. In cup mask, there are some positive results and some negative results for decontamination. Moist heat is one of the most effective ways for decontamination used in every industry most frequently. Or you can say it is the only method used in the industries for decontamination.


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