How do you get your mouth mask virus-free easily and quickly?

We wear them more and more often, sometimes out of obligation, sometimes out of caution: the mouth cap. But how do you make the infamous cap easy and virus-free after use? All kinds of different options circulate on the internet, but not all options seem to work equally well.

Many Dutch people use a reusable mouth mask. It is often cheaper and more durable than a disposable mask. Although everyone now knows that the mouth mask must be disinfected after each use, not everyone does that. You often see caps go straight from the face into the jacket pocket, and then be removed from it the next time you use it.

The disinfection methods below are therefore of little use if the mouth mask is not used properly. “After use, keep a mouth mask as sterile as possible, for example in a sealed bag or container”, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) writes. This way, the mouth mask can be safely transported after use, until there is time to disinfect the mouth mask.

Also read: National quality mark for consumer masks on the way

Wash at sixty degrees

Washing at sixty degrees is the advice of the RIVM. Your laundry will be hygienically clean from sixty degrees, which means that bacteria, viruses and fungi are killed. Dishcloths and underwear are also often washed at 60 degrees for this reason. A mouth mask can therefore simply be washed with this wash.

If you don’t have an endless supply of mouth masks, or if you don’t want to run a wash every day and especially don’t want to spend too much time on it? Then, according to Marcel Zwietering, professor of food microbiology at Wageningen University, there is a much faster method.

Also read: Face masks are the new litter: ‘Not only polluting, also dangerous’

Hot water

For example, according to Zwietering, you can simply keep the mouth cap in a bowl under a good hot tap. “The water is hot enough when you just can’t keep your hands under it,” he explains. “Then the water is above 60 degrees and it inactivates the viruses. In even hotter water of about eighty degrees, the virus is ‘dead’ within seconds, but then you can really burn your fingers really quickly. ”

“Then put the mask on the heating to dry and then it is ready for use again.” With this method you do not have to turn on an entire washing machine for one face mask, and it only takes a few minutes or seconds.

Also read: Will we be skipping the flu epidemic this year due to corona? ‘Measures also work against other viruses’

Other methods

Other methods that circulate on the internet are: the microwave, freezer or sunlight. Zwietering explains that unfortunately all three do not work well against viruses. “You need heat and moisture for the microwave. Disinfecting a dishcloth in the microwave works because the cloth is often damp. A mouth mask is not. Water heats up in the microwave and in humid conditions the inactivation of bacteria and viruses is also faster. ”

The freezer is also not recommended. “A virus is not alive, it has to wait for a host. It is then not biologically active and at rest. Freezing therefore hardly works. ” In addition, there is often written about UV, which is in sunlight. “The UV from sunlight can help a bit, but I wouldn’t recommend it as the only method. The best thing to do is simply soak it in water from a good hot tap and then let it dry on the heating ”, Zwietering concludes.

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