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How often can you safely reuse your KN95 or N95 mask?

Washington Post: “…Health experts say while there are no hard and fast rules, there are best practices for safely getting multiple uses out of N95s or KN95s…Some experts suggest having a few masks on hand so you can rotate between them. That way, after wearing one mask, you can set it aside for a few days before picking it up again, said Richard M. Carpiano, a public health scientist and sociologist at the University of California in Riverside. That would allow “enough time for any sort of virus particulates or virus remnants to die off,” he said. The reason to have a rest period between uses is to let the mask dry out and to give time for any viral particles the mask may have filtered to deactivate, Knight added. He recommended resting your mask for 24 to 48 hours. But don’t keep the masks in rotation indefinitely. After a few wearings, “you want to move on to a fresh one,” Carpiano said. Knight has stressed that people should wash and sanitize their hands after taking off a mask and recommended removing the mask from the ear loops or elastic bands to avoid touching the outside of the mask that may be contaminated. Where should I store masks between uses? The key is to keep the masks somewhere where they can air out, said Christopher Sulmonte, project administrator for the Johns Hopkins biocontainment unit. “There’s going to be a little amount of moisture on the mask itself — that’s just naturally what happens when you wear it,” he said. “Having a space that you’re able to dry it out is important.” Sulmonte recommended placing the masks in a paper bag, because it’s a clean place to keep the mask and it’s “contained enough that you can still have the process of letting it dry out.” Knight recommended a mesh bag as another option, placing it “somewhere that air is flowing.” Storing your mask in a clean place where it can dry out will prevent it from being exposed to contaminants between uses and will prolong its effectiveness, experts say…”

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