Masks are an essential part of limiting COVID-19 infections because the virus is spread mostly through respiratory droplets you breathe in from the air. Heating your disposable or long-lasting mask at 160 degrees Fahrenheit in your own oven for five minutes will kill the viruses that causes COVID-19 with no physical or chemical degradation of the masks (J of Hazardous Materials. November 7, 2021).
Many other studies show that dry heat decontamination can effectively inactivate viruses without damaging protective equipment so they can be safely reused. This study shows that the same 5 minutes at 160 F degrees in an oven also kills many other viruses that live on furniture surfaces.
Although ultraviolet light effectively kills viruses on flat or smooth surfaces, it was not effective in killing viruses in masks because it does not reach into folds and crevices. Chemical disinfectants can leave harmful residues and may also degrade mask material.
Dr. Gabe Mirkin is a Villager. Learn more at www.drmirkin.com.