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Can UV light be used to disinfect masks?

Ultraviolet (UV) light can be used to disinfect surfaces, furniture, electronics and more, so does that mean it can also disinfect face masks? Since UV light can damage the cells of pathogens by disrupting their DNA or RNA that contain their genetic code, it is a good option for so many high-touch surfaces.

In the current state of the world, N95 masks are considered critical supplies by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) but they are in limited supply for the health care workers and medical first responders who need them. Which has raised the question of if there is a way to disinfect these masks that have been made to be used only once and then discarded. UV light is at the top of the considerations for these necessary personal protective equipment pieces.

Recent studies have shown successful results for using UV light to disinfect N95 masks against contamination with viruses. However, few studies have looked into this and the challenge is in the small folds of the mask. Since UV light can only disinfect what it shines on, any area in the tiny folds that may be in a shadow could prevent those spots from being decontaminated completely. So far, the studies have shown that this has not been an issue, but more studies will have to prove this.

For masks that are for personal use outside of the medical field, UV light would work very well to disinfect these. However, it is probably not necessary and washing the mask in hot water will also do a good enough job for this purpose. We recommend UV light for high-touch surfaces especially in business, medical and school settings but not necessarily for personal use.

Remember that UV light should never be directed at the skin or eyes, our wand has an automatic shut-off when turned towards the eyes for additional protection. We also recommend pairing the wand with our shield for additional protection to the user and to better direct the light. For more information visit our Clear-Raze™ page.


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