Why you should not wash FFP2 masks

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It’s getting colder again, and we’re spending more time indoors. That’s why, even in the third pandemic fall, people are increasingly reaching for masks to protect themselves from infection with Sars-CoV-2, influenza, and other pathogens. “FFP2 masks have been proven to be very effective and are therefore important means of protection against infection with coronaviruses and other pathogens that enter our respiratory tract via droplets, such as influenza viruses,” says environmental physician and specialist in hygiene and microbiology, Hans-Peter Hutter.

According to a survey of 500 Austrians, 58 percent change their half-mask regularly. On average, the mask is replaced after four days due to soiling or foul odor. In principle, most of the shows on sale in Austria are disposable. After a working day lasting eight hours, a mask should be disposed of.

Many people continue to use their masks. Because they want to save money or avoid waste. However, there are a few points to keep in mind when reprocessing so as not to reduce the mask’s functionality.

Washing destroys the fibers
Washing an FFP2 mask, whether by hand or in a washing machine, is not recommended. A test conducted by the Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals (ICPF) of the Czech Academy of Sciences shows that washing filtered half masks significantly lowers their functionality. Washing – even by hand – partially destroys the material or fibers.

Hutter said that the waste issue is not negligible in relation to the Corona pandemic. “Therefore, a sensible reprocessing of FFP masks would contribute to environmental protection. However, care must be taken to ensure that the protective function is safely maintained and that energy consumption does not sabotage environmental thinking.”

Reuse of FFP2 masks
If FFP2 masks are worn briefly and not soaked, they can be reprocessed for everyday use. Münster University of Applied Sciences has studied this and posted a folder with tips online.

Either the mask can dry at room temperature for around seven days, or it can be made reusable more quickly by leaving it in the oven at about 80 to 90 degrees for a good hour. However, the mask’s permeability may suffer, making breathing more laborious. If the show is heavily soaked, on the other hand, it should not be reprocessed and should be replaced with a new one.

  • source: kleinezeitung.at/picture: pixabay.com
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