TOLEDO, Ohio — There's a claim online that you can toss your re-usable masks into some kitchen appliances to sanitize them.
One viewer asked if it's effective to sterilize them in a pressure cooker or even a Crock-Pot.
A July study published on the American Chemical Society's website looked at whether electric cookers could decontaminate N-95 masks. It turns out, the study found, yes, they can, saying instant pots and pressure cookers "could be an effective and accessible decontamination method for the safe reuse of N95 respirators" as long as they're sanitized for at least 50 minutes at 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
ProMedica Dr. Brian Kaminski said he supports those findings.
"Pressure cookers really use two mechanisms: there's the pressure that builds up from the production of steam, and then there's the heat that gets produced when you boil water," Kaminski explained. "When we sterilize instruments in the hospital, we use an instrument called an autoclave. That heats things at very high temperatures to kill bacteria, to kill viruses so we can re-use those instruments. An insta-pot or pressure cooker works using the same mechanism."
Now, of course, that isn't the easiest method to clean your mask. All you need to do is throw it in the laundry.
"The same procedures with laundry detergent, washing on a warm-to-hot cycle and drying on high heat is effective in eliminating the virus," Kaminski said.
So we can VERIFY: sterilizing your mask in an instant-pot or pressure cooker will kill off the coronavirus, but Crock-Pots or microwaves won't work.