sterilization methods

Additional explanation for all methods can be found

 N95 Masks 


Methods to sterilize N95 masks that have proven to be somewhat effective while still maintaining the integrity of the mask include:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide Sterilization

  • UV Light Radiation

  • Heating the mask for 30 min at 70 C/158 F

Check out the studies that research the effectiveness of these methods:


Methods that should not be used to decontaminate an N95 mask because it may be harmful to you or the mask filtration properties include (source):

  • Alcohol/Chlorine bleach disinfectants

  • Microwaving the mask

  • Autoclaving

  • Washing with soap and water

These methods are not considered effective because they do not inactivate the viral particles, keep the integrity of the mask's filtration, or keep the fit of the mask.


  • Nitrile gloves - 2 pairs

  • 1 mask with eye shield

  • 1 liquid-resistant gown

  • 1 canister of hospital-approved bleach disinfectant wipes

  • 1 bottle of mild dishwashing liquid such as Dawn, etc.

  • 1 container of chlorine bleach

  • 1 soft bristle brush

  • 2 plastic medication cups or other graduated container to measure ml and/or ounces

  • Clock or timer

  • 2 two-gallon buckets

  • 1 pair of metal tongs

  • 2 Chux pads 24″x16″

  • 1 clean plastic container, large enough to hold mask and components after cleaning

  • Hospital air and hose (if available) or clean, soft cloth

  1. Place unopened bag containing the contaminated respirator mask. near sink by instructions.

  2. On the other side of the sink, place opened Chux pad and lay tongs on top. Place the second opened Chux by the clean bin.

  3. Place the 2 buckets in the sink and run 1 gallon (4 quarts) of comfortably warm (not hot) water into the first bucket and 2 gallons (8 quarts) of warm water into the second bucket.

  4. Perform hand hygiene and then don protective equipment–gloves, gown, and mask with eye shield.

  5. Pour 15 ccs (1/2 oz) of DISHWASHING LIQUID in the first bucket containing 1 gallon of water.

  6. Pour BLEACH in the second bucket containing 2 gallons of water. Mix bleach solution with tongs, and lay the back on the Chux.

  7. Open biohazard bag, remove the respirator and place it on the top of the bag.

  8. Pop off the splash guards (if equipped) on each side of the mask and immerse them in the soapy water.

  9. Remove the filters by unscrewing or turning them to the left.

  10. Wipe the filters with disinfectant wipes and place them in a clean bin.

  11. Without removing the straps, immerse the mask in the soapy water.

  12. Clean mask and splash guards (if equipped) with the brush and soapy water gently on the inside of the mask to avoid damaging the valves. Then rinse them well in running water.

  13. Place rinsed splash guards and mask (face up) into bleach disinfecting solution.

  14. Submerge mask completely into the solution; then while the mask is submerged, use the tongs to turn the mask over until it is facedown. This will avoid air pockets.

  15. Place the end of the tongs gently inside the maks to keep it submerged. Then lean the tong handles against the side of the bucket. Leave the tong handles submerged in the disinfectant solution.

  16. Set timer for 2 minutes.

  17. Discard biohazard bag. Wipe faucet handles with bleach wipe.

  18. Discard gloves and perform hand hygiene. Don a new set of gloves.

  19. After the 2 minute immersion (TIMED), remove mask and splashguards from the disinfecting solution with the tongs and set them on the Chux by the side of the sink, along with the tongs.

  20. Rinse mask and splashguard (if equipped) completely in running water and place them on the second Chux by the clean bin.

  21. Dry mask and splashguards with hospital air hose if available; if not available, dry with. clean cloth or allow to air dry.

  22. When dry, reassemble mask, filters, and splashguards. Check the integrity of the respirator and store in a plastic bag.

  23. Empty and rinse buckets, clean sink area with bleach wipes. Then remove PPE and perform hand hygiene.

 Surgical Masks 


Dispose of these masks after use. These masks were designed to be single-use and disposable.


Do not attempt to decontaminate a surgical mask. There is no published literature regarding the decontamination processes of used surgical masks.


The information presented on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice, nor as a substitute for the medical advice of a physician. 

Produced by ACEA Medical