What’s a reliable way to disinfect N95 masks from viruses without harming effectiveness?
Leaving masks out to dry should disinfect them from the coronavirus, SARS, and influenza A in under 48 hours. 72 hours would be even more conservative.
Simply leaving a mask out to dry should kill the virus. This eliminates the need to degrade the mask with water or alcohol.
Washing Masks Reduces Effectiveness
Alcohol Disinfection Reduces Effectiveness
There’s little data on how long the COVID-19 coronavirus remains viable. The CDC says that the coronavirus may remain viable for hours to even days. A recent study (that has not been formally published yet) tested that it took 48 hours for the coronavirus to be completely non-viable on cardboard. On stainless steel, a tiny amount of viable coronavirus remained at 72 hours.
Based on these two studies, leaving a mask to dry for 48 hours should be enough to kill coronavirus, SARS, and influenza A viruses. Leaving masks for 72 hours would be even more conservative.