This article was researched by our Public Health Educator, Sameerah Wahab.
The short answer is no.
As much as we would love to tell you that you can bake, wash, or simply hang up your face mask for a few days and then use it again, that's simply not true. After performing extensive research on the length of time the coronavirus can survive on various surfaces, here's what our Public Health Educator found.
|Virus Location||Time Survived|
|Aerosols||Reduction in viability after 3 hours ( but still detected)|
|Plastics||Large reduction in virus after 72 hours, (but still detected)|
|Stainless Steel||Large reduction in virus after 48 hours, no viable after 72 hours|
|Copper||No viable virus after 4 hours|
|Cardboard||No viable virus after 24 hours|
|Printing and tissue paper||No virus detected after 3 hours|
|Wood||No virus after 24 hours|
|Cloth||No virus after 24 hours|
|Glass||No virus after 96 hours|
|Surgical Mask||Detectable virus after 7 days|
Surgical masks work well because they are moisture-resistant and disposable. However, according to the study referenced above and conducted by the University of Hong Kong, viable virus was found on surgical masks after 7 days. Therefore they must be single-use only.
The two studies we referenced to make this table used slightly different methodologies from one another, but the takeaway here is that we must do everything possible to ensure that, when the virus enters our homes, it does not survive. We can do this by adequately sanitizing and disinfecting materials and surfaces, by minimizing all non-essential activities to ensure minimized exposure, and by properly disposing of face masks after they have been used.