Coronavirus face mask N95 – Are they reusable? What does the letter N stands for in N95?
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Coronavirus face mask N95 – Are they reusable? What does the letter N stands for in N95?.

When Coronavirus is at its peak, the most discussed topic is about wearing masks during the pandemic.

Of course, there are different types of masks available and each of them differs in their efficiency to prevent the virus. N95 masks are commonly discussed facemasks and are managed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Let us understand more about N95 masks:


What does the letter N stand for in N95?

The letter N in N95 is – “Respirator Rating Letter Class” which means “Non-oil” or the masks can be used in work settings if there are no oil-based particulates present around. 

The other ratings used for these masks are

R – It means the masks offer resistance for oil particulates for nearly 8 hours 

P – It means the masks are oil resistant 


N95 Masks – Are they reusable?

As compared to a normal surgical mask, N95 mask is quite thicker. These masks fit properly around your cheeks and nose and help block viral particles. N95 mask is made to be disposed of and also offer 95% protection against small particles that can enter your lungs.

According to OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration) says that an N95 respirator is reusable as long as it’s

• Its shape remains intact

• Functional integrity remains intact 

• Material doesn’t get soiled/damaged



Also, according to WHO (The World Health Organization), the best practice is to maintain the habit of washing hands frequently with soap or sanitizer along with using masks.

When it comes to ‘N95’ it is another name for trust and careful testing. The N95 masks have to undergo a strict evaluation process than surgical masks and hence have greater filtration efficiency.

If you wish to know whether the N95 masks/respirators can be reused, then the answer is they are not recommended to be used more than one time. If these masks get soiled or damaged, you should avoid using it further as you are at risk of getting viruses and bacteria attack.

Ideally, they need to be removed and disposed of followed by washing hands after discarding the mask. 

The masks can be worn for nearly 8 hours provided they fit in properly. When you are not able to breathe easily, you should change the mask immediately.

Well, organic FFP3 mask can form a better alternative to N95 mask. Yes, these organic masks are environment-friendly masks that come with 99% + filtration capacity as compared to 95% filtration capacity of N95 masks.

Organic FFP3 masks are reusable masks and can be used for approx 3 to 7 days. With higher filtration capacity they offer protection against airborne particles, aerosols, pathogens, allergies as well.