Investigators found that rice cookers can decontaminate cloth masks, according to an article on the Infection Control Today website. They urge further studies to see if the appliance could also decontaminate surgical and N95 masks.
“Given the recommendation that cloth face masks be worn in public settings, steam treatment using these readily available kitchen items could provide safe and effective decontamination of cloth masks,” the investigators said In an article in the American Journal of Infection Control.
The investigators explored whether moist or dry heat is better at decontaminating masks. They studied surgical face masks, 3M 1860 N95 respirators, and masks made of fabric. The inoculated masks or respirators were put in a steamer for about 13 to 15 minutes. For comparison, inoculated masks or respirators were subjected to dry heat at 100°C for 15 minutes in an oven.
The study found rice cookers can decontaminate face masks; dry heat at the same temperature didn’t do as well, although further studies are needed to evaluate how well a rice cooker can decontaminate surgical face masks and N95 respirators.