With the world still in a severe face mask shortage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some people have been resorting to making their own masks at home or using alternative methods to try to keep safe in public. Unfortunately these methods, while better than nothing, still aren’t ideal for the situation.

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Recently, however, Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a method to clean a disposable face mask so it can be reused multiple times — and all that’s needed is a rice cooker!

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Taiwan FDA Director-General Wu Shou-mei and the head of Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), Chen Shih-chung, gave the demonstration of what to do. You can watch the video here:

Basically, all you have to do is put the face mask in the rice cooker with no water, and set it to steam for 3 minutes, and then let it set for 5 minutes before taking it out. This will sterilize the mask and allow for re-use. However, you don’t want to use a mask that has been soiled or torn, and you still only want to do this 4-5 per disposable face mask before discarding it. This also works with cloth masks, which can go through the process more times.

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This method is better than using a disinfectant on the masks, because such liquids can ruin their electrostatic layer. According to research, this method will keep the mask’s bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) at 99% after dry-heating up to 5 times.

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So if you have a rice cooker at home, it might soon be finding another purpose besides just cooking meals!