Are we so immersed in our throw-away culture that we have forgotten how to reuse scarce items? As the COVID-19 pandemic exhausts supplies of basic protective gear some workers are going without masks and protective gear because all that’s available is disposable. But that may not be necessary.
An ordinary clothes dryer set on high should be hot enough to destroy viruses on contaminated clothing. An infra-red thermometer would allow you to check the temperature inside the dryer. Before relying on this, get an expert opinion. That said, wouldn’t it be better to use the dryer than to simply re-use potentially contaminated gear or go without?
An ordinary pressure cooker develops 10 to 15psi steam at 240 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Objects suspended in a wire basket or colander would be steamed at this temperature.
Stanford has tested various methods for sanitizing disposable masks for reuse. They don’t recommend any method, possibly for liability reasons. They have determined that steam sterilization destroys the effectiveness of N-95 masks.
Emergency shortages may force you to weigh the risks of reusing or attempting to renew disposable masks. Awareness of the Stanford research may inform your thinking. Here is the link: https://stanfordmedicine.app.box.com/v/covid19-PPE-1-2
A sterilizer company offers some additional insights on improvised sterilization.
My point in this article is to encourage thinking outside the box. Emergencies often require innovative solutions.