Can surgical masks be machine washed?

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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Can surgical masks be machine washed? Some researchers say yes, but ANSM disapproves of the results.

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According to the regulations, surgical masks should be eliminated after 4 hours of use, but several scientists have carried out tests that show how their filtering effectiveness would remain intact even after washing in the washing machine.





Philippe Cinquin, lecturer at the University of Grenoble, and researchers from the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) tried to wash them up to 10 times at 60 ° C, using detergent, and noted that the filtering capacity remained high.

On the other hand Philippe Vroman, professor-researcher at the National School of Arts and Textile Industries (ENSAIT) in Roubaix (Nord), told France Bleu that after 5 washes the analyzed surgical masks had lost their electrostatic charge, but kept a higher filtering capacity than the guaranteed fabric masks.

The researchers, however, have not shown whether any viral load was annihilated by washing taking it for granted, given that the coronavirus is known to succumb at 60 ° C.

Research and tests that deserve to be deepened both for a lower waste of money by the citizens, but above all for costs in environmental terms, as disposable masks have become one of the most present waste in the sea (and on the sidewalks of our cities).

Unfortunately, however, in France these studies were blocked in the bud by theANSM, National Drug Safety Agency, which opposed the findings e reuse of surgical masks, recalling in a circular the ban on resterilizing "non-reusable medical-surgical equipment given the risks inherent in this practice". This is why Philippe Cinquin will not be able to continue his tests to safely demonstrate the effectiveness of reusing disposable masks after several washing cycles.

Whether the researchers are right or not, in the meantime it is better to stick to official regulations and perhaps try to prefer reusable and machine washable cloth masks.

SOURCE: OuestFrance

To learn more:


Masks that do not protect against coronavirus. Here is the list drawn up by the Spanish Ministry of Health



Spanish pharmacies collect used masks to recycle and reuse them

Mascherine, a professor's experiment that shows what they are really for

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