How to make your KN95 last longer

Thursday, February 3, 2022 How to make your KN95 last longer

Individual wearing a KN95 mask

An initiative started by the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska has led to the availability of four KN95 masks for every student, faculty and staff. With proper care, each KN95 mask can be worn for up to five days (40 total hours) and provides a higher level of protection against viral particles than cloth masks, paper masks or surgical masks.

To help get the most out of your KN95 masks, follow these tips for care.

KN95 mask


  • Wash or sanitize hands before handling your mask.
  • Avoid facial make up, lotions, hair, etc.
    This will help the mask seal properly on the face while also keep the mask clean. Those with facial hair may find that the mask doesn’t seal as well to the face, reducing the effectiveness.


  • Use a dry paper bag as storage.
    At the end of the day, place your used mask in a dry paper bag in a secure location. Use a different mask the next day to allow the first mask a “rest period.” This lets the mask dry out from natural wear. Experts recommend resting a mask for 24 to 48 hours.
  • Alternate which mask you wear.
    Continue to alternate masks until each has reached its end of useful life. If you’re living in a shared environment, be sure to label any paper bags with masks to prevent from confusing yours with a roommate’s.
  • Do NOT attempt to wash or disinfect your mask.
    Unlike cloth masks, KN95 masks cannot be effectively sanitized by washing. It’s also not safe to spray chemicals onto the mask that you’ll then breathe through for however long you’re wearing the mask.
person icon throwing away in trash container


  • If your mask has holes, tears fabric damage, overstretched ear loops or broken nosepieces, throw it away.
  • If it is visibly soiled or noticeably wet, throw it away.
  • If it no longer forms a tight seal to the face, throw it away.
  • If it’s been used for five days (40 total hours), throw it away.
    KN95 masks may be disposed of in the normal trash.
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