Rice cookers and crockpots aren't just handy kitchen tools. A study found they may also be an effective way to sanitize N95 respirators – coronavirus-fighting tools for healthcare workers that have been in short supply.

Researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign found that 50 minutes of dry heat in an electric cooker can kill four types of viruses on N95 respirators, including a coronavirus.

According to a video the researchers published on how to properly disinfect with an electric cooker, you should let the device heat for five minutes until it is at 347 °F (175 °C) before putting a towel in the pot to line the interior, as the heat could melt your mask otherwise.

Stick your N95 respirator inside the pot and let it heat for 50 minutes.

After 50 minutes, researchers have found the respirators are sanitised, safe to use, and undamaged by the heat.

Researchers also found the N95 respirators can be treated using the cooker up to 20 times and still maintain their filtration abilities.

N95 masks filter virus particles and are crucial for healthcare workers

N95 respirators are crucial pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers on the frontlines of the pandemic, as they protect against the virus better than other types of masks.

Unlike cloth masks which primarily prevent you from spreading the virus to others or surgical masks which protect you from large droplets and splashes, N95 respirators seal tightly around the nose and filter small particles.

The shortage of PPE across the US has forced some healthcare workers to reuse N95 respirators and find creative ways to make them last.

This new dry heat method could provide a safe way for frontline workers to sanitize their masks without compromising their effectiveness.

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

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