Do not microwave face masks, US firefighters warn as citizens sanitize

It is not recommended to sanitize mail or packages in the microwave either.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

Microwaves are good for making popcorn and reheating a stale old pizza slice, but they are not to be used to sanitize face masks.

Ever since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged people earlier this month to wear face masks in public settings, many were left wondering how best to clean them of germs.

Suggestions such as soaking them in bleach or alcohol have made its way through social media, but there is one piece of advice that has put the country’s firefighters into a frenzy.

“We would like to remind everyone that ‘microwaving their masks to kill germs’ is a fire hazard and an extremely bad idea,” the New Hampshire State Fire Marshal’s Office posted on its Facebook page.

“Cloth masks can overheat quickly and catch fire. Disposable masks also have a metal nose wire and can cause sparks, a fire, and/or break your microwave,” the post added.

“Never put anything in a microwave oven that is not recommended on the packaging. That includes face masks,” the Las Vegas Fire department tweeted.

“DO NOT place any face mask in the microwave for any amount of time,” Colorado River Fire Rescue wrote in a Facebook post, adding, “There’s no evidence that microwaving a face mask will sanitize it properly.”

In addition to masks, it is recommended not to sanitize mail or packages in the microwave either.

“The U.S. Postal Service does not recommend heating or baking your mail,” a U.S. postal official told North Carolina’s News 13.

“The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low, and the risk of catching the virus from a package that’s been moved, traveled, and exposed to different conditions and temperatures is low,” the postal official said.